White House Pushes Back On Schumer's Criticism Of Israel Policy
The Obama administration pushed back on Friday against critical comments made by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) accusing the president of having a "counterproductive" policy on Israel.
Asked by the Huffington Post about the remarks during the morning's gaggle, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied: "I don't think it is a stretch to say we don't agree with what Senator Schumer said."
The night before, Schumer rebuked the administration's approach to Israeli settlements in Jerusalem. "This has to stop," he told the politically conservative Jewish Nachum Segal Show. "I told the president, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counterproductive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk."
The remarks were, far and away, the toughest Israel-related criticism leveled at this administration to come from a congressional Democrat (and White House ally) to date. A hawkish Israel supporter, Schumer also charged the Obama administration with having a less-than-firm commitment to Israel; that cabinet officials (namely Sec. of State Hillary Clinton) had demanded too many concessions of the Jewish state, and that the White House had been overbearing and one-sided in its demands during the nascent peace process.
Gibbs acknowledged seeing a write-up of the remarks, though not hearing them.
"We have an unwavering commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people," he said. "You heard General Jones speak about that earlier in the week. We have said that from the beginning of the administration."