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Levin Rips James Baker for Trashing Netanyahu and Israel

By Michael Morris | November 4, 2014 | 3:15pm EST

On Monday, Mark Levin ripped former secretary of State James Baker for brazen statements made about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jewish State on CNN’s State of the Union.

Baker, who worked under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, was none too kind in calling out Netanyahu, recalling that he (Baker) had “barred [Netanyahu] from the State Department.”

“I never liked James Baker, and neither did most of the original Reaganites,” admitted Levin, but he did not stop there. Levin continued:

“James Baker. James Baker, while he served under Ronald Reagan – it’s one of the triumvirate there – was a Bush guy the whole time. Uh, he weaseled his way in, and he became Chief of Staff. Later, he became Secretary of the Treasury. Later, he became Secretary of State.

“He led a little cabal over there at the State Department that was extremely hostile to Israel, if not hateful to Israel. But Reagan was a supporter of Israel, despite James Baker.

“But Baker is bad news, and he proved it on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend, where he went out of his way to trash Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel and pile on with Barack Obama and the rest of them.”

CNN’s Candy Crowley, referring to a senior administration official’s statement that referred to Prime Minister “Bibi” as “a chickens---” asked Baker this question: “What do you make of that relationship (between the Obama Administration and “Bibi”) and its effect on U.S./Israeli relations?”

James Baker had this to say:

“Well, it cannot be a positive with respect to U.S./Israeli relations when you have a situation like that, but I would remind you, Candy, that when we were in power, we worked very diligently with the Israeli government to achieve some things, and this happened in the aftermath of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who at the time then was the deputy foreign minister of Israel, going out and saying, American policy in the Middle East is based on lies and distortion.

Levin then interjected, “Stop. No he didn’t. No he didn’t. Where’s the evidence of that? If he was going out and saying those things, I would have heard of it. I was in the Reagan administration.”

“When did he do that? Where did he do that? You got a transcript? You got an audio? You got anything?” asked Levin.

“James Baker has always been tight with the Arabas. His law firm’s always been tight with the oil companies and the Arabs. So that’s where this is coming from.”

Baker continued:

“And I was sitting there in my office in the state department when I saw that and I said, now wait a minute, we wouldn't take that from the deputy foreign minister of Soviet Union. We're darned sure not going to take it from the deputy foreign minister of a country for whom we do so much, and I barred him from the state department. That may not be widely known, but look, in the aftermath of that, look what we were able to accomplish with the Israeli government.

“Yeah, right,” Levin interjected again.

In the interview with Crawley, Baker finished saying:

“We achieved the Madrid Peace Conference, where we brought all of Israel's Arab neighbors to the peace table for the first time to talk peace with her, which constituted their recognition of Israel's right to exist. We repealed a Zionist, racism resolution and we achieved the immigration of a large number of soviet Jews from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. So these kinds of things can happen...”

But Levin doesn’t buy any of it. “Whatever we accomplished with the Israeli government when Reagan was in office wasn’t you Jim Baker. It was Reagan,” said Levin. “So finally he comes out of the closet. I knew he was there, but he comes out of the closet.”

Levin went on:

“See folks, I don’t … I try to go to substance. We have to have integrity when you do a program like this, but that, that is, that just underscores what I always knew about this guy as far as I’m concerned.

Below is the relevant part of the transcript from Baker’s interview on CNN:

CROWLEY: “I want to ask you, it's a final question, something that has to do with foreign policy, and that is sort of consuming of the news at least foreign policy-wise, has been a remark from an unnamed senior Obama administration official that was quoted in "The Atlantic" by national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, a senior administration official said again, ‘the thing about Bibi,’ talking about the prime minister of Israel, "is he's a chicken," and I can't say the last word basically called Netanyahu a coward, saying he didn't want to start a war so they weren't really worried about that but it's kind of just exactly the sort of thing that's been happening between Netanyahu and President Obama. There's not a lot of love loss there.

“What do you make of that relationship and its effect on U.S./Israeli relations?”

BAKER: “Well, it cannot be a positive with respect to U.S./Israeli relations when you have a situation like that, but I would remind you, Candy, that when we were in power, we worked very diligently with the Israeli government to achieve some things, and this happened in the aftermath of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who at the time then was the deputy foreign minister of Israel, going out and saying, American policy in the Middle East is based on lies and distortion.

“And I was sitting there in my office in the state department when I saw that and I said, now wait a minute, we wouldn't take that from the deputy foreign minister of Soviet Union. We're darned sure not going to take it from the deputy foreign minister of a country for whom we do so much, and I barred him from the state department. That may not be widely known, but look, in the aftermath of that, look what we were able to accomplish with the Israeli government. We achieved the Madrid Peace Conference, where we brought all of Israel's Arab neighbors to the peace table for the first time to talk peace with her, which constituted their recognition of Israel's right to exist. We repealed a Zionist, racism resolution and we achieved the immigration of a large number of soviet Jews from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. So these kinds of things can happen...”

CROWLEY: “Happen.”

BAKER: “...from time to time.”

CROWLEY: “Right.”

BAKER: “There are always tensions in all foreign policy relationships, even with allies, but they can be overcome.”

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