Dennis Ross: Obama distanced himself from Israel

Obama’s former Middle East advisor criticizes Obama administration's attitude towards Israel.

Elad Benari ,

Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross
Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash 90

Dennis Ross, President Barack Obama’s former Middle East advisor, on Sunday criticized Obama and his decision to distance himself from Israel during his time in office.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York, Ross said that Obama “is one of five presidents in modern history who have made a conscious decision to try to distance himself and his administration from Israel.”

“If you distance yourself from Israel, you’ll gain with the Arabs,” Ross described the premise of the Obama administration’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that Obama’s White House worked under the assumption that “Israel is more of a problem than it is a partner.”

But he also warned that “every administration that has tried to distance itself from Israel has gained nothing.”

Ross further said that the Obama administration worked toward a two-state solution to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, believing it would bring peace to the wider Middle East, but added that assumption is flawed.

“If tomorrow you could solve this issue, it wouldn’t stop one barrel bomb in Syria,” he said. “It wouldn’t change Iran’s ambition in the region. It wouldn’t change the challenges Egypt is facing.”

The comments mark the second time in as many weeks that Ross has criticized Obama’s Middle East policy.

Ross, who served as Obama's Middle East adviser from 2009 to 2011, published an op-ed on the Politico website earlier this week, in which he said that Israel and Arab countries are turning to Russia because of the United States’ weakness.