The media exaggerates the friction between President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, according to former U.S. senator Joe Lieberman, speaking at Haifa University on Tuesday, reported Arutz Sheva.
“My feeling is that the personal relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are not as bad as the media like to make out, although there is no doubt they aren’t where they need to be when you’re talking about such a close friendship,” said Lieberman, according to quotes cited by Arutz Sheva.
Lieberman agreed that the relationship between the two leaders was not perfect, but he said that the final 14 months of Obama’s term will see improved relations between the two, particularly benefiting from strong support from pro-Israel congressional Democrats who are supporters of Israel but voted for the Iran nuclear deal — which Netanyahu opposes — out of allegiance to Obama.
Lieberman, who opposes the nuclear deal, said that Iran could not be trusted, and noted that some of the money gained by Tehran from the lifting of sanctions will fund terrorism.
“Even if the Iranians transfer 10 percent of that money to the terrorist organizations which they support like Hizbullah and Hamas, we’re talking about something between $10-15 million. These are amounts which could enable them to cause a lot of harm,” said Lieberman.
In his speech, Lieberman criticized Obama’s foreign policy, which Lieberman said was simply based on the idea of being the anti-Bush.
“The policy is that if the previous president would have entered us into war, President Obama will get us out of wars. This is a great idea, but when war is declared upon you you can’t stand on the outside.
“There is no doubt that ISIS has declared war on us, but even Iran has demonstrated towards us the most hostile sentiments they could possibly demonstrate.”
Lieberman strongly criticized Obama’s policy in regard to Syria. The former Democratic senator from Connecticut, who was also a vice presidential candidate in 2000, said that the rebel movement was initially comprised of “true Syrian patriots” who simply opposed Assad, but that a lack of support from the U.S. and the West allowed terrorists to dominate the anti-Assad movement.
“History in my opinion will judge our involvement in Syria as the nadir of the Obama administration — but I hope the situation will still change,” said Lieberman, according to Arutz Sheva’s excerpts.
Finally, in regard to American Jewry’s relationship with Israel, Lieberman said the American Jewish community is generally comprised of three groups: those who support Israel unconditionally; those who love Israel but “not unconditionally,” and those who are either indifferent or hostile towards Israel.
“There is no doubt that there has been an increase in the third group,” particularly among those under 40, said Lieberman, who warned that these trends should not be ignored and that Israel should engage with Jewish youth to demonstrate the openness of Israeli society.