Israel should be grateful to US, patient on Iran, Isaac Herzog tells AIPAC
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Israel should be grateful to US, patient on Iran, Isaac Herzog tells AIPAC

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog speaking to foreign press in Jerusalem, Feb. 24, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog speaking to the foreign press in Jerusalem, Feb. 24, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Israeli opposition leader called for his government to be grateful for the U.S.-Israel relationship, earning applause from AIPAC activists at their annual conference.

Isaac Herzog, who heads the Zionist Union party, derided what he said were attempts to “shame” U.S. officials, alluding to tense relations between the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration.

“Forget that,” Herzog said Monday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, D.C. “We should be grateful for this relationship.”

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Herzog ran unsuccessfully against Netanyahu in national elections a year ago. Part of his platform included blaming the prime minister for sour relations between the governments.

Herzog also won applause for aspects of his plan announced in January that would separate Israelis and Palestinians as a preemptive means of establishing a two-state solution.

He said he remained skeptical of last year’s Iran nuclear deal, but recommended monitoring Iran to see if it helps bring moderates forward. That also distinguishes Herzog from Netanyahu, who says Iranian moderates act as a mask for an extremist regime.