Sarkozy tells Obama: Netanyahu is a liar

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu embrace in Paris recently. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week told US President Barack Obama that he is fed up dealing with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, because he is a liar.

His remarks were made during a private exchange with Obama at the G20 summit in Cannes, but they became public when inadvertently broadcast over a microphone that had been left open. It took several days for news of Sarkozy’s remarks and Obama’s reaction to be reported.

“I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama. Reuters confirmed the accuracy of Sarkozy’s comment, which came to light on a French Internet site on Tuesday.

Obama did not refute Sarkozy, but said he had to deal regularly with Netanyahu even if Sarkozy was fed up with him, Reuters quoted the translation of a French interpreter for the two presidents.

“You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you,” Obama replied, according to the interpreter.

No comment was forthcoming from Netanyahu’s office, but Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, a former foreign minister, was diplomatic in an interview on Army Radio.

“You have to consider the main things,” Shalom said. “Is Obama a friend of Israel? Is Sarkozy a friend of Israel? Is their policy a consistent policy of support for Israel? The answer to all of these questions is affirmative and, as far as I’m concerned, that is what’s important.”