NPR logo President Obama To Meet With Israeli Prime Minister At The White House Today


President Obama To Meet With Israeli Prime Minister At The White House Today

Later this morning, President Obama will meet with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the White House. After a one-on-one conversation in the Oval Office, they'll speak to reporters, then have a working lunch together.

Laura Rozen, writing for Politico, says the Obama administration is "upbeat" about the visit, which "is an abrupt change from the chill that followed Netanyahu's meeting with Obama in March, shortly after Israel had announced new East Jerusalem housing construction plans during the visit to Israel of Vice President Joe Biden."

It reflects a White House strategy since May to step up outreach to Jewish Americans and the pro-Israel community to alleviate anxiety among some Democrats ahead that Obama might be seen as too tough on Netanyahu.

The Washington Post's Anne E. Kornblut reports that the two leaders have "a deceptively simple mission" today: "getting their picture taken together."

Obama was cool toward Netanyahu during their last meeting, leaving the Israeli leader and his aides in the West Wing alone for hours as a subtle rebuke over Israeli settlement policies. The two were never photographed, which in diplomatic code sent a chilly message.

In The Jerusalem Post, perhaps the headline of David Horovitz's preview of the prime minister's trip says it all: "Anything would be better than last time."

"The question is whether, behind the anticipated choreographed smiles and professions of partnership will be made in resolving substantive differences," he writes.