Tags: America's Forum | Barack Obama | Israel | Elliot Abrams | Benjamin Netanyahu | re-elected | Barack Obama

Elliott Abrams: Israelis Liked Netanyahu Standing Up to Obama

By    |   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 02:43 PM

Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams tells Newsmax TV that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election bid was likely helped by standing up to President Barack Obama.

"It used to be the case for decades that an Israeli prime minister who is thought to be unable to handle Washington well was probably doomed. That was a critical thing to be able to do," Abrams told John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Thursday.

"In this case, it seems to have helped Netanyahu, and that speech in Congress seems to have helped him," he said.

"The only explanation you can give is so many Israelis think that President Obama is not a friend of Israel, that they actually like it when Netanyahu stands up to him and seems to be fighting him," he explained.

Netanyahu's Likud Party won in a landslide victory Tuesday, after what was considered a tight race with the Zionist Union. The win happened two weeks after the Israeli prime minister addressed Congress, warning about the deal the Obama administration is working on with Iran over its nuclear program.

The White House strongly criticized House Speaker John Boehner's decision to invite Netanyahu without consulting the administration first.

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Abrams told Newsmax that while other presidents have had "policy differences" with Israel, he said it's "new" to see a president with "this personal invective, this level of dislike" with Israel's leader.

Obama and Netanyahu have "actually met a lot and know each other pretty well and really don't like each other."

While "most countries, certainly in Europe, were rooting for [Netanyahu] to lose. They wanted Isaac Herzog, the opposition, to be the new government of Israel," it was "not so clear in the Arab states . . . because they're mostly concerned about Iran, where Netanyahu has been very tough."

The day before Israeli elections, Netanyahu promised that if he was re-elected that he would not allow a Palestinian state to be established, which he was widely criticized for saying.

According to Abrams, Netanyahu "didn't say he was against the Palestinian state forever until the end of time, never."

"He said, 'Anybody who's in favor of doing that today is making a big mistake, and it's not going to happen on my watch,'" he explained.

"I don't think many Israelis thought it was going to happen on his watch anyway," he said.

"I don't know anybody who's particularly optimistic about the idea of concluding an Israeli-Palestinian peace [accord] in the next couple of years."

However, the former deputy national security adviser said that "you'll see him walk that back a little bit, you'll have government spokesmen explain that he didn't say never. He was just being practical about how today it's not possible."

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Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams tells Newsmax TV that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election bid was likely helped by standing up to President Barack Obama.
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Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 02:43 PM
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