Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has seen his popularity decline lately in part because of his apparent weakness on foreign policy. The New York Times reported last month that Carson is struggling to be plausible on the Middle East; one of his advisers said, “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” Last week, Carson confirmed the impression in his appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, halting frequently as he read a speech and repeatedly mispronouncing “Hamas” (with the emphasis on the first syllable, like hummus). Result: The foreign policy elites are not taking him seriously.
His punishment? Carson has hired a former aide to Netanyahu as an adviser, and he announces that he’s going to Israel. The Hill reports:
George Birnbaum has worked with three Israeli prime ministers as well as its foreign minister…
In a statement that noted his “pride and excitement” in joining Carson’s team, Birnbaum noted the integral relationship between America and Israel…
Birnbaum worked on Netanyahu’s reelection earlier this year
And Carson is going to Israel. Bloomberg broke the story two days ago:
Carson… said he’s planning another trip to Israel sometime before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, his second trip to the country in one year.
Carson’s announcement followed Donald Trump’s announcement a week ago that he’s going to Israel some time after Christmas, and will meet with his dear friend Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he endorsed for prime minister earlier this year.