According to the Chicago Sun Times, Emanuel, who was the White House chief of staff when Obama first assumed office, tried to downplay the private meeting he had held with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
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"The defense minister and I have known each other since the day he was the prime minister," Emanuel stated. "He had a meeting with me scheduled for six months ago. It got cancelled. He was in the states for the United Nations and he asked for a meeting. It was an official visit."
The Chicago mayor added that he and Barak had "a good meeting," and that "that is about all that really happened".
Emanuel did not confirm nor deny claims that Barak conveyed to him the message that Netanyahu would not intervene in the US elections and promote Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and rather focused on endorsing Obama's campaign.
"I’m gonna do everything I can to help President Obama get re-elected (...) Everything I can in the next 42 days to assure that people know of what I think is not only a great record of helping to take the worst recession, stop it and begin the slow building of the economy, but also that he has a vision that includes the middle class in the future of this country," he said.
"So, when it comes to a message that they’re (Israel) not gonna get involved in the election, it fell on deaf ears because I’m gonna get involved in the election because I want to see President Obama (re-)elected."
Following the meeting between Emanuel and Barak, Israeli officials speculated that Barak may be working to tighten his diplomatic ties with the White House at the expense of Netanyahu's ties with Obama. By doing so, officials claim, Barak is trying to present himself to the US as the "sane voice" in Jerusalem.
Emanuel is still considered one of the closest people to both Obama and Netanyahu.
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