Former US President Barack Obama details his sometimes turbulent relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his new memoir, “A Promised Land”, which is set to be released on Tuesday.
In excerpts from the book quoted by Jewish Insider on Friday, Obama describes Netanyahu as “smart, canny, tough and a gifted communicator” who could be “charming, or at least solicitous” when it benefited him.
Obama writes in the book that when it came to policy disagreements, Netanyahu was able to use his familiarity with US politics and media to push back against efforts by his administration.
According to the report, Obama writes in the book that Netanyahu’s “vision of himself as the chief defender of the Jewish people against calamity allowed him to justify almost anything that would keep him in power.”
The former President writes that his chief of staff at the time, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, warned him when he took office, “You don’t get progress on peace when the American president and the Israeli prime minister come from different political backgrounds.” Obama said he began to understand that perspective as he spent time with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
According to Jewish Insider, the book provides an inside look into the political jockeying between the Israeli government and the administration over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama maintains that he thought it was “reasonable” to ask for Israel, which he viewed as the “stronger party,” to take a “bigger first step” and freeze construction in Judea and Samaria but “as expected,” Netanyahu’s response was “sharply negative.” That was followed by an aggressive pressure campaign by the prime minister’s allies in Washington, he says.