Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today was laudatory of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a delegation of top state lawmakers who traveled to Jerusalem to show support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas.
Netanyahu and the New York delegation met this afternoon to discuss the recently escalated conflict in Gaza, with Netanyahu thanking Cuomo for rejecting what the prime minister called a “false symmetry” between Israel and the Hamas organization.
The prime minister compared Hamas to ISIS, the Islamic militant group that is the target of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
“I want to thank you for coming here, for standing clearly with Israel, representing the American people and the people of the state of New York,” Netanyahu said, according to a video posted by the prime minister’s office. “And also representing the rejection of this false symmetry that is made. Just like you wouldn’t put America and ISIS on the same moral plane, you would never put Israel and Hamas on the same moral plane.”
Cuomo and legislative leaders traveled to Israel overnight ahead of a jam-packed day of meetings today, flying with a delegation that also included New York Daily News Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman and fashion designer Kenneth Cole, Cuomo’s brother-in-law. They met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin prior to meeting with Netanyahu.
Netanyahu opened his public remarks be sending his “warmest regards” to Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
“I remember him fondly from my days in the (United Nations),” Netanyahu said. “At that time in the U.N., I had to address the question of the constant attempts to force a moral asymmetry on the world, or a false symmetry. That’s what you do in the United Nations if you’re the ambassador of Israel. And I remember how strongly, firmly and clearly Gov. Cuomo — Mario Cuomo — stood with Israel at the time, and this is a tradition that continues with you and your delegation.”
Cuomo said the state of New York stands behind Israel in its battle with Hamas. The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations this week invited Cuomo and lawmakers to meet with Palestinians during the brief trip to the Middle East, but the request was rejected.
“We all wanted to come as one, in solidarity, in unity to say to Israel: We understand the situation you are in,” Cuomo told Netanyahu. “We understand what you are facing, and we support your right — your need — to defend your people against terror.”