Netanyahu condemns riots, but remains effusive about Trump

“I have no doubt that American democracy will prevail,” prime minister says, warning that rejoining Iran deal will bring Middle East nuclear arms race.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in May. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in May.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
The riots in which participants stormed the Capitol building are the opposite of American and Israeli values, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, the morning after the violent events in Washington, at the opening of a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Yet Netanyahu continued to praise US President Donald Trump, who backed the rioters’ clause with repeated claims that the November election that he lost had been “stolen.” In December, the US attorney-general at the time William Barr, who had been appointed by Trump, said there was no evidence of widespread election fraud.
Netanyahu condemned the storming of the Capitol, saying it “was shameful and must be vigorously condemned.”
“For generations American democracy has inspired millions around the world and in Israel. American democracy has always inspired me,” the prime minister said. “Lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish.”
“I have no doubt that American democracy will prevail - it always has,” the prime minister added.
Mnuchin similarly came out against the riots: “The violence that occurred last night at the Capitol in Washington DC is completely unacceptable…and must stop.
“Our democratic institutions have been strong for a very long period of time. Our democracy will prevail and our institutions will remain strong,” he stated.
Netanyahu went on to praise the Trump administration’s policies on Israel.
“You have made a real difference, achieving one breakthrough after another,” he said, referring to the Abraham Accords, in which the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalized ties with Israel, among other policies.
Netanyahu said he has “no doubt more Arab and Muslim countries will join” the accords.
The prime minister thanked Mnuchin for his involvement in US sanctions on Iran, as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign.
Those moves “must be continued to prevent Iran from continuing its campaign of terrorism and to prevent Iran from rushing to a nuclear weapon,” he said.
If the US returns to the Iran deal, Netanyahu warned, “many other countries in the Middle East may rush to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. That is a nightmare. That is a folly. It should not happen.”
Mnuchin said the campaign against Iran has saved lives and prevented terrorist activities by cutting off their funding.
“It is imperative that any future negotiations with Iran, on both nuclear [weapons] as well as ballistic missiles, need to be done in conjunction and in consultation with Israel and its Arab neighbors,” he added.
On top of Netanyahu, numerous political leaders in Israel and around the world condemned the riots that burst into the Capitol building.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that "the photos from Washington hurt the heart of anyone who believes in democracy.
"I didn’t believe it when I saw such photos from the strongest democracy in the world," he added. "This is proof that before political rivalry, we must agree on the rules of the game: preserving the rule of law, respecting democratic processes and a respectful discourse."
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said he was "shocked" by the rioting at "the fortress of world democracy."
"From its founding, America, our great strong ally, has been a beacon of democracy and values of freedom, justice and independence," Ashkenazi said. "I am sure that the American people and its representatives will know how to repel the attack and continue strongly defending the values on which America was founded, which are important to all of us."
Leaders of America's allies condemned the rioting and storming of the Capitol.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a video posted on Twitter that he was expressing France's "friendship and... faith in the United States. What happened today in Washington, DC, is not American, definitely. We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the scene in Washington "disgraceful."
"The United States stands for democracy around the world, and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power," Johnson tweeted.
Autocratic regimes jumped on the opportunity to criticize the US.
Turkey's official news agency Anadolu said Ankara "invites all parties in the US to use moderation, common sense to overcome this domestic political crisis."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: "What happened in the US showed how weak the Western democracy is. Despite all scientific and industrial achievements, we see the huge influence of populism.
"When a sick person takes office, we see how he disgraces his country and creates troubles for the world," Rouhani added.