French President Nicolas Sarkozy was caught on an open microphone telling President Barack Obama last week he was fed up with dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu and considered the Israeli prime minister a liar.
Sarkozy made the comment during a private conversation with Obama during a G20 summit in the French riviera town of Cannes last week and the remarks were overheard by a small number of journalists but not initially reported.
“I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama during a frank exchange where the U.S. president took him to task for backing a Palestinian request for membership of the UN cultural heritage agency UNESCO, Haaretz reported.
A Reuters reporter was among the journalists present and can confirm the veracity of the comments, which were relayed by a French internet outlet on Tuesday.
Obama reportedly responded: “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day,” Ynet News reported, citing a translation of a French interpreter during their Cannes exchange.
The Anti-Defamation League later issued a statement, calling the exchange “decidedly unpresidential.”, JTA reported.
In their quest for statehood recognition, the Palestinians have requested membership of the over-arching United Nations system, in addition to its Paris-based UNESCO subsidiary.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the opposition Kadima Party, whose last Knesset campaign slogan was “Bibi, I don’t believe him,” chose not to comment on the open mike snafu.
“What Sarkozy said is more than enough,” a party spokesman told the paper.