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May 20, 2011

White House Flickr: The Finger

This rather small-minded photo, the only one posted on the WH Flickr site today, is either a weak attempt at intimidation, or is somehow supposed to make someone believe that Obama, in wagging that finger, is dictating terms for negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. What it more likely telegraphs — given how the two leaders so publicly and blatantly disagreed today on Israel’s ‘67 borders as a fundamental framework item — is that: 1) the White House has very little real leverage to apply to the Prime Minister, and 2) they are ticked off about it.

But then, given there is no love lost between these Benjamin and Barack, it’s not like we haven’t seen this before. …And then, talking about petty visual putdowns by the WH where Netanyahu is concerned, I also like this shot, taken a year ago March, where Obama pawned Bibi off on Biden for dinner and the WH photo shows Biden looking down the table rather than meeting Bibi’s attention.

(h/t: Ken J)

(photo: Pete Souza/White House caption: President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as they walk from the Oval Office to the South Lawn Drive of the White House, following their meetings, May 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza). linked photo: David Lienemann/White House caption: Vice President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and their delegations sit down for dinner at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, March 22, 2010.)

  • Ralfast

    Cut off “aid” to Israel. End of story.

  • matt

    this is a clear left-right photo:

    obama is squarely in the middle of the path.

    netanyahu is to the right, touching the fringe.

    we may view the path as a historical trend of the past few years, being centered after two terms of gwb’s knee-jerk support of israel’s hard line rightists.

    obama’s relaxed but forceful pose suggests the us is reasserting itself with respect to netanyahu’s child-like tantrums.

    the presence of the marine guards reminds us that the american military may have a role to play in helping to support any emerging peace between the israelis and the palestinians, indeed the arab world, or

    however, they, too, add to the left-right story of the image, reflecting the shift from the bush administration to the obama presidency. the marine on the left stands dead straight with neat, uncreased pants. the marine on the right is subtly less pristine, with creased pants and feet not aligned. note also the “bling” in the prominence of medals and insignia on the right and the unadorned uniform on the left. (of course, the marine on the right appears to be similarly decorated; i wish to point out the elements of the image as it has been framed.)

  • Anonymous

    Obama is the leader of a big country; Netanyahu is the leader of a small country.  If there’s any tug-of-war between them, Obama’s going to win.  The most Netanyahu can accomplish is to make the case that Israel’s interest coincides with America’s interest, but it’s becoming an increasingly hard sell.  Israel was an expensive ally even before the attack on Gaza.

    Netanyahu can’t afford to embarrass Obama even if it plays well on Israeli television.  America has larger interests in the Middle East than to placate one country.  The situation is rapidly evolving, and not to Israel’s advantage.  Obama’s job is to promote American goals, whether Netanyahu does indignant backflips or not.


    • Ralfast

      Actually he can, because it plays well to the Right-Wing in the U.S. and in Faux TV,

  • jqfrederick

    Unless the Marine on the right has broken his little finger, he needs to be drummed out of the Corps for saluting in such an absymal manner.  My DI would have bitten his finger off…

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