WASHINGTON (JTA) – A racist tweet mocking U.S. President Barack Obama posted by the wife of an Israeli government minister was “revealing,” the White House spokesman said.
“I think if there’s one thing we’ve certainly learned from this incident – it’s not the only time we’ve learned this – but that on Twitter you’re limited to 140 characters, but it still has a capacity to be quite revealing,” Josh Earnest said Monday after Judy Nir-Mozes, an Israeli talk-show host and wife of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, had apologized for her Twitter post of the day before.
Earnest, speaking at the daily briefing for reporters, did not elaborate on “quite revealing.”
Mozes had tweeted, “Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak.”
After deleting the tweet, Mozes posted, “I apologize, that was a stupid joke somebody told me.”
A second apology posted a half hour later was directed at the U.S. leader: “President Obama I shouldnt have written the inappropriate joke I heard. I like people no matter about their race and religion.”
Shalom, of the Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also is a vice-prime minister.
The brouhaha comes as tensions between Netanyahu and Obama are again in the headlines because of a tell-all autobiography published this week by Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington from 2009 to 2013 and now a Knesset member in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.
The book, Ally, has come under fire for inaccuracies – known and alleged – and for Oren’s speculation that Obama was trying to appease the Muslim world in part because he had been “abandoned” by his Muslim father and stepfather.
Earnest told reporters that the White House was not concerned about Oren’s book.
“I think in the case of Ambassador Oren, I think it’s pretty clear we’re just talking about another politician trying to sell books,” he said. “So I’m not particularly concerned about that.”