Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says that Israel will always have a friend in the United States, despite current tensions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama.
Speaking to journalists in Jerusalem, Huckabee backed Netanyahu’s decision to address a joint-session of Congress to discuss a nuclear Iran. He compared Iran to a “snake” which should not be trusted and therefore “killed.”
“When you’re dealing with snakes, you’re dealing with an entity with which you cannot reason,” Huckabee said. “You can’t pet the snake, you can’t feed it, you don’t try to make friends with it, you don’t invite it into your home — you kill the snake, because the snake will bite you if it has the chance. And the only way to prevent the snake from biting you is to keep your distance or kill the snake before it has a chance to get close enough to bite you.”
Negotiating with Iran “is like trusting the snake. You can try to calm and reason with the snake but the snake is going to bite when it can. It’s absurd for us to consider that the Iranians are going to be anything other than what they are.”
Huckabee added that out all of the world’s leaders, Netanyahu is “uniquely qualified” to warn the world of the risks and threats posed by the Islamic Republic should they acquire a nuclear weapon.
“Americans need to know what those dangers are with Iran and that the Iranian threat is not unique to Israel, that it does, in fact, involve the United States and the rest of the world,” he said.
While lack of bipartisan support for Netanyahu’s speech has erupted into a bit of controversy in Washington and Jerusalem, Huckabee expressed his belief that “there is still strong support for Israel in Congress.”
“Now there’s not strong support for John Boehner among the Democrats, so you have to understand what’s going on beneath the surface,” Huckabee continued. “This is not a snub to the prime minister. This is the internal politics between Democrats and Republicans.”
Many Democratic lawmakers have already announced they will boycott the prime ministers speech out of “political courtesy and or necessity” to Obama. However, “that does not indicate in any way that they’re not strong Democratic supporters of Israel. Because they are.”
When asked what he would do if he were in Obama’s place, Huckabee responded that he would “make lemonade out of a lemon” and welcome the prime minister to the White House, regardless of any diplomatic or political irregularities.
“Then when you get behind closed doors you beat the daylights out of him, that’s fine. But you don’t disagree with your friends on the front pages of the papers,” Huckabee said. “There is a time and place to disagree. You don’t yell at your wife in front of the neighbors.”
Huckabee criticized Obama for putting his image before pressing issues that can affect the security of the entire world. “When there are imminent issues in the world — and there are — it seems that the issues take precedence over the personalities involved,” he said.
Huckabee attributed great importance to Netanyahu’s address to Congress, saying that the prime minister may hold the key to the direction nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 may take.
“Of course the speech matters,” he said. “Did FDR’s speech after Pearl Habor matter? You bet it did. Did Churchill’s speech to the Brits matter, when he gave them courage? You bet it mattered. Did Ronald Reagan’s speech, when he said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,’ matter? You bet it did.”