'West Doesn't Realize Iran Threatens Them Too'

Deputy PM Silvan Shalom says West appeasing Iran because leaders don't realize 'we're all in the same boat.'

Ari Soffer ,

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom has warned world powers are eager to appease Iran because they don't understand that Tehran's aggression poses a direct threat not only to its immediate neighbors, but to the West as well.

Speaking Thursday evening at a farewell party in central London for Israel's outgoing Ambassador Daniel Taub, Shalom praised the Ambassador for his "incredible work" facing down a "relentless" torrent of anti-Israel sentiment and criticism in the UK.

At the event, hosted by the Jewish National Fund and Zionist Federation, Shalom recounted a frank conversation he had had with a senior British minister earlier in the day, which he said illustrated the European "obsession" with criticizing Israel - even among many self-described "friends."

"Right at the start of the meeting she told me: 'I am a friend of Israel, but as a friend...' and then she started criticizing us for 'settlement building'," he recounted.

"I told her, 'You ignore our concerns about Iran, you ignore all the Palestinian terrorist attacks, you ignore the fact that the Palestinians are breaching every treaty they signed with us by taking unilateral steps - at the ICC, at the Security Council, in FIFA - and you don't say a word.

"'But when someone extends their balcony, or when we announce 300 new homes in Bet El - homes which were actually approved during the last government, and it was just voted to honor that approval - you criticize. If you are such a good friend why do you only criticize?'

"It is as if there is no Iran, there is no Al Qaeda, no ISIS, no Hamas, no Hezbollah, no Islamic Jihad - only Israel is responsible for all the problems in the Middle East!"

Speaking to Arutz Sheva after his address, Shalom said Israel's UK Embassy was facing a "daily battle" against "unbelievable bias." 

"I hear so many officials here criticize Israel, but they never once criticize the Palestinians for violating all the agreements signed with Israel. It's very strange, and I don't accept it.

"While we are trying to protect ourselves, we don't expect those who call themselves friends of Israel to spend their whole time criticizing us."

However, despite the bleak outlook at present, Shalom - who is also Israel's new chief negotiator with the Palestinian Authority - said he is cautiously optimistic that things could change.

"I hope that in time they will realize that all of us are in the same boat," he said. 

"For many, many years most of the world believed that terrorism is only Israel's problem. Only after 9/11, after the terrorist attacks that were carried out here in London, in Madrid, in Beslan and in many other places, the world realized that terrorism can hit anywhere and against anyone."

"With Iran the same is true," he insisted. "Maybe they believe now that Iran is only the Israelis' problem, but the Iranians have new missiles with much longer range that will put within their range all the capitals of Europe.

"So like it or dislike it, we are all in the same boat - and we will face the threat in the near future."