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MSNBC's Hayes Frames Israel As Possible 'Obstacle' to Detente with Iran

Media Research CenterOn Tuesday's All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes twice asked California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee if Israel is an "obstacle" to a "diplomatic settlement between the U.S. and Iran," as the two discussed the possibility of a meeting between President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations gathering.

After playing a clip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealing for help to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Hayes posed:

Last year, Netanyahu famously got up before the U.N. General Assembly with a drawing of a bomb. Is Israel an obstacle to a diplomatic settlement between the U.S. and Iran?

After Rep. Lee argued that Israel "should be" concerned about Iran's nuclear capability, without directly stating whether Israel should be characterized as an "obstacle," the MSNBC host jumped in to ask her a second time: "Are they an obstacle? Is Israel an obstacle?"

The Democratic Congresswoman defended Israel as she responded:

I don't believe Israel is an obstacle. I believe that the Middle East would be a much safer place if we reduce the tensions and really insist that nuclear weapons become not the weapon of the world. And that is an extremely important part of our foreign policy that we need to embrace very quickly.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, September 24, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu releasing a video message to the U.N. General Assembly. Take a listen:

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel would  welcome a genuine diplomatic solution that truly dismantles Iran's capacity to develop nuclear weapons. But we will not be fooled by half measures that merely provide a smokescreen for Iran's continual pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the world should not be fooled either.

HAYES: Last year, Netanyahu famously got up before the U.N. General Assembly with a drawing of a bomb. Is Israel an obstacle to a diplomatic settlement between the U.S. and Iran?

REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): I visited Israel many times. And, of course, Israel quite naturally should be concerned about Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, just as we should be. And so I believe, as I said earlier, we have to take every step we can to make sure that nonproliferation and the nuclear capability for a bomb is not there. And so we have to ensure that what the President, our President, the steps that he is taking right now succeed, and that's going to be a tough road-

HAYES: Are they an obstacle?

LEE: -to walk, so-

HAYES: Is Israel an obstacle?

LEE: I don't believe Israel is an obstacle. I believe that the Middle East would be a much safer place if we reduce the tensions and really insist that nuclear weapons become not the weapon of the world. And that is an extremely important part of our foreign policy that we need to embrace very quickly.

HAYES: Congresswoman Barbara Lee, thank you so much.

-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.