Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Obama to Israel: Shoe You!(?)

Israeli TV newscasters Tuesday night interpreted a photo taken Monday in the Oval Office of President Obama talking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an "insult" to Israel.

They saw the incident as somewhat akin to an incident last year, when the Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at President Bush in Baghdad.

It is considered an insult in the Arab world to show the sole of your shoe to someone. It is not a Jewish custom necessarily, but Israel feels enough a part of the Middle East after 60 years to be insulted too.

Was there a subliminal message intended from the White House to Netanyahu in Jerusalem, who is publicly resisting attempts by Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to force Israel to stop any kind of settlement activity in occupied territories once and forever?

Whether or not it is true, it shows the mood in Israel. They feel cornered. The reactions out of Israel reflect that feeling...

Humm, now where have we seen subliminal messages from Obama?


Leslie said...

And what kind of "I don't care" message is it sending for a leader to sit in the oval office with his feet on the desk while doing official government business? Unprofessional, and yes, a message to Israel...

Anonymous said...

Are you serious, he looks like he is engaged in the conversation. So what if he has his feet on the desk! Are people really that petty?! Are there not bigger issues to tackle. For Israel to be offended by something they couldn't see and by the soles of his shoes facing away from the phone shows an ignorance and arrogance that makes me see why the the situation in that region keeps going on and on!

Really now...soles of his shoes an insult...what next?!

Clifton B said...


Hey long time no see, hope all is well. I agree, the causalness of all the presidents as of late, just is a tad much. Back in the day, the president's image was carefully handled to ensure maximum effect of the office.

Today we have scenes of presidents eating at McDonalds after a run (Clinton), riding segways (Bush II) and kickin' aback in the oval office.

Clifton B said...


Umm, it isn't just Israel who treats the soles of feet as an insult. Thoughout the Middle east, showing the soles of your feet is a very big insult. Remember, how the Iraqis beat Sadam's statue with their slippers or the man who threw his shoes at Bush. It is their culture, and it offends them.

It isn't so petty because of the timing. Israel is not feeling like Obama is doing enough to pressure Iran on nukes and Netanyau is giving his version of the Cairo speech on Sunday.

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