Loads of sushi were served and bottles of wine flowed in the West Bank settlement of Psagot near Ramallah Monday night as former Arkansas Governor and 2016 presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was honored at the start of a ten-day trip to Israel. Huckabee is in the region promoting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s forthcoming address to Congress.
Radio host and journalist Yishai Fleisher posted an image on Facebook of Huckabee celebrating at the Psagot Winery with the following text:
Thanks to Mike Huckabee and a few hundred of his passionate supporters for stuffing me and Malkah with sushi and boutique cheeses and giving me the honor of being Master of Ceremonies at last night’s Welcome to Israel bash at the Psagot Winery!
Governor Huckabee has made several trips to Israel, visiting key locations in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Thanks for your friendship, Governor. Good luck with the presidential elections.
In Jerusalem on Sunday Huckabee championed Netanyahu and his efforts to stymie a negotiated agreement between the U.S. and Iran via the P5+1 talks.
“To negotiate with someone who cannot negotiate with good faith is like trusting the snake. But the snake is still going to bite you when it can,” he said to reporters. The following day (hours before the bash in the settlement) Huckabee penned an op-ed entitled “Why Israel matters to America” on Medium where he equated Iran and its nuclear program to the September 11th attackers and said of Netanyahu’s speech in Washington, the prime minister “will provide a more honest assessment of the Iranian nuclear threat than those in our own government. Netanyahu is a Churchill in a world of Chamberlains.”
“I’m not a Jew. I didn’t even play one on TV. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a more full-throated defender and supporter of the Jewish state than me,” Huckabee added.
Huckabee and a subset of the GOP are vocally at odds with the State Department over how to deal with Iran. He wants increased sanctions and the threat of military action in lieu of reaching a diplomatic accord. Over the past few months he has backed a Senate sanctions bill supported by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, which seeks to override the on-going discussions to reach a deal with Iran at the end of March.
Speaking to Megyn Kelly on Fox before setting off to Israel in January, Huckabee supported the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran. “We need to let the world know that if Israel decides that it is in their best interest and security to take Iran directly, that we will stand behind them directly behind them to the last man,” he said.
“The way you stop the school bully is you put your fist in its face and you put its butt on the ground,” Huckabee continued.