The U.S. and Israel and the art of relationship maintenance
March 19th, 2013
10:22 AM ET
9 years ago

The U.S. and Israel and the art of relationship maintenance

Jerusalem (CNN) – It is not a word used often in Israel, but the country's President Shimon Peres sounds downright zen when asked about the personal frostiness between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"I think it is more appearance than reality," Peres told CNN in an interview Tuesday morning. "You cannot adopt personal relations to political leadership. You have to face the situation and put aside your own personal feelings."

President Peres has been active in Israeli politics dating back to the John F. Kennedy administration, and so is well versed in the ups and downs of U.S.-Israeli relations.

Asked if he had any advice to help the current American president and Israeli prime minister improve their personal relationship, Peres took a workmanlike approach:

"I think they understand it even if they come from different philosophies, they go to the same goal," Peres said. "When it comes to the goal there are no differences."

"If you want, I can say it in a lighter way," Peres said. "In life there are things that are unachievable unless you close a little bit your eyes, and that is love and peace. With open eyes you see too many problems and too many details. But you must have the vision and the wisdom to understand even in the case of differences – the harmony is the solution not the confrontation."

Filed under: Israel • President Obama
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Funny you should mention "maintenance," because it strikes me that Israel is quite the example of a "high maintenance" girlfriend.

    March 19, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I think the core of the problem was the lack of "maintenance" during Bush years. Every POTUS prior to Bush had to restrain Israel from building settlements in the West Bank. Bush? They did no such thing. They allowed Israel to write its' own settlement policy, setting back the peace process by years, if not decades. I believe Pres. Obama tried to reign them in, to slow the growth, and Netanyahu balked at the idea after enjoying nearly a decade of no US objections.

    March 19, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. a little sad

    "The boy friend must be getting something good in return. You should know better. US does not do it for the love of Israel but for the love of America. Beside lok around the counties around Israel. Would you choose them over Israel. I wouldn't."

    You're sounding like the "boyfriend" is the US. It is not, it is US politicians. Who don't want AIPAC and other Israeli supporters going after them.

    Support of Israel has nothing to do with the benefit to the US, it's about the benefit of elected officials. This is not to claim that the interests are not sometimes completely aligned.

    March 19, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. ladyofthenight

    I happened to love the girl friend and will not change a thing about the behavior of the boy friend. He is smart and know what good for him. The rest of the girls are............ugly, very ugly

    March 19, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "When it comes to the goal there are no differences."
    The goal may be the same, however, Netanyahu's settlement building is not the way to go about achieving that goal.

    March 19, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Yanni

    US doesn't seems have any choice about doing anything. The president is handicapped by his own people

    March 19, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Thinker23

    "Who don't want AIPAC and other Israeli supporters going after them."

    Are you telling us tat the Arabs are SO DUMB that tey're incapable of creating a way more powerful lobby than the AIPAC considering the almost unlimited amount of petrodollars in their disposal? If I were an Arab I would be insulted.

    March 19, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. justaman

    Trying to keep the peace–and avoid all-out war–between Israel and her enemies is best-case, as opposed to the de-stabilization that doing nothing and allowing that all-out war would cause. The United States is just the world's best bet at keeping that semblance of peace. 100% peace? It will never be. They've been fighting since before the young Israeli slew the rather large-sized Philistine, and they will not be at peace when the earth dawns her last day. Therefore, maintaining a semblance of peace is the best-case scenario, and the United States would be most wise to recognize that....and proceed accordingly.

    March 19, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Pam from Iowa

    The US needs to quit catering to Israel......they are but one country of many and their direction is clearly not ours.....

    March 19, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |