Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gotten a “promise” from Donald Trump that he will be the second foreign leader invited to the White House, maybe early next month, says a former State Department aide who just returned to the U.S. from meetings with Netanyahu aides.
David Makovsky said this morning in New York, “We’re hearing that they think– and don’t hold me to this because it’s not up to me, that they’ve got some promise that they’re going to be the second visitor to be coming to Washington. I guess Putin is number one [laughter] but I don’t know. Not unless it’s the British or the Canadians– that would be more traditional… But they think they’re going to be invited very soon, maybe early February. I know there are rumors that he might go to the inauguration, but his people tell me that they think that’s not a good idea. Whatever it is, it might be before [State Department nominee Rex] Tillerson and these guys are even confirmed.”
Makovsky, a longtime Israel supporter and former Jerusalem Post editor who worked for John Kerry’s negotiation team in 2014, spoke at a pro-Israel event at the 92d Street Y in New York. He said he had traveled to Israel to meet with a “number of his [Netanyahu’s] people” including security officials and diplomats because he is concerned about the stakes of any wrong move by the Netanyahu government. Makovsky works for the Israel lobby group, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
He spoke to about 30 people who had paid $36 a head to hear about his effort to fight Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on college campuses. I’ll have more from Makovsky’s talk on Monday.