Businessman Donald Trump says in interview, ‘I like the idea of relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.’
By Boaz Bismuth
Everything has already been said about the stand-out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — that the Republican establishment is wary of him, that he intentionally makes provocative declarations, that in the grand scheme of the 2016 election he is nothing more than a passing fad, that he will ultimately fail. So what? In the meantime, the billionaire from New York has won three consecutive primaries and managed to draw support from almost every sector, making him the race’s hottest commodity.
Last December, I met with Trump in Las Vegas just before the Republican debate there. In that interview, he leveled some harsh criticism at incumbent President Barack Obama, made a great deal of promises regarding what he would do if he entered the White House and showed quite a bit of love for Israel. This week, after his big victory in Nevada, I sat him down for another interview.
Q: Mr. Trump, yesterday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tried to question your support for Israel. How is his commitment to Israel stronger than yours?
“My friendship with Israel is stronger than any other candidate’s. I want to make one thing clear: I want to strike a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is what I aspire to do. Peace is possible, even if it is the most difficult agreement to achieve. As far as I understand, Israel is also interested in a peace deal. I’m not saying I’ll succeed, or even that an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach, but I want to try. But in order for an agreement to happen, the Palestinians need to show interest. It’s a little difficult to reach an agreement when the other side doesn’t really want to talk to you.
“Don’t get confused there in Israel: I am currently your biggest friend. My daughter is married to a Jew who is an enthusiastic Israel supporter, and I have taken part in many Israel Day parades. My friendship with Israel is very strong.”
Q: This week you spoke very negatively about the Iran nuclear deal. You even said that in some cases, violating deals is permissible.
“This deal was the worst deal that Israel could have gotten. Think about it: Beyond the deal itself, Iran also received $150 billion. And to think that they signed that deal without discussing it with Israel! As far as I’m concerned, this deal is the worst thing that ever happened to Israel. There is a clause in it that stipulates protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities should they come under attack. You have to read it to believe it. It may very well be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand what it means, that America will attack Israel if Israel attacks Iran? That’s ridiculous.”
Q: Many presidents have promised to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. What is your position on the issue?
“I can only say that I like the idea.”
Q: I’ve been covering the U.S. elections for many years now. The pundits said that you wouldn’t run, then they said that you would crash and burn, then they said that the voters wouldn’t vote the way they said they would in the polls. In reality, you are crushing everyone. Let’s play the pundit for a moment — explain the Trump phenomenon to me.
“The pundits misread the intense anger that exists in the U.S. today. No one foresaw the anger of the American people — toward the administration, toward the bad deals that the U.S. has signed, like the trade agreements and the Iran nuclear deal. What do you think? That the American people liked the deal? The deal with Iran is also one of the reasons for the great anger that exists in the U.S. today. It was a terrible mistake. And look at the way the administration is handling the military: We are not winning any wars. America is not winning, and America always needs to win. It is important for America, and it is important for the world.
“President Obama isn’t good. For Israel, he has been the worst president in history. Look at how frustrated Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu was every time he visited Washington. All of Netanyahu’s claims are correct; he is 100% right. Is this any way to treat our friends? I will make sure that changes.”
Q: Am I speaking with the next president of the United States?
“There is still a long way to go, but we are on the right track. If I make it to the White House, you will have a true friend there.”
Q: Thank you for the interview, Mr. Trump.
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