Rep. King: Israel’s leaders do not trust the US governmentBy Peter Schroeder
September 16, 2012
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, accused the Obama administration Sunday of hitting a new low in U.S.-Israeli relations.
"We've never had a situation like this where there's been such a disconnect between the U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"The fact is, the Israeli government does not trust the American government," he added.
With violent protests breaking out across the Muslim world, King also blasted the president's foreign policy as "confused…apologetic…misguided."
King's comments come during a somewhat tense week between the U.S. and Israel, after the president was accused of refusing to meet with Netanyahu when he visits the U.S. later this month. The White House denied the charge, and the president spoke with Netanyahu on the phone Tuesday.
In an interview aired on the program, Netanyahu said he did not feel snubbed by the lack of a visit.
"I think he's met me more than any other leader in the world, and I appreciate that," he said. "Our schedules on this visit didn't work out…but we continue to be in close consultation."
Netanyahu has pressed the U.S. in public to declare an explicit "red line" for Iran when it comes to its nuclear capability.
"Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," he said last week.
On Sunday, Netanyahu said his remarks were directed at "the general international community," but maintained the need for stark restrictions on Iran's nuclear capability.
"I just think it's important to communicate to Iran that there's a line they cannot cross," he said.
He added that establishing clear boundaries could actually reduce the odds of military action against Iran in the future, now that the nation would know exactly what will and will not be tolerated.
He also refused to step into the political fray of the heated presidential campaign, repeatedly dodging questions about whether he agreed with Mitt Romney's charge that the Obama administration has thrown allies like Israel "under the bus." Instead, he maintained that all U.S. political leaders appreciate the need for a strong alliance with Israel.
"There's no leader in the world who is more appreciative than me of the strength of this alliance," he said. "It's not a partisan issue."
"There's no bus and we're not going to get into that discussion," he said. "The only bus that's important is the Iranian nuclear bus. That's the one we have to derail and that's my only interest."
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who appeared alongside King on the program, dismissed criticism of the president's foreign policy, calling it the right approach.
"The president has been consistent, he's been steady, and he's made real progress," he said. "The last thing we need is to start making quick, emotionally charged decisions. We need consistent, steady leadership like the president has shown."