US Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks to the 42nd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in San Diego.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel has a much longer connection to Shiloh than Americans have to Manhattan, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said on Wednesday, making no apology for holding a fund-raiser in that West Bank settlement a day earlier.
“I would happily go to Shiloh anytime,” he said. “I think it is very important that as Americans we show support for Israelis in their capacity to build their neighborhoods in their own country.”
Huckabee, who stressed he did not view Judea and Samaria as occupied territory, said Israel – with a 3,500-year historic tie to Shiloh – has a much stronger link there than Americans have to Manhattan, a connection dating back only four centuries.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee supports the West Bank settlement of Shilo
“It would be as if I would come and say we need to end our 400-year occupation of Manhattan,” he said. “I think most Americans would think that laughable.”
The former Arkansas governor said he felt it was “the right thing to stand with Israel in making sure they have the right to secure their homeland with safe and defensible borders.
“It is interesting to me that our government has put more pressure on the Israeli government to stop building bedrooms in their own neighborhoods, than on Iran to stop building bombs,” he said.
“Nobody has ever been injured by a neighborhood, but they sure as heck have been injured by Hamas and Hezbollah rockets being fired from Lebanon and Gaza.”
Huckabee, on his second trip to the country this year, arrived on Tuesday and was scheduled to leave late on Wednesday evening. In addition to the fund-raiser, he met on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials.
Netanyahu, careful about not wanting to be seen as taking sides in the current US presidential campaign, released a picture of his meeting with Huckabee, but gave no details about the content of the hourlong meeting.
US Republican candidate Hucakbee says iranian nuclear deal is "unacceptable"
Huckabee, who has known Netanyahu for some 20-years, said he wanted to make clear that “there was no implicit or explicit endorsement just because he met with me.” The prime minister, Huckabee said, “made very clear he has no intention of getting in the middle of American politics.”
Huckabee, during the press conference, pointedly refrained from backing a two-state solution, saying that the final disposition needed to be determined by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
“I think the notion of two governments working on the same piece of real estate is unrealistic, unworkable, and I’ve never endorsed or supported that notion,” he said.
If the Palestinians want peace they should “openly recognize Israel’s right to exist, excise from their text books the things that are derogatory toward Jews, and issue a full-throated denunciation of terrorism when it happens against Jews and Israel,” Huckabee said.
Regarding the Iranian nuclear deal, he said that it was the equivalent of giving bullets to someone holding a loaded gun to your head, and then helping him load the weapon.
He said he would “most certainly undo” the Iranian nuclear deal were he elected president. According to Huckabee, the agreement simply puts a longer fuse on what is still going to be their [Iran’s] desire to have weapons of mass destruction and nuclear capacity.