Entries in Benjamin Netanyahu (7)


Romney Says Military Action Against Iran May Not Be Necessary

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney said Friday that he does not believe military action will be necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capability.

Romney added that he still leaves the option of military action “on the table” should it be needed.

Romney’s remarks came as he told reporters Friday afternoon about the phone conversation he had just finished with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During the conversation, Romney said it was made clear that he and Netanyahu “very much have the same interest to make sure that Iran does not develop nuclear capability, which would threaten the existence of Israel, threaten devastation potentially in other nations of the world, and we must make every effort to prevent them from developing that nuclear capability.”

“I also believe that there is a strategy that would lead us to preventing Iran from developing nuclear capability. I do not believe in the final analysis we will have to use military action,” said Romney.

“I certainly hope we don’t have to.  I can’t take that option off the table; it must be something which is known by the Iranians as a possible tool to be employed to prevent them from becoming nuclear,” he said. “But I certainly hope that we can prevent any military action from having to be taken.”

Romney, who repeated Friday that he would have encouraged crippling sanctions against Iran earlier than the President did, appeared to soften his tone, no longer declaring with certainty that if Obama is reelected, Iran will get a nuclear weapon.

In his speech to the United Nations on Thursday, Netanyahu, who has for months hinted that Israel would take military action against Iran, also appeared to take a more softened tone.

Netanyahu pushed back to next summer the date by which he believes Iran could get a nuclear weapon, and even offered President Obama, with whom relations have not always been good with, praise for the sanctions he’s placed on Iran.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


David Axelrod: Don’t Doubt Obama’s Resolve on Iran

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that “no one should doubt the president’s resolve” on Iran, and that President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have the same objective of preventing Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.

Obama is set to meet with Netanyahu Monday at the White House for a critical summit on Iran’s nuclear efforts.

“Let’s first stipulate that there’s no difference between the United States and Israel on the issue of whether Iran should get a nuclear weapon,” Axelrod said on ABC's This Week.  “They’re going to sit down and they are going to talk through the tactics involved, but no one should doubt the president’s resolve.”

“Not just because of the security of Israel, but because of the security of the United States of America,” Axelrod added.  “It is important that Iran not get a nuclear weapon.”

In some of his clearest language yet on the issue, Obama told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg “I don’t bluff” when discussing Iran’s nuclear program, and that all options were on the table to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability.

“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” President Obama told Goldberg in an interview last week.  ”[B]oth the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called Obama’s comments “a good step in the right direction,” but questioned whether the Obama administration will be willing to move as quickly as Israel to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.

“The question for the president is, if the Israeli prime minister decides that he cannot afford to take the risk of waiting to see whether or not the intelligence agencies are right, and he decides that for the survival of Israel, he has to do something to take out the weapons systems, will the president in fact support him or will the president try to stop him?” Gingrich said on This Week.

“I think that’s the core question.  Because I think the Israelis are likely to move much, much earlier than an American president would,” Gingrich added.

Goldberg said Obama had two main messages in his interview -- convincing Iran to take his words seriously, while also cautioning Netanyahu against a unilateral attack this year on Iranian nuclear facilities.

“The more important message at the moment was right to the prime minister, which is, please, also, you take me seriously when I say that Iran is not going to cross the threshold on my watch,” Goldberg said.  “So don’t do anything precipitous.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lieberman ‘Disappointed’ in Obama’s Comments About Netanyahu

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Wednesday an open mic moment involving President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was “insulting” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “totally unacceptable.”

“To me, it’s insulting to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is obviously an ally of both France and the United States,” Lieberman said during an interview with conservative radio host Sean Hannity. “It’s totally unacceptable, totally offensive.”

Lieberman was reacting to an open mic moment at the G-20 meetings last week in France, where Obama and Sarkozy discussed Netanyahu, thinking a microphone was turned off.

“I can’t see him anymore, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy said in French.

“You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day,” President Obama replied, according to reports.

While admitting that Sarkozy’s comments calling Netanyahu a “liar” were worse, Lieberman said he is disappointed in President Obama’s reaction.

“I was disappointed by President Obama’s response because I wish he had, in some measure, come to the defense of Bibi Netanyahu,” Lieberman said.

The White House has declined to comment on the exchange.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Singer Hank Williams Jr. Compares Obama to Hitler

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- “Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood,” singer Hank Williams Jr. said in a statement issued Monday evening.

Williams was responding to ESPN pulling his song “All My Rowdy Friends,” from the Monday Night Football broadcast, featuring the Indianapolis Colts facing off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in response to some rather pointed language about President Obama that Williams used earlier in the day.

On Fox & Friends, Williams expressed chagrin that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, played golf with President Obama, which he compared to “Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu … In the shape this country is in?”

One of the anchors, Brian Kilmeade, responded that he didn’t understand the analogy.

“I’m glad you don’t, brother, because a lot of people do,” Williams said.  “They’re the enemy.”

When asked who the enemy was, Williams said, "Obama.  And Biden.  Are you kidding?  The Three Stooges.”

Williams went on to bemoan how “polarized” the country is.  On that note, anchor Gretchen Carlson pointed out that he had just compared the president to Hitler.

“Well that’s true.  But I’m telling you like it is,” Williams said.

In a statement, ESPN -- a sister organization of ABC -- said: “While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football.  We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”

“All My Rowdy Friends” has been the theme for Monday Night Football since 1991.

Williams said in his statement Monday evening: “My analogy was extreme -- but it was to make a point.  I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me -- how ludicrous that pairing was.  They’re polar opposites and it made no sense.  They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will.  I have always respected the office of the President."

“Every time the media brings up the tea party it’s painted as racist and extremists -- but there’s never a backlash -- no outrage to those comparisons,” Williams said.  “Working class people are hurting -- and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares.  When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job -- it makes a whole lot of us angry.  Something has to change.  The policies have to change.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Speaker Boehner Reaffirms US Support for 'Safe and Secure Israel'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the joint meeting of Congress Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner is set to deliver an address to AIPAC Monday night, where he will reaffirm America’s support for a “safe and secure” Israel, while rejecting the notion that the U.S. is “too pro-Israel,” calling that suggestion an obstacle to peace in the region.

“The work of achieving a safe and secure Israel has never been easy, but the cause is right, and let me tell you -- that cause has my one hundred percent support,” Boehner, R-Ohio, pledges according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by ABC News. “Israel has demonstrated time and again it seeks nothing more than peace with its neighbor.  In a negotiation, both sides need to make serious compromises.  And like every prime minister before him, Prime Minister Netanyahu knows this and accepts it.”

Boehner will also call on the White House and Congress to provide a better understanding of U.S. national security policies and goals in order to alleviate any concern from allies about where America’s priorities stand.

“Some people complain that the United States is too pro-Israel.  Let me tell you what I think: Doubts about what America stands for -- and who America stands with -- slow the search for peace and stability,” Boehner is set to say. “The president and the Congress should work together so that the American people -- and our friends, and yes, our enemies -- understand our national security policies and our goals.  And so that our allies, allies like Israel, have no cause to doubt that we will be with them through thick and thin.”

Boehner also will speak to the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, noting that Iranian officials have undoubtedly “taken notice of how the United States has responded to Libya -- versus how it has responded to North Korea,” and suggesting that anyone who doubts the Iranian regime’s quest for nuclear weapons is “awfully optimistic.”

According to Boehner, the top solution to the Iranian threat is a political uprising by the people of Iran, similar to those taking place across the region the past few months.

“We should make it clear -- clearer than it has been for the last two years -- that America is on the side of those who yearn and struggle for their freedom,” Boehner adds. “That is our historic and moral responsibility as a great and free Nation and we should never apologize or be ashamed of that role.”

Boehner says that the Arab Spring marks “an overdue rejection of corruption and police states” while the people “battle for the region’s political identity.”

“Will they now build governments that respect human life and dignity, that uphold human rights, and where the people rule?” Boehner asks, “Or will we see women and religious minorities repressed and fundamental rights abridged.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Downplays US-Israel Tensions After Meeting With Netanyahu

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downplayed disagreements between their two countries as they met Friday amid a backdrop of chilly relations that many observers believe were exacerbated by Obama's Mideast policy speech Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after their long meeting, Obama sought to diffuse the tensions, saying that differences will "happen between friends."

The president's call Thursday for Israel's and Palestine's borders to be based on pre-1967 lines caused outrage among supporters of Israel.

"There are some differences between us in the precise formulations and language, and that's going to happen between friends," the president said. "But what we are in complete accord about is that a true peace can only occur if the ultimate resolution allows Israel to defend itself against threats and that Israel's security will remain paramount in U.S. evaluations of any prospective peace deal."

More telling, however, was Netanyahu's response. Talking directly to Obama, Netanyahu asserted that any border based on lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War would be "indefensible" and a threat to Israel's security. Netanyahu also refused to work with any Palestinian government that would include Hamas in the negotiations, calling the group the "Palestinian version of al Qaeda."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin to Visit Israel

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin is making her first visit to Israel.  The former Alaska governor will stop there following a trip to India, where she is visiting for a speech on Saturday.  Palin’s trip to Israel follows a parade of Republican presidential hopefuls, including Mitt Romney in January, and, more recently, Mike Huckabee. 
While in Israel, Palin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who often hosts high-profile American politicians.  An official in his office said, "The Prime Minister knows the importance of the U.S. political system."
Palin, who arrived in India on Wednesday, will speak to the “India Today Conclave,” an annual public policy forum.
In a press release from the organization, Palin said, “I'm very excited to visit India. Americans have a great respect for the world's largest democracy," adding, "India and the United States are partners in trade and business affairs, and working together our two nations can build a more peaceful and prosperous world."
Palin’s speech will deliver the concluding address at the event; with an talk entitled “My Vision of America.”
Palin has traveled to Hong Kong and Haiti since stepping down as Alaska’s governor in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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