Published: Fri, January 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Maryland golf club may reject Obama membership over United Nations settlements vote

Many of Woodmont's members consider it a "home away from home", according to the club website.

During his eight years in office, Obama has received criticism for his support or perceived lack thereof of Israel and many reports have reflected a hard working relationship with the hardline conservative Netanyahu.

The prestigious country club was established shortly before the First World War because many other country clubs would not admit Jewish people as members.

President Obama may be prevented from joining an exclusive Maryland golf club because of his administration's tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Among Arab Israelis, "a very similar rate thinks US-Israeli relations will flourish during Trump's tenure, though that expectation is not necessarily to this public's liking", the December poll said. Regular members have to pay a steep $80,000 initiation fee, and annual membership fees of $9,673.

A source added: 'Originally, this was supposed to be a back-door thing to get this done and give him the membership - free of charge - and circumvent the rules'.

"Can you imagine how angry I would be if I had paid $80,000 to have to look at this guy who has done more to damage Israel than any president in American history?" said one member, an official in a Jewish organization in Washington. Seventy-four percent of Israeli Arabs, meanwhile, believe Trump will be friendly to Israel.

Despite pushback from members, Woodmont CEO and general manager Brian Pizzimenti said he would "be honored" to have the president as a member.

Before the United Nations vote, however, Woodmont members seemed thrilled by the prospect of a black man joining a club founded in 1913 to accommodate a Jewish population that wasn't permitted to join other D.C. -area country clubs.

"If there's a club that excludes Jews, he'd probably be more comfortable around those folks", he said.

Known as an avid golfer, Obama first hit the links at the club in 2015, accompanied by former Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, John Shulman, head of major private equity firm Capital Partners, and his aide Joe Paulson.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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