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Wexler: I Didn't Mean to Say U.S. Shouldn't Support Israel

6:55 PM, Jun 4, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Florida Rep. Robert Wexler's constituents will be much relieved to learn that their congressman is not standing by a comment he made just a few hours ago in support of President Obama's statement that "America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs." Wexler told Greg Sargent that he understood Obama's comment to mean "it is no longer acceptable to say in private, `Go Israelis, take on Hezbollah,' or `Go Israelis, take on Iran." In other words, Wexler was pleased that Obama would no longer privately support Israeli military operations against terrorist organizations.

Except Wexler has now clarified those comments:

Wexler just called to say that this isn't what he meant to say. He says he thought that Obama was saying it would no longer be acceptable for Arab states to tacitly signal support for Israeli military actions while saying something else publicly. He says he didn't realize Obama was referring to America saying the same thing privately as it says publicly.

Whatever Wexler means by that, it's clear he's no longer offering an unqualified endorsement of Obama's comments about Israel, but distancing himself from Obama's position on Israel, much as he did in a Politico piece earlier this week.