Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to criticize President Barack Obama's relationship with Israel, saying in an interview Sunday that all U.S. president has been "great friends" of the Jewish state.
"The president of the United States -- including President Obama -- every one of the U.S. presidents represents and acts on the tremendous innate friendship of the American people and Israel," Netanyahu said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Host David Gregory pressed Netanyahu on a 2002 statement when he declared Israel had "no better friend" in the White House than former President George W. Bush, and asked him to compare whether Obama measured up.
"They keep moving and adding new people," Netanyahu joked. "The leaders keep changing."
Describing the recent "frosty relationship" between the two countries, Gregory pointed out that Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accused Obama of throwing Israel "under the bus" and that fellow GOP candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Obama's Middle East policy "naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous" last week.
“David,” Netanyahu replied. "You’re trying to throw me under the bus of America politics. Well, guess what. I’m not going to be thrown."
"I think the important thing to understand is this and this is the truth about America," he said. "Israel enjoys tremendous bipartisan support, tremendous.
"Everywhere you go you see this tremendous sympathy and affinity for Israel," he said. Similarly, he added, Israel is a country where "everyone is pro-America."
Pressed again on whether he viewed Obama as just as much of an ally as Bush was, Netanyahu repeated: "They're all friends of Israel, equally representing the friendship of America."
Asked about the Palestinians' recent bid for United Nations statehood recognition, Netanyahu said he believes they're "trying to get away without negotiating."
“They’re trying to basically detour around peace negotiations by going to the United Nations and having the automatic majority in the United Nations General Assembly give them a state.”
Netanyahu said he would meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas anytime, but would not leave the disputed territories in the West Bank without a negotiated deal offering Israel guarantees for its security.
Netanyahu's comments came hours after Abbas declared Sunday upon his return from the United Nations that the "Palestinian Spring" is coming.
Watch the clip below, via NBC: