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May 2, 2016 3:48 pm

Trump: A Lot of My Jewish Friends Say, ‘You Will Never Be Able to Make Deal’ Between Israel, Palestinians

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Donald Trump addressing the AIPAC policy conference in March. Photo: Twitter.

Donald Trump addressing the AIPAC policy conference in March. Photo: Twitter.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump told a rally in Indiana on Sunday that “a lot of [his] Jewish friends” tell him he “will never be able” to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the Jewish Insider reported.

During a speech to more than 2,000 supporters at the Indiana Theater in Terre Haute ahead of Tuesday’s primary race, Trump first attacked the United Nations for not “going in and making [such] a deal,” which he called “probably the all-time hard deal to make,” and then criticized the Palestinians:

You know, they grow up as young children hating, hating, hating Israel. I think the deal can be made. But we got to be smart and we got to use our best people; gotta use me, but we got to use our best people. And I know the best people. Now, with that being said, some of the smartest people I know from Israel say ‘We’d love to make the deal.’ — you know, I’ve never met a person from Israel that didn’t want to make the deal. But it is just a very hard deal to make because it’s years of — of whatever. But I’d love to be able to make that deal.

These remarks came in the wake of Trump’s first major foreign policy speech, which he delivered on Wednesday in Washington, DC. During that address, which – as when he spoke at the AIPAC policy conference in March – he read from a script on a teleprompter, the real estate mogul and reality TV star did not talk about Israel.

He did, however, discuss the threat of radical Islam. Containing its spread, he said, “must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world.”

According to a report in the UK’s Independent on Sunday, Jewish and Israeli attitudes towards Trump are mixed, with concern on both sides of the political divide.

Israeli left-wing academic and among the founders of the Peace Now movement, Galia Golan, was quoted in the piece as saying, “I would expect [Trump] to be very anti-Arab, not because he’s trying to please the Jewish lobby, but rather because he’s bigoted. He will probably look on Arabs as inferior. I suspect he would be a strong supporter of Israel out of disdain for Arabs as a people. Israel could expect the continuation of all the military aid it gets and support at the UN.”

Also quoted was Middle East expert Prof. Shmuel Sandler, whose conservative views, too, are at odds with Trump — for example, where his pronouncements of “America First” and attacks on consecutive US governments for their involvement in foreign affairs are concerned.

“[He] is an unknown,” Sandler told the Independent. “I think he himself doesn’t know what he would do, but the worrying thing is that he is speaking the language of isolationism. The US has been disengaging in the region under [President Barack] Obama and we want this to stop. Israel greatly needs the US in the region. Isolationism would leave the door open for Iran and Russia.”

Then there is Dr. Walid Phares.

Phares, who has served as a Middle East and terrorism expert on Fox News for the past nine years, was recently named as a Trump foreign policy adviser. According to the Independent, Phares tried to allay both concerns in an interview with the London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat.

“There is no evidence [of his being a racist]… indeed, the opposite is the case. His companies have a large number of employees of various ethnicities and Muslims, and women have a central role in his companies. An important share of his investors are from the Arab and Muslim worlds and he has Arab and Muslim partners,” Phares said.

In addition, Phares said, Trump will “be a fair mediator. He has good relations with the Jewish community and credit with the Israelis; he’s the only one capable of making a balanced peace that achieves the interests of both sides. He knows solving the Palestinian issue is a guarantee for achieving stability in the region.”

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