Last night Israel policy and Donald Trump’s Islamophobia were frontburner topics in the Republican debate, with Marco Rubio saying that Trump is “anti-Israeli.” Rubio also said that there will be no peace deal between Israel and Palestine for another 30 years.
And today, Trump announced that he will be speaking at the Israel lobby group AIPAC’s DC conference in ten days.
It’s “striking how Israel has not come up so much in Dem debate. In GOP its Israel every time,” Alex Kane observes.
First, here’s Rubio’s latest: today, at a Florida synagogue. His home state is considered make or break for him. Foreign Policy:
Marco Rubio took to the podium at a synagogue in his home state of Florida Friday to caution voters against casting a ballot for Donald Trump, saying his positions are “anti-Israeli” and dangerous to American national security…
“It is unfortunate that in this election that the supposed frontrunner, Donald Trump, has said that on the issue of Palestinians and Israelis he will not take a side. Let me be abundantly clear, when I am president, we are going to take a side, and we are going to be on Israel’s side,” Rubio said. “As I said last night Mr. Trump perhaps does not understand that his position is in fact anti-Israeli.”
More on the Israel chatter below. But let’s catch up with Trump’s Islamophobia. On Wednesday Donald Trump told Anderson Cooper on CNN:
I think Islam hates us. There’s something there, there’s a tremendous hatred there, there’s a tremendous hatred, we have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us.
Cooper: In Islam itself?
You’re going to have to figure that out, OK… But there is a tremendous hatred. And we have to be very vigilant we have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.
[Cooper asks whether this is a war with radical Islam or with Islam?]
It’s radical but it’s very hard to define, it’s very hard to separate, because you don’t know who’s who.
CNN’s transcript of last night’s debate. Jake Tapper asked, “Last night, you told CNN quote, ‘Islam hates us?’ Did you mean all 1.6 billion Muslims?”
I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them…
Well, you know, I’ve been watching the debate today. And they’re talking about radical Islamic terrorism or radical Islam. But I will tell you this. There’s something going on that maybe you don’t know about, maybe a lot of other people don’t know about, but there’s tremendous hatred. And I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.
Stephen Dinan of Washington Times quizzed Rubio about the matter. Rubio:
Well, let me say, I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says cause he says what people wish they could say. The problem is, presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences, here and around the world. And so let me give you one. Two days ago, I met this extraordinary couple who were on furlough because they are missionaries in Bangladesh. It’s a very tough place to be a missionary. It’s Muslim.
And their safety and security very much relies upon friendly Muslims that live along side them, that may not convert, but protect them and certainly look out for them. And their mission field really are Muslims that are looking to convert to Christianity as well. And they tell me that today they have a very hostile environment in which to operate in because the news is coming out that in America, leading political figures are saying that America doesn’t like Muslims. So this is a real impact. There’s no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world.
I can also tell you if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you’re going to see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world you’re going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims.
And they love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military. Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America. No matter what their religious background may be.
Marco talks about consequences. Well, we’ve had a lot of consequences, including airplanes flying into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and could have been the White House. There have been a lot of problems.
Now you can say what you want, and you can be politically correct if you want. I don’t want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems. We have a serious, serious problem of hate.
There is tremendous hate. There is tremendous hate. Where large portions of a group of people, Islam, large portions want to use very, very harsh means. Let me go a step further. Women are treated horribly. You know that. You do know that. Women are treated horribly, and other things are happening that are very, very bad.
Now I will say this, there is tremendous hatred. The question was asked, what do you think? I said, there is hatred. Now it would be very easy for me to say something differently. And everybody would say, oh, isn’t that wonderful…
We better solve the problem before it’s too late.
The debate then moved on to Israel, with Donald Trump saying that while he is very pro-Israel, he aims to be neutral in his comments on the conflict so as not to damage his ability to make a deal. Trump said that his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish and that he has many Jewish friends in New York who are tough but also want a deal cut between Israel and Palestine. Trump:
First of all, there’s nobody on this stage that’s more pro Israel than I am. OK. There’s nobody. I am pro-Israel. I was the grand marshall, not so long ago, of the Israeli Day Parade down 5th avenue. I’ve made massive contributions to Israel. I have a lot of — I have tremendous love for Israel. I happen to have a son-in-law and a daughter that are Jewish, OK? And two grandchildren that are Jewish.
But I will tell you, I think if we’re going to ever negotiate a peace settlement, which every Israeli wants, and I’ve spoken to the toughest and the sharpest, they all want peace, I think it would be much more helpful is — I’m a negotiator. If I go in, I’ll say I’m pro-Israel and I’ve told that to everybody and anybody that would listen.
But I would like to at least have the other side think I’m somewhat neutral as to them, so that we can maybe get a deal done. Maybe we can get a deal. I think it’s probably the toughest negotiation of all time. But maybe we can get a deal done.
Rubio responded by saying that Donald Trump has an anti-Israeli policy. He called the West Bank “Judea and Samaria,” biblical names; and he said a peace deal is not possible for another 30 years.
The policy Donald has outlined, I don’t know if he realizes, is an anti-Israeli policy. Maybe that’s not your intent but here’s why it is an anti-Israeli policy. There is no peace deal possible with the Palestinians at this moment. There just isn’t.Because there’s no one to negotiate with. The Palestinian Authority is not interested in a serious deal and they are now in union with Hamas, an organization whose specific purpose is the destruction of the Jewish state. Every time that Israel has turned over territory of any kind, be is Gaza, or now in Judea and Sumaria, it is used as a launching pad to attack Israel. And that’s what will happen again.
These groups are not interested in a deal with Israel. What they are interested in is ultimately removing the Jewish state and occupying its entire territory.
So maybe in 30 years the conditions will exist, but they do not exist now.
And to have a president forcing the Israelis to the table is harmful to the Israeli and emboldens Israel’s enemies.
Trump got to respond:
If I become president of the United States, one of the things that will be an absolute priority is number one, protection of Israel, but also seeing if a deal can be made, the toughest deal, the toughest negotiation there probably is of any kind no matter where you look, no matter how hard you look.
But I would like to give it a shot. Very, very pro-Israel, nobody more pro-Israel. But I would love to give it a shot. And I have to tell you this, Hugh. I have friends, Israelis, non-Israelis, people from New York City that happen to be Jewish and love Israel, and some are very tough people, every single one of them, they know it’s tough, but every single one of them wants to see if we could ever have peace in Israel.
And some believe it’s possible. It may not be, in which case we’ll find out. But it would be a priority if I become president to see what I could do.
Ted Cruz got in on the action, too:
Cruz: Israel a liberal democratic country which shares our values. Nose grows longer.
— Scott McConnell (@ScottMcConnell9) March 11, 2016
Thanks to Adam Horowitz.