Speaking at J Street org. national summit: Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer

What he said isn’t a surprise, the surprise is the fact he actually said it….


In a biting assessment of the Netanyahu government as interfering in American domestic politics, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer declared that relations between the top leaderships of the two countries have never been as bad as they are today.

Speaking to the opening session of the dovish J Street organization’s national summit in San Francisco on Saturday night, Kurtzer said, “I find it extraordinary over these past few years, the degree to which this government of Israel has interfered in our domestic politics in a way to which, if we had done the reverse, it would have created a firestorm. Unbelievable.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his ruling Likud have long been seen as indicating their antipathy to President Barack Obama and their strong preference for the Republican Party, in particular during the 2012 presidential campaign of Republican contender Mitt Romney.

“Unless, frankly, Israel’s leadership begins to understand that the United States is also a sovereign country,” Kurtzer said, “we’re going to continue to have problems.”

Kurtzer noted that while “the ties that bind us” in such spheres as security, intelligence and economic cooperation have never been better, “the political ties between our two governments have never been as fraught as they are today, because the ties at the top have never been as bad as they are today.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu, for reasons that only he can explain, does not like or trust the president of the United States. And the president of the United States, for reasons that he can explain, does not like or trust the prime minister of the state of Israel.”

Kurtzer, now a professor at Princeton, served as ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, following a term as ambassador to Egypt during the Clinton administration.



2 comments on “Speaking at J Street org. national summit: Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer

  1. Yep!

    My guess is that was very well polished spoken for public consumption. Off the record and in private over dinner in a noisy room he would have most likely added more nuance or even some black and white outright experience. I say that from experience having been to a few luncheons and dinners with Ambassadors and Prime Ministers and Presidents, both in public settings and private.

    • It needed to be said, imo Michael, even if by a former Ambassador. I too (as a few of my posts have pointed out) have been amazed at the open boldness at which the Israeli government has tried to manipulate our domestic and foreign policy decisions. While Kerry was going through the ‘peace-talk’ scenario, which everyone who read the Israeli papers daily, knew was for naught, the disrespectful articles i read, concerning our nation, our president, and Kerry, at most Israeli news sites, were disgusting. One got the feeling of America being like the dog which kept getting kicked and coming back for more.

      Israel’s current government has and is doing a ‘good’ job of isolating itself from the world. The one friend they’ve always had was the US…but today, im not so sure that is true. Friendships can never be one-sided, and im afraid that’s what the US-Israel friendship has become. I was reading an article yesterday in which it’s being said Israel is even losing much of it’s American-Jewish support.

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