Steven - Can you tell me more about how you identify with Netanyahu?
Newt - Yeah, Bibi is a very tough guy, and he’s a guy who really puts Israel’s security first. He also happens to be a very free market guy, and somebody who helped create the entrepreneurial boom that has made Israel so successful. And I think he’s always been willing to cut through the red tape, but he’s never for a minute wavered in his commitment to Israeli security. I think we need an American President who starts by focusing on American security, recognizes Israel is an ally, it’s an important country. We are natural friends and allies, but let’s start with what is in America’s interest and let’s do it. I wear a pin.
This is actually the command flag of General Washington at Valley Forge And it is a reminder that we created the American presidency out of our experience of fighting the Revolutionary War. Washington was the commander in chief for 8 years. He only spent 1 week of that 8 years at Mount Vernon. We need a commander in chief who gets up every morning and understands protecting America, defeating America’s enemies is a very key part of their assignment.
Steven - So going with the Valley Forge theme, the “Arab Spring” versus the long winter of Valley Forge.
Newt - Yeah, look I think we’re much more likely to see an Arab winter, than we are to see an Arab Spring. The fact is that when people point out that of the 1,200,000 Christians who were in Iraq when we arrived, 700,000 have fled the country. That doesn’t strike me as a success. When you know that Coptic Christians who have been in Egypt for 2,100 years are now being persecuted and having their churches burned, that doesn’t strike me as a success. I think the Israeli Defense Minister said the other day that he’s very concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood’s success in this recent election.
Remember, I think 15% of the seats went to people who are more extreme than the Muslim Brotherhood.
Steven - Right
Newt - So, I think there’s a lot to be concerned about, and whether or not the Arab world is going to evolve now in a very negative, probably very destructive, way.
Steven - On that note, there was a quote that came from a recent release from you, criticizing the Obama administration’s policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. One of the quotes you had was that “Palestinian leadership continues to stonewall the peace process.” And you didn’t say the same of Israel. So do you think there’ s…
Newt - No, I mean look, you have Abbas who says in the United Nations, “We do not necessarily concede Israel’s right to exist.” You’ve had four PLA ambassadors around the world say flatly, “Israel does not have a right to exist.” In late November in India, the PLA ambassador said “Anybody who thinks there is a big gap between Hamas and Fatah is kidding themselves.” You know, and so you have to start with this question “Who are you making peace with?”
Steven - And at the same time the Obama administration has spoken very often about even-handedness.