Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat leveled a full throttle attack against outgoing US President Barack Obama on Thursday, releasing a video statement accusing Obama of “surrendering to the Iranians and radical Islam,” as well as “abandoning Israel.”
While Barkat has made no secret of his opposition to the Obama administration’s policies toward Israel, in the brief video he uses his strongest language to date to condemn the American president, and beseech all Israelis to support President-elect Donald Trump.
Barkat sent the email with hopes of gaining letters of support for a national pro-Trump campaign.
“My fellow citizens,” Barkat said in Hebrew during the one-minute clip, “during the last eight years the Obama administration has pushed for a building settlement freeze, he has surrendered to the Iranians and radical Islam, and has abandoned Israel to a hostile UN resolution.
“This week, president Donald Trump enters the White House,” he continued. “Let’s all welcome him together as our friend, thereby conveying a clear message to the world: Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided capital!” Barkat concluded by asking Israelis to “join me, and sign a letter supporting president Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and his decision to support the State of Israel. Let’s make the US and Israel’s relationship great again!” Reaction to Barkat’s email campaign was swift, if not mixed. While some Jerusalemites echoed the right-wing mayor’s sentiments, others took issue with what they deemed partisan and unsolicited advice, in emailed responses to him.
“Yes, I believe the US Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, but I have an issue with Mayor Barkat’s wording, and the fact that the embassy location has become the one and only issue for some,” wrote Marni Rochester.
“I also have issues with Obama’s foreign policy, and have been vocal about it. But I think this letter, especially the wording, is inappropriate. And do people really think Trump will move the embassy? And do they really think he’s a true friend of Israel? I guess time will tell.”
Shoshana Baumgarten used harsher language to denounce Trump and Israelis who follow him unequivocally. “As an American citizen who voted against Trump, and fears his presidency with every fiber of my being, I felt bile coming up in my throat when I received this message,” wrote Baumgarten.
“I think Israelis are so stupid when it comes to how they view the Israeli-American relationship, and the fact that they are pro-Trump and think he is their savior.”