Ex-US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Claims Netanyahu Often Deceived, ‘Played’ Trump
Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a panel at Harvard University this week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often misled President Donald Trump, and the president would have to be informed afterward that he had “been played.”
The Harvard Gazette reported that at a panel discussion organized by the American Secretaries of State Project, Tillerson said, “In dealing with Bibi, it’s always useful to carry a healthy amount of skepticism in your discussions with him.”
The Israeli leader, he said, would make use of “misinformation” to persuade Trump.
“They did that with the president on a couple of occasions,” Tillerson stated, “to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys.’ We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.’”
“It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us,” the former secretary said.
Tillerson said that he had high hopes for a possible Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement when he took office, but often found himself sidelined by advisers close to Trump, such as the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
“I did believe that we were at a moment in time where perhaps we could chart a way where the Arab world could support an outcome that the Palestinians might not think was perfect — and in the past, if it wasn’t perfect, it didn’t happen — but with enough encouragement, pressure from the Arab world, that we could get it close enough that the Palestinians would finally agree,” Tillerson stated.
“And in my view,” he added, “it was a two-state solution.”
On Twitter on Thursday, in a response to the report, Netanyahu took a swipe at Tillerson, saying, “Secretary Tillerson, Israel *is* the good guy.”
Secretary Tillerson, Israel *is* the good guy. pic.twitter.com/rgaVgQgWi9
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) September 19, 2019