White House Spokesman Won’t Utter Netanyahu’s Name
How angry is the White House that Benjamin Netanyahu won the parliamentary elections? David Simas, White House Director of Political Strategy and Outreach, was a guest on CNN the morning after the elections and couldn’t even bring himself to say the name “Netanyahu.”
CNN New Day co-anchor Alisyn Camerota asked the questions, and even mentioned the Prime Minister’s name in each query, but to White House spokesman Simas, the Israeli Premier was like Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter books:”He who must not be named.”
CAMEROTA: Let’s talk about the news out of Israel. It appears that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pulled off a win, and a surprisingly big win, much bigger than the polls there had been suggesting. Given all the tension between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama in the recent weeks and months, is it fair to say that there is not a massive celebration happening at the White House this morning with this news?
SIMAS: Alisyn, we want to congratulate the Israeli people for the democratic process for the election that they just engaged in with all the parties that engaged in that election. As you know now, the hard work of coalition building begins. Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks. And we’re going to give space to the formation of that coalition government and we’re not going to weigh in one way or another except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward.
CAMEROTA: But how do you think this complicates, say, the Iran negotiations that are underway right now as well as any sort of Mideast peace process, since on the eve of his win Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he does not believe in any sort of statehood for Palestinians?
SIMAS: Alisyn, I’m going to defer to my colleagues on some of the issues that were raised during the campaign and some of the comments that were levied during the campaign that can raise some controversy. What I do know is that those negotiations are ongoing. They’re at a sensitive stage. We’re serious about moving forward and fulfilling them, but I’m going to defer in terms of comments and issues that specifically came out of the Israeli election, I’ll defer to my colleagues who followed it more closely than me.