Saturday, November 14, 2009

What did Obama try to hint to Netanyahu at their White House meet with Picture display?

(Laura Rozen-Politico, Haaretz).The painting is of Lincoln with his generals Grant and Sherman, a commenter says, and she/he's right. It's artist George P.A. Healy's painting, "The Peacemakers," showing Lincoln meeting with military advisors Gen. William T. Sherman, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and Adm. David Porter March 27-28, 1865 in City Point, Virginia, aboard the steamer River Queen that brought Lincoln there down the Potomac. Just over a week after the meeting portrayed in the painting, the South's Gen. Lee surrendered, and five days after that, Lincoln was assassinated.

Acquired by the Truman White House, the Healy painting was displayed in the White House Treaty Room in the Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush presidencies. Not clear when "The Peacemakers" got moved to the Oval Office private dining room to be photographed hanging above Obama and Netanyahu's recent tete-a-tete. It wasn't there when he had this 2009 lunch with Joe Biden (that's a portrait of George Washington, I think, that hung in the same place during this 2007 Bush/Cheney lunch); and Obama had a far more pastoral looking landscape hanging there during his one-on-one meeting over tea with Jordan's King Abdullah last April (see below). It was there during Obama's October 22, 2009 meeting with Nancy Pelosi.

Does the Obama White House switch the painting hanging there depending on the occasion, for symbolic effect? Or, sometime between his Abdullah tea in the spring and his Netanyahu meeting last week did Obama have "The Peacemakers" moved into his private presidential dining room permanently?

Obama's message to Netanyahu, if there really was such a message, is quite clear: If you end the blood feud and make a peace of the brave, you will be remembered in history as a great leader, like Lincoln (the former president most esteemed by Obama).