Netanyahu Confidant: Upcoming WH Meeting ‘Must’ Be Successful

The upcoming meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have a successful outcome, given the high stakes in the post-Iran nuclear deal era, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Zalman Shoval said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the American-Israeli Friendship League annual dinner in NYC, Shoval said that both countries must overlook the past, especially the recent rift over the nuclear deal, to restore the U.S.-Israel relationship. Adding that the differences over the deal were a matter of “pure politics vs. survival.”

“With stout hearts, sharp words, compassion, and a bit seychel (wisdom) too, diplomacy and policy are never a one-stop journey, but an ongoing trek. One has to look ahead and not back, for even the worst situations can change for the better,” Shoval, a close confidant to Netanyahu, said.

“The ties between us are not just on a political and government level, but more so between people to people, and it must be non-partisan – both in the U.S. and in Israel,” he stressed. “The meeting between the president and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be a success because it must be a success.”

“Israelis refuse to believe in a declining America,” Shoval continued. “For us, an exceptionalist America remains a leader of the free world and our closest and irreplaceable ally. And so is Israel America’s closest and irreplaceable friend.”

The former Ambassador also urged Jewish unity to make the strong ties between the two countries even stronger. “We must be proud to be Jews and proud to be supporters of Israel,” he implored. “Zionism is not only the revival of the Jewish people but an incomparable just and moral victory for human spirit after 2,000 years of exile.”

Shoval, who served as the Netanyahu’s Special Envoy to the United States and Europe until 2015, was honored by The American-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) at its 35th annual Partner for Democracy Awards Dinner at The Plaza in NYC.

Also speaking at the event, WSJ’s Bret Stephens gave a more pessimistic view of the state of US-Israel relations. “We are living in a time when there is one pariah among international leaders here in the United States, and that’s the democratic-elected prime minister of the State of Israel,” Stephens told the crowd. “We know we are living in a period where the word ‘but’ has become the principle source of moral capitulation in our modern discourse. Yes, the knifings of Jewish citizens is condemnable, ‘but’ Israel must get out of the settlements, and get out of them right away. This is part of what’s happening to the state U.S.-Israel relations.”

Going forward, he said both parties must make sure to maintain the U.S.-Israel relationship and its support among the American people by believing in a Reaganite foreign policy that supports other countries around the world – in the Republican Party, and by embracing the liberal status of the State of Israel as shared values – for progressives in the Democratic Party.

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