The seats assigned to the Israeli delegation were vacant when President Obama delivered his Thursday morning speech to the United Nations, but that was not a snub directed at Obama, an Israeli official tells The Cable.
"It's the religious holiday of Sukkot," the official e-mailed, referring to the Jewish holiday that falls on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, according to the Jewish lunar calendar. Sukkot is the beginning of seven days of festivities centered around the autumn harvest.
We excused ourselves in advance to the U.S. delegation to the U.N. and the administration and explained it is the Jewish Holiday," the official said.
Nevertheless, several conservative blogs posted a video showing the vacant chairs, one with the headline "Video: Israel Delegation BOYCOTTS Obama UN Address."
"For people to suggest that the Israelis were absent for any other reason than the Jewish holiday is wrong, and depending on who it's coming from, could be malicious," said Josh Block, spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.