A historic meeting between US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday has left many wondering where Obama’s true allegiances lie.
The meeting, which took place during the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama, is the first time since 1958 that a US and Cuban leader have held a significant meeting. At the time, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the US and Fulgencio Batista was in charge of Cuba.
During Obama and Castro’s meeting, the two leaders pledged to form a peaceful relationship that has eluded the two nations for decades.
“What we have both concluded is that we can disagree with a spirit of respect and civility,” Obama stated. “And over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries.”
Former Florida governor and expected Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush slammed the president for holding talks with the Cuban leader while snubbing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his recent trip to Washington in March.
“Obama meets with Castro but refused to meet w/Netanyahu,” Bush tweeted on Sunday. “Why legitimize a cruel dictator of a repressive regime?”
Netanyahu, who issued a historic address to a joint session of the US Congress on the dangers of a nuclear Iran, was refused an invitation by the White House to meet with Obama.
Over the last year, Obama has been accused repeatedly of abandoning Israel and adopting policies that threaten the security and existence of the Jewish state.
The president, who viewed the prime minister’s address as an attempt to undermine his leadership and a nuclear deal with Iran, has left some believing that he is on a crusade to destroy Netanyahu.
“He spat in our face publicly…Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” a senior Obama official told the Daily Caller in January.
Following Netanyahu’s reelection, the Obama administration has taken steps to review its relationship with Israel and support of the Jewish state in international organizations, such as the UN.
When asked in March whether the US would “continue to oppose Palestinian efforts to gain statehood at the United Nations,” Obama answered that “we’re evaluating what’s taking place.” Should Obama pull support of Israel at the UN, it would reverse decades of US foreign policy.
Obama and Netanyahu have publicly clashed over the direction of a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran. At a press conference following the meeting with Castro, Obama stated, “The prime minister of Israel is deeply opposed to [the nuclear deal]. He’s made that very clear.”
Despite Obama declaring his repeated calls on Netanyahu for a viable alternative that would make it “less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon – I’ve yet to obtain a good answer on that.”