Part of the friction comes from Obama making the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority early on, putting off Netanyahu's demands for urgent action on the Iran nuclear program.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Despite declarations of a strong alliance between the US and Israel at this year's AIPAC conference, it hasn’t eliminated the bad blood simmering not far below the surface of meetings between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past three years.
This week's installment – focused almost entirely on Iran rather than the Palestinian conflict – provided some jabs: In an address Sunday, Obama criticized the saber-rattling of Israeli leaders against Iran as counterproductive, while Mr. Netanyahu on Monday took pains to assert Israel’s right to decide on its own how to defend itself.
While the clashes have ranged from issues of personality, to tactics on the peace process, to protocol snubs, there seems to be a consensus among Israeli observers that tension is primarily rooted in a clash of political outlook. It may not be in Netanyahu’s conservative DNA to have stable ties with a liberal like Obama.
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