Not only did the bruising battle with US President Barack Obama over the Iran nuclear deal not harm Israel’s ties with the US, but it in fact served Israel’s interests as even supporters of the deal now understand the need to combat Iranian regional aggression and strengthen Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
Netanyahu said that this was made clear during a phone conversation he held Wednesday night with US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as in recent comments made by Obama.
Netanyahu’s remarks came as he was inaugurating a new train line from Ashkelon to Beersheba.
It is clear that there was no deterioration in ties with the US as a result of the high-profile disagreement, Netanyahu said, adding that “there cannot be a deterioration” in those ties.
Netanyahu recommended to his critics who have slammed him for harming Israel-US ties to show a little “humility.”
“I think I know how to navigate Israel relations, how to defend our state, and we are defending it, both against outside challenges and on the borders,” he said.
“I have heard all kinds of experts and pundits explain for months that the struggle we have led against the Iranian deal can cause a break, collapse in relations with the US,” he said. “I never understood why the sovereign state of Israel, which represents the Jewish people, cannot lead a campaign against a nuclear deal with a country that declares its intention to destroy us.”
“It is my obligation to point out the dangers, he said. “Not only does this not harm Israel, it serves Israel’s interests.”
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Kerry on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month, and meet Obama in Washington on Nov. 9.