At last Thursday's Debate, both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (who were filmed by CNN shaking hands behind Donald Trump's back during a commercial break) used as part of their double teaming routine the line that Donald Trump is 'neutral on Israel' by which they clearly mean he doesn't support Israel.
So I got this question from a friend: "I just was wondering about your opinion re: Trump and Israel. Do you think he is anti-Israel, or do you think this is a last attempt to derail him before Super Tuesday?"
Ted Cruz repeated this again during his 'victory speech' after winning his home state of Texas. It's become a staple now for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Is it true? Is Donald Trump anti-Israel? Is he 'neutral?'
Let's look at a few facts and find out.
First off, let's look at some endorsements. I first ran into Sarah Palin before she went national. Among her other attributes, she is a firm Judeophile who sometimes attends Jewish holiday celebrations at the local Anchorage Chabad according to the rabbi there. And she is more pro-Israel, frankly, than a lot of American Jews. It's an issue that matters to her. There's no way she would endorse a candidate whom she felt was not pro-Israel. Ditto when it comes to Mike Huckabee, and I personally know Israelis that have traveled with Governor Huckabee on his many visits to Israel.his views on the subject are pretty clear too.
The odds on Senator Jeff Sessions or Rep. Duncan Hunter endorsing Trump if he were not very pro-Israel e are almost as remote. Check out their voting records on Israel sometime...and that of Duncan Hunter's father, who held the same seat until he retired. Dutch politician Geert Wilders and author Diana West have also endorsed Donald Trump, two people also known for their pro-Israel bonifides.
Here's some more 'neutrality' for you.
Unlike anyone else running for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump actually endorsed Bibi Netanyahu and Likud in the last Israeli election, and even made a campaign commercial for him:
This meant quite a lot in Israel, where Donald Trump is well known for his donations to Israeli charities.
Also, aside from the video, check out these quotes in the attached article, from a Left of center Israeli paper:
Talking to Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Trump said that it was a wonder that the Jewish state would still even talk to the White House, given what he said was shoddy treatment at the hands of the Obama administration.
“Israel is so important,” Trump said in response to a question about the Middle East, before launching into fierce criticism of the president’s policies.
“What Obama has done to Israel is a disgrace. How they even talk to us is hard to believe. How do they talk to Obama? I have friends, they support Obama and I say, ‘How do you do it?’ It’s almost like they do it out of habit. They agree he’s been terrible,” he said.
“You look at what he’s done to Israel, with just this Iran deal, which is such a terrible deal. He has been the worst thing that’s ever happened to Israel,” Trump continued. “Now, a lot of my friends that are Jewish do not support him any longer. But I still have some that do. I say, ‘How can you do it?'”
Further on in the article, Trumps explicitly mentioned Arab incitement as the major obstacle to any peace agreement, saying that Palestinian children “grow up hating.”
Sure sounds neutral on Israel, doesn't he? Actually, if you look at the quote Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are milking, it's clear from the context that what Donald Trump was talking about was taking a shot at mediating between the two sides, not 'neutrality.'
Personally, I like Trump's stance on Jerusalem, peace negotiations etc. Every US president since George W. Bush has promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with legislation passed by congress. They've all lied about it. I prefer someone who honest enough to say 'I like the idea' rather than make a meaningless promise. In any event, the Israeli government bears partial responsibility for not insisting. Trump would go into office not owing anyone, so I think there's a decent chance it might actually happen with him in the White House.
I also don't see anything wrong in him saying that he would love to be the one to bring peace between the Israelis and the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians. But I also doubt he'd invest much energy in that once he found out the realities involved. And he's alluded to that as well.
Contrary to what Marco Rubio said, this IS very much a real estate deal since Oslo, in which one of the parties has consistently acted in bad faith. The fault for that belongs to Israel's Labor government, who were elected due to interference in Israel's election process by President Bill Clinton which was subsequently made illegal under Israeli law. They later went along with Clinton's diktats about putting his good friend Yasser Arafat in charge of things, a historic mistake.
Trump might have a shot at peace negotiations, but if not, I doubt he'd keep up a futile exercise if it failed. It wouldn't be the first loser deal he's abandoned.
Contrary to another fairy tale Ted Cruz told in his 'victory speech,' Donald Trump has also been quite outspoken about the Iran deal, something the GOP senate allowed to slip through. That's of major importance, especially since Trump has the experience and the guts to actually do something about it and get a consensus in congress to make it reality. And as I see it, his stance on negotiating with Putin when it comes to fighting jihad is frankly far more intelligent than any of the other candidate's. That affects America as well as Israel.
Then of course, there's the personal connection. Trump is from New York, works in professions saturated with Jews and is well known in that community as a supporter of Israel and local charities. The executive vice president of his organization is Jewish, as is his lawyer and close associate Micheal Cohen.
Donald Trump is extremely close to his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Orthodox Judaism when she married. He has two Jewish grandchildren and G-d willing, a third due any day now.She studied for her conversion with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue,where she was married to Jared Kushner, a fierce advocate for Israel and publisher of the conservative and very pro-Israel New York Observer among his other ventures. I have no doubt whatsoever that Donald Trump has received a fair amount of information on Israel from that source and been influenced in that direction.
More? Trump is also a close friend of Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, and has contributed to the charity she runs to rescue victims of human trafficking. Adelson also publishes Israel Hayom, the most popular newspaper in Israel, one with a fairly Right wing stance. While they differ on illegal migration (Sheldon likes cheap labor for his casinos) Adelson has as much as said after meeting with Trump that they're on the same page where Israel is concerned. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that if he and Donald Trump were on different sides of the Israel question, Adelson would be shouting it from the rooftops. As he's shown us in the past,Sheldon Adelson is not at all shy about doing it either.
I'd argue that Donald Trump has a closer personal connection with Jews and Israel than any of the other candidates, Democrat or Republican. So unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned what Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are peddling is utter falsehood.
It's particularly unfortunate in Ted Cruz's case. He markets himself as the Evangelical candidate, and yet once again we find him bearing what amounts to false witness. This is hardly the first time, and I can see why a lot of Evangelicals have bailed on him.
Even worse is his embrace of the endorsement of Mike Bickle, a fairly well known Evangelical preacher based in Kansas City, Mo. whom Cruz is apparently close to. Bickle has a dedicated program to convert Jews, and has said those who don’t become Christians willingly will be hunted down and killed for it, noting Adolf Hitler as “the most famous hunter in recent history.”
Jews could be lured in by “fishermen” and converted or they could be wiped out by “hunters.” Bickle said his congregation were fishermen.
“The Lord says, ‘I’m going to give all 20 million of them the chance. To respond to the fisherman. And I give them grace. And I give them grace,” Bickle added. “If they don’t respond to grace, I’m going to raise up the hunters … And the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler."
Bickle claims he's not an anti-semite, but this is exactly the sort of nonsense Jews have heard throughout history, during the Inquisition, during the Crusades, and during the years when 'missionaries' like Bickle plagued them with conversion sermons they were forced to attend when they were locked up in ghettos. It was the excuse used to evict them from nearly every country in Europe by fire and sword for not 'getting with the program' and abandoning the faith of their ancestors. It's what the anti-semitic Cardinal Glemp in Poland - and he was by no means alone -used to say in those famous 'Easter Sermons' that preceded the most horrific pogroms.
This has been called to Ted Cruz's attention, but he doubled down and is on record as paying tribute to Bickle and praising him as a big influence. And yet, Ted Cruz has the nerve to question someone else's attitudes on Jews and Israel!
I doubt this will faze any of Ted Cruz's supporters but it should, just out of simple decency. It's definitely been a factor in changing my view of Ted Cruz 180 degrees.