The relationship between the United States and Israel is at a low point thanks to a "conscious decision" by the Obama administration, says Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of Defense for Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, told "The Steve Malzberg Show."
"The United States has had a very healthy, strong relationship with Israel. President Harry Truman first recognized Israel as a state," Rumsfeld said Thursday on the Newsmax TV
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"The relationship between the United States and Israel today is probably as bad as ever in my adult lifetime. It is a shame because it is a country that is small, it's embattled, it's got neighbors that wish it weren't there and they face a growing threat from Iran, a nuclear Iran."
Rumsfeld said he favors the upcoming U.S. visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was invited by House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress — an invite that has roiled the White House.
"Congress is a separate and co-legal, equal branch of government. They ought to be able to invite people to come and speak there, which they do. I was a former member and I see nothing wrong with that," Rumsfeld said.
"The conscious decision by this administration to create a difficult and strained and tense relationship between the executive branch of the government and the state of Israel is a big mistake.
"It is not in our interest and it's not in Israel's interest and I would add it's not in the region's interest."
Netanyahu, who arrives March 3, plans to discuss topics including the nuclear threat Iran poses to the Jewish state. And while the Obama administration continues to negotiate an arms deal with Iran, Rumsfeld said he doesn’t trust the Middle East nation.
"I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe that. The kinds of inspections that would be necessary one has to image are not going to be permitted," he said.
"And the delays, the continued progress they're making towards the development of nuclear weapons suggest to me that it would be advantageous for the United States to listen to Prime Minster Netanyahu.
"He lives in the neighborhood, they have threatened to eradicate the country, to shove it into the sea, the Iranians have, and his interest is paramount and it seems to me that we would benefit by hearing from him."
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