An interview with Shimon Peres....
Some wisdom from the President of Israel...
Some worry Israel is entering another period of international isolation. Turkish relations are on the rocks. The U.N. is pushing for an international inquiry into the May 31 flotilla raid. We've seen cultural boycotts. At the same time, some Western allies are angry over Israel's alleged misuse of passports in its spy operations. Is Israel losing its friends internationally?
The fact that [outsiders] are pressing us doesn't mean that they're right. There is an attempt to delegitimize Israel. It's quite easy. The Arab bloc has a built-in majority in the United Nations. We never stand the slightest chance.
But I ask myself the following question: If they are delegitimizing Israel, who are they legitimizing? They legitimize Hezbollah and Hamas and Al Qaeda too. They don't mean to. But if you delegitimize the fight against terror, which is very complicated, the consequences are that terror is being legitimized.
Isn't that an oversimplification? Is criticizing Israel's policies and practices the same as delegitimizing Israel?
Criticism is one thing. But when you say, "Go back to Poland. Go back to Germany," [as American journalist Helen Thomas recently said in a widely condemned remark] that's not criticizing. Or when they say Israel doesn't have the right to exist, that's not criticizing.
That was one woman's outburst. That's not the kind of thing people mean when they talk about Israel's isolation.
What would they like us to do? We agreed to a two-state solution. We agreed to ease the situation in the West Bank. We are easing the situation in Gaza. And there are still acts of terror. Countries that have to fight terror understand what we are doing. Countries that read about it don't understand. It's very hard for a person in Switzerland to understand. But the United States, they understand. We have a biography that no one else has. In 62 years, we've been attacked seven times in an attempt to [destroy] us.
On the isolation of Israel, I don't think it's true. There have never been better relations with the Vatican and Israel. Take India, we have excellent relations because they suffer the same thing we do.