In the course of a meeting that he had at his official residence on Tuesday with a Congressional Black Caucus delegation headed by Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio-11), President Shimon Peres was lavish in his praise for both President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“When it comes to defending our land no request that Israel put to President Obama for the maintaining of our security was refused,” Peres emphasized, adding that Israel was lucky in its relations with America which he said is not a pragmatic country. Had it been pragmatic it would not have supported Israel, nor would it be fighting on behalf of other countries, he said.
Describing Kerry’s endeavors to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians as “incredible” Peres said: “It is not a simple proposition. The country is small and history is long.” Crediting the United States with altruistic reasons for being in the Middle East today, Peres said that in the past, the US was in the Middle East because it needed the oil in the Middle East. “Today you don’t. You’re not short of oil or energy. If you come it is for values, not for oil.”
Asked by Fudge where he thinks Israel is going and what he wants to see in years to come, Peres said that he did not think that Israel can go elsewhere but where the whole world is going – and that was in the direction of science.
The new age has nothing to do with territory and borders, he said, but with knowledge and science. Armies which could conquer land, cannot conquer wisdom or science, he said.
Even the concept of democracy has changed, he noted. Under Obama, he said, democracy is not just free expression, but self expression – not just the right to be equal but the right to be different.
Peres then delivered a mini lecture on the human genome to illustrate that everyone is different even when part of the mainstream.
Peres also fielded questions about the peace process, the effects of the Arab Spring and the Iranian issue. Peres was confident that Egypt’s younger generation will bring about dramatic change. He also reiterated with regard to Iran, that Israel has nothing against the Iranian people who he said are paying a heavy price for the decision by their leaders to continue with their nuclear program. Iran is not only building nuclear weapons but is funding and spreading terrorism throughout the world, said Peres.