US Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called on all those running for the White House in 2016 to make a solidarity visit to Israel to show their “disgust” for the Iran deal and support for the Jewish state, including the West Bank settlements.
“I wish that every candidate, Republican or Democrat would come to Israel to show solidarity with the country that most reflects the mirror image of the American spirit, to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to show their extreme disgust with any deal with Iran,” the former Arkansas governor said.
He made his statement at an unusual campaign stop for any presidential candidate, the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, which is located in the Binyamin region.
“If you are going to visit Israel, you should visit all of Israel and that would include Judea and Samaria,” Huckabee told reporters.
He spoke with them prior to a fund-raising dinner for his presidential run, that was hosted in Shiloh by Miami-based Simon Falic, who with his brothers owns Duty Free Americas, Inc., the largest duty-free operator in the US. News of the fundraiser was first reported in Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post.
As Huckabee stood next to the microphones and cameras, he looked at the round tables with white tablecloths, blue napkins and clear wine glasses that were set up at the entry way to Shiloh’s archeological site where Biblical scholars believe the tabernacle stood before the Temple was built in Jerusalem.
Huckabee said he was glad if his event cast attention on the sacred spot of biblical significance that has been preserved for people of faith.
As a long time supporter of eventual Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, Huckabee said, “I have recognized Judea and Samaria as part of Israel” and, therefore, had no issue with visiting the area, which he holds is vital for the security of the Jewish state. He is a frequent visitor to West Bank settlements and often meets with high level Israeli politicians.
Huckabee is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his office on Wednesday.
An official in the Prime Minister’s Office stressed that Netanyahu’s policy is to meet with all visiting presidential candidates. The official said all the meetings follow the same framework in order to avoid any appearance of preference for one candidate over the other.
The official said each of the meetings is allotted the same amount of time; that no statements by the two men together are made either before or afterward; and that the PMO issues a statement after each meeting – along with a picture – simply noting that the meeting took place.
Over the last number of months Netanyahu has met with a number of presidential hopefuls, including Huckabee, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz. The only candidate Netanyahu did not meet when he was here in December, because of scheduling issues, was Ben Carson.
Netanyahu has been accused of openly favoring Republican candidate Mitt Romney over US President Barack Obama during the 2012 elections, accusations he has denied.
The prime minister spoke out sharply on Tuesday during a tour to the IDF's Northern Command Headquarters against the Iranian deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program because he believes it will leave it with the ability to produce nuclear weapons. Huckabee discussed his outrage at the deal, particularly since the Iranian regime continues to call for America’s destruction.
“The US is entering into what is an incredibly dangerous agreement. We have essentially surrendered and raised the white flag to a terrorist state for reasons that are inexplicable to me,” he said.
As a result of the deal, Huckabee said, Iran would receive billions in cash to purchase more weapons.
“Every rocket that flew out of Gaza last year had a postage stamp marked Iran on it,” he said. The deal, he warned, provides “them with funding to do more of their nefarious work.”
Huckabee said he stood behind controversial comments he made last month in which he accused Obama of “marching Israel to the door of the oven” by supporting the Iran deal. Opponents of the former Arkansas governor immediately attacked him for inappropriately referring the Holocaust.
Huckabee replied that it was the Iranians who had invoked Holocaust imagery when talking about their desire eradicate the Jewish state.
“They have said that they developed missiles that will deliver Israel to the Holocaust,” Huckabee said, adding that he has received support for his Holocaust comments from survivors of the Nazi death camps, rabbis and the Zionist Organization of America.
(Tables set for fundraiser, Photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff