Former Secretary of State Shultz Rips Current US Policy, Says Iranian Threats to Destroy Israel Should Be Taken Seriously
Amid implicit scathing criticism of current US foreign policy, former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz on Monday said that Iranian threats against Israel should in no way be underestimated.
Speaking at a gala hosted by the World Jewish Congress in New York, Shultz said of the Iranians, “Every other day they say they want to destroy Israel. I think we should take them at their word; that’s what they want to do.”
When you look at Iran, he added, “You see a country which obviously wants to get a nuclear weapon.”
The elder statesman, who was presented the WJC’s Theodor Herzl Award at the event, said the Middle East is facing “a deeply threatening set of problems,” adding, “Israel I believe is threatened.”
He called for the US to return to a leadership role in the region and to regain “credibility” and “trust” around the world.
“When you make empty threats, your credibility disappears,” he said. “We’ve got to get our credibility back.”
“We’ve got to mean what we say and we’ve got to do things that say to our adversaries that there are consequences — big time consequences — when you cross us and our friends,” he stressed. “In these difficult times, trust is the coin of the realm and we need to rebuild that.”
Shultz also defended Israel against allegations of war crimes in its recent battles against terror groups in neighboring territories.
“The best defense you have against a missile is to hit it when it’s still on the ground, before it gets in the air,” he said. “So what does Hezbollah do? They put the missiles in schools and hospitals and mosques. And then if you hit them, they say ‘war criminal.’ Let’s get one thing clear: the party that puts weapons in civilian locations is the war criminal.”
Shultz, who is 94, was warmly introduced to the podium by another former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, and presented the award by WJC president Ronald Lauder.