In an interview to air tonight on CBS's 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama will refer to Israel's concern over Iran's march toward a nuclear program as "noise."
"When it comes to our national security decisions -- any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out -- any noise that's out there," Obama says, according to AFP.
UPDATE: Here's the video and transcript:
STEVE KROFT: "How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?"
PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Well—look, I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu's insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon, because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel, and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race."
STEVE KROFT: "You’re saying, you don't feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?"
PRESIDENT OBAMA: "When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that's out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we're in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They're one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence."
UPDATE II: Romney press secretary Andrea Saul responds:
“Tonight on 60 Minutes, President Obama called Israel’s legitimate concern about the impact of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons ‘noise’ and referred to Israel as merely ‘one of our closest allies in the region.’ This is just the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East. Governor Romney's views stand in sharp contrast to the President's. Governor Romney strongly believes that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East and that support for Israel is essential to extending freedom, peace and democracy throughout the region. As president, Governor Romney will restore and protect the close alliance between our nation and the state of Israel.”
UPDATE III: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the same word to describe Israel in an interview with the Washington Post, as Andrea Saul notes:
IGNATIUS: “I want to ask as my first question the one every citizen of the world would like to ask today: What is the chance of a war in Iran that would result from an Israeli attack on your nuclear facilities?”
AHMADINEJAD: “I have spoken about this topic at length, previously. We generally speaking do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and the possible dangers emanating from them. Of course they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves. But I do not believe they will succeed. Iran is also a very well recognized country and her defensive powers are very clear.”
AFP also reports that Obama will say that "he understands and agrees with Netanyahu's insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms race."
But, as the article points out, Obama will not be meeting with Netanyahu this week during the United Nations General Assembly.
Romney, who also is interviewed on 60 Minutes tonight, will say, that Obama not meeting with Netanyahu "is a mistake and sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what's necessary."