Fox News contributor John Bolton used President Obama's upcoming trip to Israel as an opportunity to paint him as “the most hostile” U.S. president toward that nation in its history, ignoring the fact that Obama will receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction from Israeli leaders during his trip.
On Wednesday, Obama will begin a three-day trip to the West Bank and Israel where he is slated to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Discussing the trip on America Live, Bolton said, “I think it's clear that President Obama is the most hostile president that America's had since the formation of Israel in 1948.”
Bolton's comments are unenlightened at best, given that Israel will award Obama the Presidential Medal of Distinction during his visit for his “unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens.” Obama will also be the first sitting U.S. president to receive the award. From The Hill:
President Obama will be awarded the Israeli Presidential Medal of Distinction during his visit to Israel next month, according to a report in the Times of Israel.
Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to receive the honor, which was announced by Israeli President Shimon Peres's office on Monday.
“Barack Obama is a true friend of the State of Israel, and has been since the beginning of his public life,” said Peres in a statement announcing the decision.
The narrative that Obama is hostile toward Israel has long been advanced by Bolton and other right-wing media figures, even though Israel's own leaders have repeatedly praised the president for his record on Israel. In a March 2012 interview with Charlie Rose, Israeli President Shimon Peres said that Obama is “a great president and a great friend of Israel,” and that under Obama, security ties are “the best we've ever had.” In August 2011, former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Fox's Greta Van Susteren, “I can hardly remember a better period of support, American support and cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us than what we have right now.” Barak has also praised Obama for doing “more” for Israeli security than any other U.S. president.
And Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly praised Obama for his administration's actions, including opposing a unilaterally-declared Palestinian state, helping to free Israelis detained in Cairo in September 2011, and helping fund a missile defense system.