Minister of Defense Barak to Rahm Emanuel: Netanyahu Has No Intention in Meddling in U.S Politics

Barak tells Chicago mayor that Netanyahu is unapologetic over stance on Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won't meet with the President Barak Obama next week on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, but in order to ease the recent tensions between the heads of state, Netanyahu sent a message of appeasement to the Obama campaign in the form of Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. The message: The Israeli leader is not meddling in the elections taking place in the United States.

Minister Barak and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel is currently mayor of Chicago, but is still actively involved in the campaign to reelect President Obama. At their meeting, Barak told Emanuel that Netanyahu is unapologetic for his stance on Iran, but that he has absolutely no intention to support one presidential candidate or another or get involved in any other way in the elections.

Jen Psaki, Obama's traveling press secretary, commented Thursday on Netanyahu's interviews to the American press. She rejected the claim that Netanyahu was denied face time with the president because of these interviews and stressed that Netanyahu himself admitted that the meeting with President Obama won't take place next week because of scheduling reasons.

Psaki added that Obama "enjoys strong support from the Jewish community in this country because they know he has been a steadfast friend of the Jewish state, and he has provided unprecedented security cooperation and assistance to Israel, and he has stood squarely with Israel on the world stage. And that was a lot of what you heard Prime Minister Netanyahu say on Sunday as well."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that "Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Sunday, he made clear that he believes that the President is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And this is obviously a top issue both for the Israelis and for the United States. And he and Defense Minister Barak have made clear in the past that the level of cooperation and support for Israel's security that this administration has provided is unprecedented in the U.S.-Israel relationship. And that's because of the President's commitment to Israel's security, and it will continue. I would also note that the President spent an hour on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu last week and that it is a simple fact that he has spent more time in person and on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu than any other foreign leader since he took office."

Barak isn't scheduled to travel to Washington. He will stay in New York for the beginning of the UN General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative annual conference.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Olivier Fitoussi.