Former prime minister Ehud Olmert crossed a red line when he derided his
successor, Binyamin Netanyahu, in a speech to students at Dartmouth University
in New Hampshire last Tuesday, Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom said
He told Israel Radio that Olmert should honor the tradition
that politicians do not criticize their leaders when abroad. Olmert has broken
that tradition at the last two annual conferences of The Jerusalem Post in New
“He did something that is not done,” Shalom said.
a comfortable consensus on Iran in Israel.”
Former chairman of the
Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip Dani Dayan
said “Olmert’s custom of attacking Netanyahu from the United States is
In a video of the speech published on the blog of Haaretz
diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid, Olmert said Netanyahu’s “rhetoric of
confrontation and war” was “not smart,” and that the current government erred in
“ignoring the signs from the president of Iran, who talks of peace with the
“If [Iran] is serious, why not end this conflict with an agreement
rather than with the use of force?” Olmert said.
“We may come at the end
of the day to the conclusion that nothing else will help. But until then
we owe it to ourselves and to the stability of the world to check how serious
the Iranians are and whether they are prepared to change their strategies and
policies and refrain from obtaining a nuclear capacity that we will not
tolerate, the West will not tolerate and America will not
Olmert said he wholeheartedly supported Obama’s efforts to
test Iran’s seriousness in reaching a resolution regarding its nuclear
The former premier addressed the ongoing diplomatic row between
Washington and Jerusalem, seeming to mock the Netanyahu government’s response to
American intentions to strike an interim agreement with Tehran.
that the secretary of state of the United States, John Kerry dared to disagree
with the prime minister of Israel,” Olmert said. “Poor guy. I hope he’ll be all
As an aside when describing his good relations with former
president George W.
Bush’s administration, Olmert said: “It’s not too bad
to be friends with the president of the United States if you can. You don’t have
to look for a reason to alienate him, provoke him or insult him. I give this as
general advice to anyone who wants to be president of a country that is not
Even though Olmert said repeatedly that Israel needed to make
peace immediately, he was briefly heckled by a very small group of anti-Israel
activists who were laughed at by the crowd. A member of the crowd said afterward
that the protesters were not taken seriously and that their catcalls resulted in
greater sympathy for Olmert and support for Israel.