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April 14, 2016 7:58 pm

Trump Defends Israel, Bashes Media in Meeting With Jewish Journalists

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Donald Trump, during a meeting with Jewish journalists. Photo: Ruthie Blum.

Donald Trump, during a meeting with Jewish journalists. Photo: Ruthie Blum.

“When missiles are being shot into your country, I don’t know what ‘disproportionate force’ is supposed to mean,” Republican primary candidate Donald Trump told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

“Israel is being attacked to an extent that is very rarely seen, and so obviously you have to use very strong force,” said the real estate mogul, during a meeting with Jewish journalists at his Trump Tower office in Manhattan.

The GOP frontrunner was responding to a question about recent remarks made by Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during separate meetings with the editorial board of the New York Daily News. The former, after inflating the death-toll figures of innocent Palestinian civilians killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, accused Israel of using “disproportionate force;” the latter called Israeli settlements “unhelpful.”

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With regard to the issue of settlements, Trump deferred to his executive vice president and chief legal officer Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew whom he summoned from another part of the building to assist him on Israel-related matters.

In the meantime, Trump ripped into the media in general and one outlet in particular. “I’m no fan of Bernie Sanders,” he said to the some 25 mostly Orthodox journalists gathered in his conference room. “But I will say the Daily News did a big number on him. I have to tell you, [it] is a very dishonest newspaper… you can’t believe anything [it] has said… it’s one of the most dishonorable papers, of many dishonorable papers. Because, you know, a good percentage of them are not truthful… really can’t tell you what it said about Bernie Sanders. It’s covered me so inaccurately on so many different things.”

On the subject of the Middle East, Trump said, “If our elected officials went to the beach and didn’t do anything, the situation [there] would be a lot better off.” As for whether, in the event he becomes president, he would continue US economic aid to Israel, he answered in the affirmative, calling the Jewish state “one of our best allies anywhere.”

Where comments he had made in the past about brokering a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians – and about remaining “neutral” while doing so — were concerned, Trump elaborated, “A lot of people say that’s a deal that can’t be made, because there’s such ingrained hatred, perhaps especially from the Palestinian side. But that’s a decision that’s going to have to be made… [And] I wouldn’t want to be in a position to make that decision for Israel.”

Questioned about his canceling of a scheduled trip to Jerusalem to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December, Trump stated, “He said some things I didn’t like; I did not particularly like his statements.”

Trump was referring to Netanyahu’s rejection of the controversial candidate’s proposed US travel ban for all Muslims, through a statement released in its wake. “The state of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world,” the statement said.

In response, Trump tweeted: “I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the US.”

However, Trump asserted to the gathered journalists, “I like [Netanyahu]. I’ve always liked him,” assuring that the disagreement would not affect the way he, if elected, would treat the Israeli leader in the future.

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  • ESLombard

    On second thought about Sanders and the Arabs: the Arab League cannot be moved in their strategy to discredit Israel. As usual, they won’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  • The election is yours, Americans, but as an European still remembering how partyleader in Germany in 1933 Adolf Hitler fooled his countrymen with all kinds of promises how he would solve Germany’s problems, and how he managed to become both cancellor, president and dictator, I fear the prospect of having Donald Trump’s finger on the atomic bomb button. That possibility could also have an impact on us in Europe and in the rest of the world, so pleace do not vote him in! Donald Trump’s personal qualities are not trustworthy.

    • RUSTY

      We already have one of the biggest baffoon’s con man in America with his finger on the button so, Mr. Trump will be a relief, and solid American not someone who don’t support his on country… Barry Saros aka. obummer is a disgrace that will take a long time for America to over come..

      • Myron Slater

        You are an idiot! Obama is the best president, that always has tried to help the average American. Only the Republicans in congress stopped him at every turn. My opinion of Republicans like yourself, is that you never wanted a black man as President!

  • Jake

    Unfortunately, the Jews are not a majority to impose their views! and so they stubbornly vote for the election system which ensures a certain despair

  • Yadja

    Just as Americans have to understand Israel’s side and the truth about their countries problems, not to interfere but to stand with our alli, so Israel has to understand the terrible situations in Europe related to refugees of whom 75% men and that the American people are seeing our president flood us with these same refugees and do not want to end up like Europe.

    Trump would not be the first American president to limit immigration from certain countries or to stop immigration from certain countries. In our immigration laws we have a clause that relates to “Alien Threat” and it clearly states that anyone coming to our country cannot harbor any hate or wishes to take us out and Islam does.

  • Dani

    Trump is by far the best candidate for Israel but famale workers in the US won’t trust on him unless he comes out with a strong voice condemning chauvinism which, by the way, is what moslems practice.

  • nat cheiman

    Trumpis the guy to be president

    • Sarah Olsen

      Trump changed his statement on Israel three times, it always depend on to whom he is given the interview. Ted Cruz is a true friend and supporter of Israel, he never changed his mind!
      Vote Cruz for president!

      • ESLombard

        Cruz may have certain strengths,but his reputation is that he is so doctrinaire that he can’t or couldn’t get along with his fellow senators. The press has gone so far as to say that they hate him and that doesn’t sound good.

        I do wish that Jon Huntsman could be persuaded to run.

    • Myron Slater

      You’ve got your head in the sand!

  • Alan J Weberman

    Trump is all over the real estate with conflicting views. No one really know where he is really at but I suspect he will do better with Israel than with the Muslims who he wants to bar from US

  • My advice to Donald Trump, China is a land of peace! I do live in China in exile from 2007 and know what I’m talking about! Doing business with China in balance both ways will make billions of people to become a better man, will open up much more business for USA in Africa, if business goes well with China it will do good for business between USA and Russia, by doing so the conflict in the Middle East will slow down between Iran and USA/Isreal and other Arab countries, and the conflict between Muslims will stop! The key for peace among men worldwide is China who needs USA as a partner.

  • The more time goes by! I become to be aware of Donald Trump truth heart and mind; he is a very hard working free man. He loves USA and wants to bring USA back on track! I think Mr. Donald Trump is going to do it! USA people need him as he needs the people to become a winner as president! I did change my mind as we see Donald Trump quickly learning to master a bigger space of mind! The world needs Donald Trump because it is all about business from private business to the business among people for the people. I really hope he will become the president of USA. Which it will be a hard job to clean up after Obama! Under Obama USA did became weaker!because Obama is not a politician or a business man。 Obama is a dreamer who did ridicule politics ending dancing Tango to forget his done mistakes! If Donald Trump was a president instead of Obama Mr, Gaddafi of Libya was life to day and no refugee was on the road to Europe and USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Mr. Gaddafi will become a better man helping millions of people! Mr. Gaddafi said before been shoot “ Don’t kill me brother” Gaddafi spook as a child before his soul went to heaven!

  • The more time goes by! I become to be aware of Donald Trump truth heart and mind; he is a very hard working free man. He loves USA and wants to bring USA back on track! I think Mr. Donald Trump is going to do it! USA people need him as he needs the people to become a winner as president! I did change my mind as we see Donald Trump quickly learning to master a bigger space of mind! The world needs Donald Trump because it is all about business from private business to the business among people for the people. I really hope he will become the president of USA. Which it will be a hard job to clean up after Obama! Under Obama USA did became weaker!because Obama is not a politician or a business man。 Obama is a dreamer who did ridicule politics ending dancing Tango to forget his done mistakes! If Donald Trump was a president instead of Obama Mr, Gaddafi of Libya was life to day and no refugee was on the read to Europe and USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Mr. Gaddafi will become a better man helping millions of people! Mr. Gaddafi said before been shoot “ Don’t kill me brother” Gaddafi spook as a child before his soul went to heaven!

  • Robert Davis

    Donald Trump is absolutely on about everything including Netanyahu’s stupid statement about Trump’s ban on moslems. What does the PM want,an arab invasion in the US as the one he is protecting in Israel over the Temple Mount, Jezrusalem, the Jewish Provinces? However there is a point Trump is wrong it’s on a “peace agreement” which is indeed IMPOSSIBLE AND OBNOXIOUS since the “palestinians” are NOT the right Partner for Israel. Those “palestinians” are usurpers of the name and the territory, there never wqas “arab palestinians” since the palestinians were jews and thse arabs are only PUPPETS. You don’t make peace with puppets it’s USELESS AND OBNOXIOUS like buying something from someone who stole it. As to the orthodox jew Trump choose as an adviser I am not sure it’s the best choice as jews are not good on politics.

    • Robert Davis

      …Trump is absolutely right on about everything…

  • Peter Joffe

    We need a strong President. One who is not afraid to tell the truth and to fight for freedom. Our Military is not there to start wars, it is there to keep wars away from us. Pandering to Islam will end in civil wars all over the planet. More more we reward terrorism and hatred with political correctness, the closer we get to open conflict and one thing is for sure, maximum force will be needed to wipe out Islam.

  • stevenl

    D.T. needs to reflect much more on what he has said and plan to say in the future.

  • Uncle Sam

    PM Netanyahu should mind his own business and not tell the US people how to conduct their affairs. You think he would have learned his lesson from Obama’s interference in Israel. Unless he’s carrying water for some master besides those who elected him?

    • Bryna Weiss

      Netanyhu didn’t tell the U to do anything. He simply released a statement explaining Israeli policies. You reading glasses must be defective.

      • Steve Klein

        Israel / Netanayhu is not taking in any Syrian refugees; rightly so. Look what is happening in Europe. The prime minister was wrong to interject himself on a U.S. national security issue. I am not a Trump supporter but on this issue he is right. Netanyahu is wrong.

  • Lia

    At this stage Messrs Sanders, Trump, Cruz and Kasich and Mrs Clinton all like Israel and Mr Netanyahu (whom I personally adore). Didn’t Mr Obama also say all kinds of lovely things re Israel before he was voted in?

    • Sarah Olsen

      Lia, only Cruz never changed his support for Israel. Long before the election he always defended the Jewish state.

      • Lia

        But Mr Cruz is not president yet …

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