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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Robert Gates: The man who would ban Netanyahu from the White House

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been vocal that he has no love lost for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but his upcoming book reveals that he once tried to ban the Israeli from the White House, Bloomberg reported Monday.

“I was offended by his glibness and his criticism of U.S. policy – not to mention his arrogance and outlandish ambition – and I told national security adviser Brent Scowcroft that Bibi ought not be allowed back on White House grounds,” Gates is quoted as writing in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”

Gates tussled with the Likud party leadership in 2011, when he reportedly described the prime minister as an “ungrateful” ally and a “danger to Israel” in a closed meeting with top U.S officials in early July. Likud fired back that most Israelis "support Netanyahu’s positions, Likud officials said in response to the report, adding that the Israeli prime minister enjoyed “broad support” in the United States.

Gates emphasized his support for Israel in his new book, noting how seeing "the Stars and Stripes and the Star of David flying together" always moved him, according to Bloomberg.

The former Secretary of Defense accuses Netanyahu of being ungrateful for the work that the Barack Obama administration did for Israel, making him furious during a conversation that had regarding U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg reports.

“What about a counterbalancing investment in our military? How do we compensate on the Israeli side?” Gates quotes Netanyahu as saying. “Exasperated, I shot back that no U.S. administration had done more, in concrete ways, for Israel’s strategic defense than Obama’s.”

Gates also expresses his concern "as a very strong friend and supporter of Israel" about the impact of the policies of the Netanyahu government, which he argues has not adequately managed the security situation and demographic reality.

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