Huntsman Tells Haaretz He Will Protect 'Deep, Enduring' Friendship Between Lsrael and U.S.

Republican presidential hopeful calls Iran's nuclear 'most challenging transcendent threat of this decade', says all options on the table.

Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman said Thursday that should be elected president, he will “fully promote and protect” the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Huntsman told Haaretz that his Israel policy would be based on a “deep, enduring friendship”, and emphasized that the alliance between the two would be based on “security, economics, and values.”

Jon Huntsman - Natasha Mosgovaya - January 2012
Natasha Mosgovaya

Huntsman also called Iran’s nuclear program the “most challenging transcendent threat of this decade”, and stated that he would consult very closely with Israel if provided with clear evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Huntsman added that all options, including a military one, were on the table in order to deal with a nuclear Iran.

“I will be the president who will not be willing to accept a nuclear Iran,” said Huntsman. “I think it’s too dangerous for the region, I think it’s too dangerous given what they’ve said about Israel, and I would do whatever I needed to do as president to ensure they won’t become a nuclear power.”

Huntsman, who is gearing up for next week’s New Hampshire primary, started his week off in the city of Hampton, N.H., at the local Rotary Meeting. From there, he moved on to Durham, where he toured the "Goss International" printer press production plant, hand in hand with his wife Mary Kaye, and met with company's workers. There he received some applause and answered various questions on topics ranging from energy independence to Afghanistan.

"Its' time for our troops to come home", he said on Afghanistan. "It's a counter-terror mission, not a nation-building exercise.... The world is better off when America is strong, and we are weak today. Afghanistan, Iraq is not our nation's future."

On illegal immigration, Huntsman simply stated that "Nobody is going to cross the border anymore. We screwed our economy, we don't have jobs anymore."

“There is a lot in this country that needs to be done,” Huntsman continued. “You walk the streets of Shanghai and there is energy, they feel their time has arrived. We are in the hole. But we've got plan. And it all starts next Tuesday. I need your help, ladies and gentlemen."

Huntsman acknowledged of his place in the race, and his plea "I shamelessly ask for your votes", promising also not to “pander to interest groups” and to not “sign on silly pledges like all the other candidates did."

"This is a state that likes underdogs, and I am an underdog", he said.

The Boston Globe newspaper on Thursday announced its official endorsement of Hunstman.

“With a strong record as governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to China, arguably the most important overseas diplomatic post, Huntsman’s credentials match those of anyone in the field. He would be the best candidate to seize this moment in GOP history, and the best-prepared to be president.” the Boston Globe said in a statement.