“It bothers me that an ally that close and important to us would do that to us,” Tillerson reportedly said about Israel.
By World Israel News Staff
Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says “it’s always useful to carry a healthy amount of skepticism” when talking to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking on Tuesday at Harvard University, Tillerson charged that despite the close relationship with Israel, Washington had to be wary of its close ally because of a tendency on Israel’s part to share “misinformation” to persuade the U.S. of something if necessary, reports The Harvard Gazette.
Tillerson, who served as secretary of state under President Donald Trump from February 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, was paying a daylong visit to the university organized by the American Secretaries of State Project, says the Gazette.
His visit this week to Harvard included a “private talk about his time as the nation’s top diplomat,” according to the university publication.
“It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us,” Tillerson reportedly told the gathering about Israel, referring to his accusation of Israeli misinformation.
“They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, 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,’” said Tillerson.
The former secretary is also said to have expressed frustration with Trump, saying that instead of relying more heavily on his secretary of state, the president solicited foreign policy advice from outsiders and handed over responsibility for such a key issue as an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord to his 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…but with enough encouragement, pressure from the Arab world, that we could get it close enough that the Palestinians would finally agree,” said Tillerson on Tuesday, according to the Harvard Gazette.
“In my view, it was a two-state solution,” he added, though the Trump administration has not been consistent and clear on whether it envisions the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of the solution.
Asked what he would be recommending now regarding a U.S. response to last Saturday’s bombings on Saudi oil facilities, Tillerson said he would urge waiting until forensics can provide the best available information about who is responsible before taking any action, though he acknowledged that it “may be very hard to do.”
Trump responded to the attacks by saying they had Iran “written all over it.”
Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the bombings “an act of war” but did not say what military response might follow.
“I have no doubt we’re going to find Iran’s fingerprints on this attack, but we may not find their hands on it,” Tillerson said, according to the Harvard publication.
Tillerson said the U.S. should take its case to the U.N. Security Council and build a global coalition for additional sanctions, said the Gazette, rather than trying to implement unilateral sanctions, which he argued Iran could manage.