Meet the Press   |  September 25, 2011

Israel entirely ‘pro-America’

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says his country enjoys tremendous bipartisan support from the United States and Israel is the one country that is entirely pro-America.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MR. GREGORY: ...your alliance with the United States . Back in 2002 , you said Israel has had no better friend in the White House than George W. Bush . Would you say the same about President Obama ?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: They've all been great friends of Israel . You know why?

MR. GREGORY: You said, "No better friend in the White House than George W. Bush ."

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: When did I say that?

MR. GREGORY: 2002 on this program.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: OK. Well, they keep moving. They keep adding new people to -- you know, that's the peculiar thing about our system, the leaders, the leaders keep changing.

MR. GREGORY: So George W. Bush and President Obama are equivalent in your mind.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: God, I'm not going...

MR. GREGORY: I'm asking -- no, but I'm asking you a serious question.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I'm not going to start ranking. I'll tell you what, they're all...

MR. GREGORY: You did rank. But, Prime Minister, you did rank. And you said that America was behind you; and, in fact, this has been a frosty relationship between this administration and your administration. And the reality is that there's politics in this country and a presidential campaign. Just this week, you had Mitt Romney , a Republican, say of Obama that he threw Israel under the bus. Rick Perry described Obama 's Middle East policy as naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous. Do you disagree with those statements?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: David , you're trying to throw me under the bus of American politics . And guess what, I'm not going to be thrown there. So I'll tell you what...

MR. GREGORY: You didn't mind disagreeing with President Clinton 's analysis this week about the Middle East .

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Sure.

MR. GREGORY: Do you disagree with these Republican candidates?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I think the important thing to understand is this, and, and this is the truth about America , Israel enjoys tremendous bipartisan support, tremendous. And, and, and, you know, you just have to walk around the breadth and length of this country , it's -- or fly, it's a big country -- and everywhere you go, you see this tremendous, tremendous sympathy and affinity for Israel . This is what, I think, is one of the great blessings that Israel has in the, in the 21st century. So -- and I think that bipartisan support is expressed by any person who happens to be the president of the United States ...

MR. GREGORY: Are you concerned that partisanship is being injected into this?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: ...including President Obama . Every one of the U.S. presidents represents and acts on the tremendous innate friendship of the American people to Israel . And by the way, a piece of news, Israel is the one country in which everyone is pro- American, opposition and coalition alike. And I represent the entire people of Israel who say, "Thank you, America ." And we're friends of America , and we're the only reliable allies of America in the Middle East .

MR. GREGORY: In your book, President Obama is just as much a friend of Israel as George W. Bush ?

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: They're all friends of Israel , equally representing this friendship of America .