On the one hand, Obama told Israel’s Channel 2, “When I’m with Bibi, we have good conversations. They’re tough, they’re forceful, we disagree, but I enjoy jousting with him. I do.”
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“There’s no doubt that Prime Minister Netanyahu and I come from different political traditions and have different orientations, ” Said President Obama. “But part of what’s been valuable about the U.S.-Israeli relationship is it is deeper than any individual leader or any particular government. That won’t change.”
But the president had some harsh words about Netanyahu, specifically on the issue that most divides the two world leaders – what to do about Iran’s nuclear program.
“I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is somebody who’s predisposed to think of security first; to think perhaps that peace is naive; to see the worst possibilities as opposed to the best possibilities in Arab partners or Palestinian partners, ” said the President. “And so I do think that, right now, those politics and those fears are driving the government’s response.”
The President thinks that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s worldwide campaign against Iran may backfire. Especially considering the fact that Netanyahu went back on his pledge to support a two state solution just before the Israeli elections in March, only to backtrack once again after his victory.
“So the danger is that Israel as a whole loses credibility, ” President Obama said. “The international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution. The statement the prime minister made compounded that belief that there’s not a commitment there.”
“If, in fact, there’s no prospect of an actual peace process, if nobody believes there’s a peace process, then it becomes more difficult to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation, ” added the President.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu had some harsh words for British students who have joined the boycott, divest and sanction movement against Israel. The UK’s National Union of Students passed a motion to boycott Israel after refusing to pass a similar motion regarding ISIS.
When meeting with new Canadian Foreign Minster Rob Nicholson, Netanyahu told the press, “They boycott Israel but they refuse to boycott ISIS. That tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement. They condemn Israel and do not condemn ISIS; they condemn themselves.”
“Israel has an exemplary democracy. We have academic freedom, press freedom, human rights. ISIS tramples human rights to the dust, ” he added.
“It burns people alive in cages and the national student groups in Britain refuse to boycott ISIS and have boycotted Israel. It tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement.”
Netanyahu also could not resist slamming Turkey and Iran saying, “At the same time, in the UN, we’ve seen Turkey and Iran vote to give Hamas affiliate status – Hamas. Hamas fires rockets on our cities while hiding behind Palestinian civilians, hiding behind Palestinian children. It tells you about international hypocrisy a lot.”