Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a subtle yet significant swipe at Barack Obama's foreign policy legacy without even mentioning the name of that former president.
"I want to tell you," Netanyahu said to President Trump during a joint press conference Monday, "how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East." Veiled as a compliment to Trump, the implication was a clear swat against Obama.
For eight years, Obama tried to stabilize the Middle East by pursuing diplomatic relations with Iran at the obvious expense of the Israeli-American relationship. With his praise of the current president, Netanyahu expressed his opinion in the relative goodness of Trump and awfulness of Obama.
If that sounds passive-aggressive, consider differences between the two presidents and what that means to Israel's national security. Where Obama tried negotiating with Iran, Trump has rattled his saber. And while Obama gave the Jewish state a cold shoulder, Trump has promised closer cooperation to avoid nuclear proliferation in the region.
"The United States and Israel can declare with one voice," Trump said Monday, "that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon, never ever, and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately."
That's notably different in tone and substance from Obama's marquee foreign policy achievement. The Iran nuclear agreement, which the former president negotiated in 2015, keeps Iran from getting a nuclear weapon in the short run in exchange for more than $100 billion in sanctions relief from the U.S.
As both Netanyahu and Trump have criticized, that agreement does not prohibit Iran from enriching uranium and only lasts for about a decade. While the president still hasn't "torn up" that agreement like he promised on the campaign trail, it's clear that Trump's different enough from Obama to win the praise of his Israeli counterpart.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.