Donald Trump yesterday bragged that he had blown off calls from world leaders before announcing that he was moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in December 2017. Moving the embassy, he said, pleased his largest donors, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson: “the most important thing I think that’s ever happened in their life.”
Trump spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada, and said he had bucked pressure that had stopped other US presidents.
I also took another historic action that had been decades in waiting, the United States recognized the true capital of Israel and opened the American embassy in Jerusalem. Because unlike other presidents, I keep my promises. Every president for many decades said they were going to do that and I understand really why because when it was determined that Maybe I’d do it, maybe there was a chance. The calls I got from leaders of other countries were unbelievable. Presidents, dictators, prime minister, kings, queens– everybody. My phone was ringing off the hook. So I knew I was going to do it, so I left a message. I said, “I’m going to call you next week.” They said couldn’t we speak to him. They said no no no he’s unavailable. They’ll call it lying, the fake news will say that’s a horrible lie. I wanted to be nice. No no I’ll call you next week, I look forward to it. I had so many calls after… It took me like three weeks to make all the calls.
But I knew what they were calling about. So I did it! I did it. Then I started calling people back. King, how are you, how have you been? [King] “I called you last week.” I said, What’s up? “Well I wanted to talk to you about Israel and the embassy in Jerusalem.” I said, Look, I’m sorry, it’s — chuckle –I wished I would have known! I did it yesterday. It’s much easier.
I now know why other presidents didn’t, I don’t really hold it against them other than they didn’t keep their promise. They didn’t keep their promise, David [Friedman]. So that’s the way it is.
We got you something that you wanted. I can tell you that Sheldon and Miriam, that is the most important thing I think that’s ever happened in their life. They love Israel.
The Adelsons and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman were in attendance.
Back in 2015 Donald Trump said that Sheldon Adelson would make a “perfect little puppet” of Marco Rubio if Adelson funded Rubio’s campaign. Since then Trump and the Republican Party have gotten over 100 million dollars from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Trump fulfilled the prediction.
Near the start of the speech, Trump baited Rep. Ilhan Omar as someone who doesn’t like Israel even as she has received death threats. Trump worked the Democrats-hate-Israel theme:
The Democrats have even allowed the terrible scourge of anti-Semitism to take root in their party and in their country….
People aren’t fighting for Israel in Congress, large numbers of people. You saw what took place three weeks ago [Vote on BDS in the Senate]. It was shocking… That could not have happened just a few years ago…
If implemented, the Democrats’ radical agenda would destroy our economy, cripple our country, and very well could leave Israel out there all by yourselves. Can’t do that.
The speech was remarkable for Trump referring to Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister” — speaking to American Jews, thereby suggesting Jews have dual loyalty.
I stood with your prime minister at the White House to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
He said that the decision to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, again defying world leaders, was also an impulse move, surprising even Ambassador David Friedman. Trump was on the phone with Friedman and Middle East peace negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt when he brought up the subject.
Fellows, do me a favor. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I’m working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie…
I said, David, what do you think about me recognizing Israel and the Golan Heights. He said, Would you actually? And this is a great dealmaker… And he– this is a very strong ambitious guy, like a wonderful beautiful baby, he said, You would do that sir? I said, Yeah, I think I’m doing it right now, let’s write something out. We make fast decisions and we make good decisions.
I would note that Trump came under great pressure from the D.C. establishment, and some world leaders, when he said he was pulling troops from Syria, and he reversed that decision. But world leaders have opposed the Jerusalem decision and the Golan Heights decision, and he hasn’t reversed them. Those power dynamics show that the foreign policy establishment in the U.S., not to mention the donors, is still highly influenced by the Israel lobby, and so it supported the Jerusalem move or was equivocal about it. And supporters of Israel vehemently opposed the Syrian withdrawal out of concern for Israel. (As John Whitbeck has pointed out.)
The beginning of the speech was interrupted by young non-Zionist Jews. Here is video that IfNotNow posted of members disrupting the speech with the chant, “Jews are here to stay, occupation is a plague.”
BREAKING: 10 young American Jews just interrupted President Trump’s speech at the @RJC! "Jews are here to say, the Occupation is a plague. Jews are here to say, white nationalism is a plague."
Freedom and dignity for all!
— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) April 6, 2019