Meet the Press | September 16, 2012
>> prime minister, one more question on the american election. you have been accused this week by pundits in this country of trying to interfere in this presidential election , siding with governor mitt romney . now, governor romney for a year, and he said it in his convention speech, has said, quote, president obama has thrown allies like israel under the bus. do you agree or disagree with governor romney's charge? it's a serious charge.
>> well, you're trying to get me into the american election. and i'm not going to do that. the relationship between israel and the united states is a bond of -- just a very powerful bond. it was, it is, and will be. and will continue to be. and i can tell you there's no one -- there's no leader in the world who's more appreciative than me of the strength of this alliance. it's very strong. there's no one in israel who appreciates more than me the importance of american support for israel . it's not a partisan issue. in fact, we cherish the bipartisan support of democrats and republicans alike. this is critical for us.
>> but prime minister, if i may just interrupt you --
>> it is critical that we take --
>> this is an important point because you say you don't want to interfere in the election. there are tens of millions of americans who are watching that speech, who hear that rhetoric, hear that charge, and may not understand the complexity of this issue. you are the leader of the jewish people . you say this is not a partisan issue. you get billions of dollars from direct foreign investment in this country. hundreds of millions of dollars from americans, jews and christians alike. it seems to me for you to remain silent on whether this administration has thrown israel under the bus is tantamount to agreeing with the sentiment. so where do you come down on that specific charge against president obama ?
>> there you go again, david, trying to draw me into something that is something not the case and is not my position. my position is that we have strong cooperation and we continue to cooperate with the best of allies. and israel is the one reliable ally of the united states in the middle east .
>> president obama has not thrown israel under the bus?
>> so it's -- there's no bus, and we're not going to get into that discussion, except to say one thing. we have a strong alliance, and we're going to continue to have a strong alliance. i think the important question is where does the -- the only bus that is really important is the iranian nuclear bus. that's the one that we have to derail. and that's my interest. that's my only interest.
>> final question on the broader middle east and what we're seeing this week. this anti-american and indeed anti-israeli rage throughout the middle east attacking our embassy, killing a united states ambassador as you well know. what has been unleashed and what can the united states and its allies specifically do to contain it?
>> well, look, i think people focus on the spark. and the spark of reprehensible and irresponsible film is a spark, but it doesn't explain anything. it doesn't explain 9/11. it doesn't explain the decades of animosity and the grievances that go back centuries. in fact, there's a tinder box of hatred here there a virulent strain of islam that takes moderate muslims and arabs and attacks them first but seeks to deprive all of us of the basic values that we have. they are against human rights . they are against the rights of women. they are against freedom of religion . they are against freedom of speech and freedom of religion . they are against all the things that we value. they are against tolerance, pluralism, and against freedom. and they view not your policies but you, the very existence of the united states , and its values, and by extension israel , they view that as an intolerable crime. and we have to understand that. and we have to deal with it. and we have to be in close support . because in this vast expanse of land, you can understand why they are so antagonistic to us. because for them, we are you, and you are us. and at least on this point they're right.
>> finally, prime minister, did you feel snubbed not getting a face-to-face meeting with president obama in new york during the upcoming u.n. meetings? would you like to have that face-to-face encounter? would it be helpful to your relationship at this point?
>> i'm always pleased and happy to have a conversation with president obama . i think he has met with me more than any other leader in the world and i appreciate that. we've had our discussions. our schedules on this visit doesn't work out. i come to new york and he leaves new york . but we continue in close consultations. we have urgent business, israel and america, to prevent iran from getting nuclear weapons . i think it's important to delineate a red line for iran so we're not faced with a conundrum of what to do if we don't place a red line and they just proceed to the bomb.