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tv   Fmr. Israeli Diplomat Discusses Countrys Challenges in Middle East  CSPAN  October 14, 2021 4:02pm-5:01pm EDT

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>> download c-span's new mobile app instep to date with historical events with live stream of the house and senate and congressional hearings to white house events and supreme court oral arguments even our live interactive program "washington journal" where we hear your voices every day c-span now has you covered download the app for free today. >> former israeli diplomat discusses the challenges in the middle east he touched on iran, iron dome funding in the u.s. withdraw from afghanistan. this event from the hudson institute runs about an hour. >> i am john walters president of hudson institute, i'm very happy today to welcome you with the ambassador formally
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counseled governor of the foreign service and mike tehran who most of you know from his work on the middle east his past service to the state department, defense department and the national security council let me introduce ambassador and then alternate over to mike to leave this discussion. ambassador following his service in the israeli defense forces study political science and the university of jerusalem and participated in the special semester with outstanding students in georgetown university here in washington. where he alsoer worked to kephat of missouri, that is where they met. in 2003 he received the rank of ambassador by benjamin netanyahu, then foreign minister careerbegan the youngest
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diplomat with the rank in the foreign ministry. three years later he was assigned to be ambassador of israel to australia and nonresident ambassador to fiji. period 2014 ambassador rotem was senior deputy director. in october 2016 he was appointed by prime minister benjamin netanyahu as it was really foreign ministry acting director general where he became permanent later that year. he served in that position in 2020 when he returned to privatt life. pleasure for me too introduce my friend ambassador rotem. >> thank you. >> ambassador rotem welcome. >> leak is much for having>> me.
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>> great to have you here. >> let's start by getting your general impression of what the feeling is in israel and also perhaps other allies of the united states in the middle east and elsewhere in the wake of the u.s. withdraw from afghanistan. there is a debate about whether america's credibility has beene fiercely harmed among the allies and i would like to get your unvarnished impression. >> in the last few days talking very openly.
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>> we have a bit of a concern of the degree of commitment and engagement of the united states and the middle east they are giving some oxygen and some of those people with a resistance may bring america in some areas in the middle east and as least as far as you know america is a vital component for bringing stability into the region this is very vilified and hostile neighborhood and maybe one of the toughest on the planet and will not be some degree from
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some pieces somebody else might either. it's no question of having a voice for presence of someone or to manage all those difficulties that you see in the region of the middle east. i think the withdraw from afghanistan, this is not my job but the perfection of partners, friends and allies the questioning to what extent he still committed in the security and stability into some extent
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with all the forces are opposing american presence there not a friend of america whether that's going tori be provided through their oxygen to keep on their presence, resistance and the credibility. the major issue for all of us to see is what's gonna take iraq and syria, it is no secret that iran has a state of division to have america put out and all of the neighboring countries in this region are watching very carefully to what extent america is going to remain committed to this and it is something you all need to understand, to run away
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from this information is an option were to stay away from this is an option towards other places but you have a very legendary with new york state here's to say if you don't visit the middle east the middle east will visit you and that means is difficult to be away from the middle east because there are so many issues that are revolved in related to the middle east issues. >> he gave me a good opening to move the discussion tehran but before we do that let me just ask you i know you've been out of government service for some time but i'm sure you t talk to people that are in it and to the extent that you feel comfortable
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could you tell us where you think the debate among israelis at thehe highest level about the relationship with the united states given this kind of? that is over our commitment. our israel lease thinking about heading toward other actors or are they thinking about strategies of american support what is the discussion mike in the halls of congress. >> i don't see that with the debate, from both sides of the aisle in israel you have many sides of the aisle, i have not seen anyone with power or understanding that tries to advocate. for us america is the peon and for all of those around us this
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is the main issue they are now going to see daylight when israel and afghanistan might be a season to undermine israel. but i don't think there is any debate in israel whether we are going to always look up to america, always going to be aassociated with america becaue america is something beyond such a country something of an idea that america presents for many countries in this club of nation and that's the reason why we all as the state and the well-being of america and domestically to see these elements that you get to see, this is not something that we feel comfortable about
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it is your debate in your society but remember we all have a decision that was done many, many years ago we are part of this nation that is led by america and i don't see this in the near future any change of this concept of debate. >> what about a debate about managing the relations of the americans. former is is really ambassador the united states and distinguished historian he wrote an article out of a magazine and i am sure you saw it. responding to the funding for the iron dome decision not to include it in the funding bill
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on b capitol hill, that decision by the democrats was prompted by the objections of the progressive wing, the hard left of the party. and responding to that he suggested it'st, time to rethink the basic structure of the israeli and american alliance. do you think ambassador oren is respecting a widespread opinion in the israeli elite? >> as somebody who has served in our country for so long i didn't detect any kind of sentiment like he indicated. i think america's support to israel is more than just symbolism it's a call upon stability to the region.
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this is my strong belief this is the reason is almost unrelated to a president but it's important to know that we have israel for a role to play realizing the changing beyond demography and beyond different segments of the society and we have to do more to explain the israel narrative and realizing the difficulties that you we will see in the middle east and the majority of americans strongly believe in that. but unlike ten or 15 or 25 years ago when we talked about one arab's israel conflict and that if we just fix one problem in
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the middle east, this will prevent, 40 years after the revolution in ten years after the arab spring, it's far more conflicted in the middle east. when the who engine who sees into saudi arabia to kill as many as possible saudis on the ground this is nothing to do with the israel palestinian country. when libya gets disintegrated because it has nothing to do with the israel control over the west bank. i think these are far more complex that we need to explain over the american society that are not there whether churches, trade unions, students, although
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the elements that are very relevant for this composition in the bible realizing you have a lot of newcomers into your country that don't necessarily have the recollection on the past system. we have to doo also a job with respect to using all the good that w we have just to bring the israeli narrative and more of a way to convince people that we are not as bad as people try to betray us. >> let's move to the iranian question, let me start by asking you the attitudes of the israeli elites. a few years ago i was teaching pre-pandemic, i was teaching a group of israeli students, when
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i say students their late 20s early 30s. some of whom had worked in government. and i went around the table and i asked them what is the number one strategic threat that israel faces. i personally believe it is iran and i believe that should be the focus of the united states, iran. i was surprised the difference in opinion around the table. you know the old joke you have two jews and three political parties, there was just about as many concepts around the table as they were people. those who said iran, iran, iran are in a distinct minority. a lot said more than i expected of the palestinian question another said the division of israeli and society. i have two impressions and i
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want to test them, i would be curious to know your reaction. what impression at the time the israeli security at the time was totally focuseded on iran and i would not of had that kind of disagreement around the table if i had been talking to the top levels of the israelis. my other question perhaps attitude in society has moved along in the direction of the elites, do i have that right? the top members of the israeli cabinet around the table and they were all telling the truth, what they all say iran, iran, iran or would there be a strong disagreement from everyone? >> i think it's a pretty controversial issue. the majority of the issue from all sides. i'm going to show.
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[inaudible] i don't think there's any debate. that's the reason why to some extent, we are not the only ones who think that way in the middle east. many more other countries stronglyes believe that this is the element that needs to be addressed in a very significant way. i think also what you have seen internationally and in the region is there is a new realignment of enforcement with strictly to the middle east. come back to your question, i think iran, this is why you don't have to be difficulties sometimes even to form unusual government. because the palestinians is splitting us very significantly
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two different segments in different tribes in different schools. iran is actually bringing as united, and this issue needs to be addressed. all the while the strategically iran is a threat and when you have members stay openly of foreign enemies of the vision of israel and you see nevertheless other countries keep relating to them, you realize you're under suspicion that most of the countries just don't get it. i always used to say to my
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friends on the american side, when president trump has his own issue with respect iran, it was interesting toas see what they oppose. but the majority of the country in the middle east and is part of the city of president trump.p the person holding us to washington and london and cairo or jerusalem. >> this description of this reality you're describing is now placing the allies in the united states and the middle east including israelis and the saudi's in an uncomfortable position because abiding administration is engaging in
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iran looking for a deal and iran and expecting that its allies are going to facilitate its efforts to find an agreement with iran. we see in saudi arabia he's giving an interview where he says i want to dialogue with iran, i want to successful iran, someone clearly part of the washington management strategy and then we see in israel the former prime minister benjamin netanyahu accuse the current government of having engaged with the americans in a nong surprise policy. whereby there they will not take any hostile steps towards iran without getting the approval or informing the americans. but then the government is denying that it has such an
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agreement that clearly is under pressure from the americans, not to carry out the acts of iranians in tehran to be careful about the activities the military actions against iranians in iraq syria and elsewhere. i want to get your impression of how you expect the better government to handle this pressure. it is likely to grow i can imagine the biden administration which i understand it to be supportive of israeli to sabotage iran with this program. >> i don't think the question is about america or israel america has a very strong view and everyone was in the bill of 2015 got an upgrade into motion into this administration there is no
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doubt that they have tried to validate to some extent of philosophies and this is strong beliefs but this is the way to prevent iran against nuclear. israel has a different approacha the story is not about them it is about america, it's about iran, this is the story that needs to be followed because the moment to select a very hard lineup as the president. you don't have almost anyone there but it can be described,
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the distinction between more radical with the regime. so now they have been on the sidelines and we have a new president he is a very strong view and i don't see them rushing to help with. the iranians don't want to change in the agreement of 2015. so how this is going to be reached by the american people is something that you and i will have to wait. but i want to remind you and i always want to use some credibility in the american public i. in 2016 when the bill was done
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don freedman in the new york times wrote an article and said if you ever going to have a real estate issue, you are never going to invite john kerry to do the negotiation. [inaudible] when you project assents to the other side but you're almost willing to do so many things just to have a deal with that side and the other side is not willing to knock on your door, i found that the sequence shouldd be different iran is going to knock on the door, we shall have at least a judgment back evening
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government in the moment of truth they will have to spell out their concern if and when is going to be done. [inaudible] >> it is true they won't be stopped by words i think the question i'm driving at here, i am asking you to be an analyst of israel and let's assume the engagementistration of iran is going to continue robin joe biden himself are not going to have a sudden conversion and decide they need to go to donald trump's maximum pressure program.
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that puts israel on a difficult position the iranian nuclear program is moving forward in it might not get to a point where there are nuclear weapons being tested or put on airplanes. >> if they are going to move the distance we will be very much different paradigm america will have to address completely different relevant issues not anymore negotiating that will be introducing a mega change into the region you know, if iran is going to move into this direction they are anachronistic
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only country in the region looking to have this weapon. it would be a more suited country because they will never elect a shiite country to have this kind c of weapon my opinion you will see a race and it will change completely is that something they would like to know the negotiation it is supposed to have a plan b if iran continues to move forward for the nuclear weapon not just america, many more countries in the region, turkey, egypt or other powers in the region russia, china this will be a new
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era in the region if iran is going to continue inching in this direction. i'm not saying something new this is not any headline but in a way our approach of this government and the states is not to have an open confrontation with the administration all see what we unfold in this negotiation. since all of us are seeking in washington and you see some elements with the dialogue between saudi arabia and iran you see the conflict in baghdad
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in august when so many players were beaten there again not america but other players. the picture is unclear is unclear what is going to unfold but one thing in iran today is a very strong view in their moving forward in their exploiting to move forward in their direction and no one at the stage even the way they're behaving, all of the elements are part of iran, also even a veryse loud way if you don't give iran the red light
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they see an insinuation of a green light only a red light to iran, at this moment is credible for some of this activity you need a will of power in europe or america let's move on past iran and talk a little bit about china get something as a former great ambassador to australia i know that something that you know well, i would like to cover your general perception of the
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u.s. china constitution but then specifically how you see israel within the competition we can start whatever you're more comfortable let's start with the big picture as you look at this now in the wake of the afghan withdrawal how do you assess this competition what are your concerns, who's winning who's losing and what the nature of g ithe fight. >> i don't think it's a fight but a competition yes, china is not my area of expertise i have seen and read a lot about china because i think it's a most fascinating story at least in the next few years and i think president trump and president
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biden think it's something that needs to be addressed and they may have a different viewer language but i think we all understand china cannot be known by superpowers or small countries and from israel's perspective it's important to our friends in china that when it comes to security and stability we will always be in the camp of america. it does not mean we camisole relationship with china the more that you say it loudly the leasing of the situation of the
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reality what you seen the last few years, i think it is part in 2008, 2009 the traditional chinese view. >> hydropower, buyer time. >> from the perspective of the way that we analyze it that china came down to a point of view. it is time for them to express a different policy remember the time we had the financial crisis
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of 2008 and obama was elected i think both elements to happen around the same time brought them to an idea that they need to move themselves and basically expose themselves but in 2021 to enact countries already identify china as an issue to address see can see other countries pushing back even the european union decided not to ratify in other countries rushing to agree upon your to get some dots in some
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places but realizing when it comes to china has to be done with care and in such a way that many other countries and what you see with australia some degree of debate for the decision of the last few days is necessarily a statement or expression for their own security other countries trying to uphold these decision-making but america would have to engage more and after a very civil question in what way we can
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cooperate. [inaudible] i think when it comes israel i don't think you see a major debate of where were standing restated with america. it does not meann' we don't have enough food or engaging china and many other issues i myself engagingng china but at the endf the day when america has its own elements with israel with respect to a well-known debate between american israel we have to say three things about this for example when america has a reservation about israel you
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have to ask how many ports in america are managed by chinese, that's question number one, question two,. [inaudible] we would like american companies to come and compete which means doing an projection enterprise and using as a power to increase their own ability and to engage, when america is addressing these kind of issues in a meeting with his own country you do have some issues it's very relevant coming from a degree of corporation the way you express with the story of united kingdom and extra
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audio that will be now provided in the next two years. >> let's imagine you are sitting in prime minister's shoes and you're looking at jerusalem eastward, doo you think the israel regards india as a more strategic relationship at this point then china, how is understanding his relationship with india against the background of the rising china? >> i think india is key, the more we empower countries like
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india i think we created a balance. one thing i've always tried to engage is to look at those countries to some extent are missing opportunities to be relevant in the well-being of this combination led by america in countries like morocco and jerusalem with islamism in the expression of the regime of the government who is the issue, let's talk about indonesia almost 300 million people in about 5 - 6 years in australia. being a medium-size in the
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region who is going to coach them what it means to be a medium-size power they don't have the experience yet is going to be america or is it going to be questioned to do this job we need to be proactive to engage this country that could be very irrelevant five or ten years from now to provide by far more to him your best asset in america is that you're always
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confer cooperation and consultation and cooperation and consultation i think that is an opportunity to not just be on india but traveling to singapore and what about tyler and the philippines are 100 million people we need to be more and
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more active in this respect that will give us one of the two richest countries that will be india we are more than power india to take more and more responsibility both in the pacific for example in the island like fiji when you have so many ex-indian guys living in the island all of this needs to be done and orchestrated way you cannot expect japan or australia to extend support for an aid to a country, has to be coordinated and orchestrated this is exactly to keep all these resources to different entities and create a
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new stability in a different way of the americans to the region you don't have to be boots on the ground you can use it in more sophisticated ways with all the allies in the region. but they need to know. >> given the israeli experience if you are going to vice president biden, let's imagine president biden calls you and says what do you advise using the door india and indonesia, after the door is open what is it that the united states should
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do specifically that is not doing now you gave an example with israel the chinese come knocking and they have an offer but there's no counter offer from the americans there there to say we don't like that but they have a ready-made answer on the other hand, i heard the same thing about huawei huawei offers a one stop shop for 5g in the americans don't have a clear package that they can offer that competes from your sense of it where are the key areas that the u.s. has to have prepared packages after the door is open. >> american is to create more coalition of tomorrow because the world is about the technologies of tomorrow and the gentleman or the player is going
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to run this business or the planet america is not just a country america is an idea in so many countries look up to if we understand her will is coming from technology let's work on technology, robotics, semiconductors, the g6 and create unique coalition for each of these technologies in each of the five elements that will provide support and resources in guarantee for the security of the future is going to be our
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past countries. using technology as a sub power
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is debate and it build up trust with friends and partners. >> give a model of the program that you have seen in a good start along these lines and should be expanded on? >> let's start with a.i. artificial intelligence, but start bringing all those countries, is not just as all those countries even in the middle east we need to give hope to all the young people all over the world why not in africa if for example in america and south asia, one technology, my senses,
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don't use them as the new sub power of the world. you mentioned technology control and invention, this is the key for the future is a weakness that we have from the fact that we tend to think of her business from the government unlike the chinese who is using their major corporations of instruments, that is not completely unknown but default setting. >> our technology should not be part of business is to be part of the pentagon budget and the national security because if you
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have a controlling command on the future of artificial g intelligence then you are going to lose, we will all lose because someone else will have a.i. i think we all need to reconsider our approach with diplomacy, self power because this is basically the new era so we have a new thinking. what should be the way forward to all the allies. >> you think one of the superpowers is a global leader in a.i. you think there is room for an israeli and is
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initiative. the united states is going to be distracted by its own internal division and polarization units would be distracted for some time to come and is going to be sending a message to the world and its purpose and place in the world is there room for israel to step up and take some initiative. >> i think there is room, there is room for that and ideas that are floating around with congress but remember he walked into the administration, you need someone that is going to see that as the main story in
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the main objective and with this discussion it is not just of the american israel, i suggest to you, let's do three, four, five ways and more countries and congregate them with a good project that it used to be and now made by countries because other guys do that just in a different way. i think you were not going to do it it's not going to be done. there's a competition that was a question there is a competition.
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>> if i some up an area that you said i think there is a theme running through it and the theme is united states is the indefensible power. >> i have no doubt that that is the case but we have to be very mindful if america is going through some difficulty in some area and everyone else responds with a block of nation and lookups to america and have more for the well-being of america. because alternative is unknown. so if you want to keep some order, stability, everyone of us big and small has a stake and as a way to continue with these
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efforts. >> on that note, i think it's a hopeful note, let me thank you very much for the very stimulating conversation and i hope people are listening. >> thank you very much for inviting me in my ability to express my views from your platform. >> think you, we will see you soon. >> thank you john. >> thank you. >> the potential impact of a cashless economy on disadvantaged communities and how a subcommittee held this hearing earlier watch it at 8:0n online at c-span.org or on a new video app c-span now. >> weekends on c-span2 bringing
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about tens of billions of dollars going into opportunity zones but unfortunately i think the bulk of the money that didn't really need the money they were already improving or went to projects that probably would have been built otherwise. >> david wessel only the rich can play sunday night at eight eastern on q&a you can listen to q&a and all of our podcast honor c-span now app. ♪ >> download c-span's new mobile app and stay up-to-date with live video coverage of the days biggest events from lifestream to the house and senate floor in key congressional hearings, "y" events in supreme court oral arguments even our live interactive warning program "washington journal" where we hear your voices every day, c-span now has you covered, download the app for free today. ♪
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>> the senate is in recess this week but the chamber is holding sessions. we'll take it to the senate floor for one of those. no legislative business expected. you are watching live coverage on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the payment will read a communication to the senate. the parliamentarian: washington, d.c., october 14, 2021. to the senate: un

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