March 23rd, 2010 was a Tuesday. It was also the day that this supposedly happened in the White House:

[Obama] immediately presented Mr. Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.”

As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. “I’m still around,” Mr Obama is quoted by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. “Let me know if there is anything new.”

It’s also the day that this actually did happen:

First lady Michelle Obama took daughters Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, mother Marian Robinson and some pals to New York for a spring break trip where they hit Broadway shows, toured the Empire State Building and visited Harlem and Brooklyn…

ɉۢ Tuesday. Harlem was a focus. The Obama group toured the Studio Theater and the famous Apollo Theater. Mrs. Obama and friends dine at Aquavit, owned by Marcus Samuelsson, the guest chef at White House first state dinner for the Prime Minister of India. She ordered the tasting menu.

You can see that Michelle, Malia, and Sasha also spent Wednesday the 24th in the city, visiting the Sesame Street studios and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and stopping for pizza and ice cream.

So, you know, it wasn’t actually possible that President Obama told Netanyahu to cool his heels and consider the errors of his ways while he had dinner with his family.


Because he was in the White House in Washington DC and his family was in New York City having dinner at Aquavit.

So, probably, Alexander Bolton could have been a little more definitive about this incident in his piece in The Hill:

The [Obama-Netanyahu] relationship hit a low point in March of 2010, when Obama interrupted negotiations and left the Israeli leader cooling his heels in a White House waiting room while he had dinner with the first lady, according to news reports at the time.

The White House later disputed those reports by asserting Michelle Obama was in New York that evening.

The alleged snub was seen as payback for Netanyahu’s approval of a controversial Jewish construction project in East Jerusalem.

How does a relationship reach a low point based on erroneous “news reports at the time”? Didn’t the White House do more than “dispute” those reports? Didn’t they completely disprove them?

And how about this next bit from Bolton?

Netanyahu poked Obama earlier this week, when he declared just before the Israeli elections that he no longer supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a goal that has long served as the basis of American-brokered peace talks.

Shall we list the ways in which “poked” is the wrong verb here?

[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at