Former Israeli Ambassador to the US MK Dr. Michael Oren (Kulanu) on Sunday denied US President Barack Obama's recollections of a tense meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as published in an interview with Atlantic magazine last week.
In the interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama described a meeting with Netanyahu in 2011, in which he claimed the Israeli Prime Minister was "condescending" in manner as he launched into a "lecture" about the dangers Israel faces in the Middle East.
Obama said he responded: "Bibi, you have to understand something. I’m the African American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected president of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do."
Responding to the interview, Oren told Galei Yisrael radio on Sunday that he doesn't remember the incident happening.
"First of all we need to ask if this conversation actually happened," said the former ambassador. "The 'lecture,' and I emphasize the quotation marks, took place on May 30, 2011 in the Oval Office."
"I was there and the one-on-one talk between the two took place before the lecture, not after. Which means it's impossible that he (Obama) told him (that) afterwards. I walked with them on the southern White House lawn after that, it was a very calm talk and not tense. I think that Obama didn't feel that the Prime Minister lectured him."
Oren emphasized that the conversation Obama said took place never happened – "at least not on that date."
While noting that the conversation could possibly have taken place on another date, he stressed that it definitely did not occur on the date indicated by Obama.
In the Atlantic article, Obama also slammed UK Prime Minister David Cameron for getting "distracted" soon after ousting Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya, but after apparent backlash by Britain the White House backtracked on Obama's comments – it has yet to similarly backtrack from his statements against Netanyahu.