Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida, on October 12.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s top two advisers on Israel and the Jewish world, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, laid out their closing argument to voters on Wednesday on why the New York businessman is best for the Jewish state.
Describing America’s bond with Israel as “based upon shared values of democracy, freedom of speech, respect for minorities, and cherishing life,” the two advisers – longtime friends and lawyers of the GOP nominee – reiterated his promise to move Washington’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
As president, they said, Trump also would also cut off funds to a United Nations Human Rights Council that is increasingly hostile to Israel; label the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement “inherently anti-Semitic” and order a Justice Department investigation of its branches across US college campuses; reject the notion that Israel is occupying Palestinian lands; and support whatever path Israel chooses to take with the Palestinians, whether it be toward a two-state solution or not.
“The US should support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians without preconditions and will oppose all Palestinian, European and other efforts to bypass direct negotiations between parties in favor of an imposed settlement,” they said in a joint statement.
“Any solutions imposed on Israel by outside parties, including by the United Nations Security Council, should be opposed. We support Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself against terror attacks upon its people and against alternative forms of warfare being waged upon it legally, economically, culturally and otherwise.”
Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, also opposes any actions by international bodies that would "impose" terms for peace. Clinton supports a two-state solution as the only path to a lasting peace for Israel, aggressively opposes the BDS movement and supports increasing US military cooperation with and assistance the Jewish state.
Greenblatt and Friedman called a recently signed memorandum of understanding between the US and Israel, worth $38 billion over 10 years, a “good first step.” But said Trump would not limit Congress from sending additional funds to Israel beyond the defense agreement.
“The American people value our close friendship and alliance with Israel – culturally, religiously and politically,” they wrote. “While other nations have required US troops to defend them, Israelis have always defended their own country by themselves and only ask for military equipment assistance and diplomatic support to do so.”
Trump has called the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, one of the worst deals in history. His advisers wrote that Trump would “counteract Iran’s ongoing violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and their noncompliance with past and present sanctions, as well as the agreements they signed, and implement tough, new sanctions when needed to protect the world and Iran’s neighbors from its continuing nuclear and non-nuclear threats.”
Clinton had endorsed the nuclear accord, but also calls for strict enforcement of the agreement. Her top foreign policy aides tell The Jerusalem Post that she is concerned with the "out years" of the deal and plans to carefully consider her options as president as that phase approaches.
Neither Greenblatt nor Friedman had political or foreign policy experience before being tapped by Trump, also a policy novice, as his top advisers. They called the experience “exhilarating” and a “blessing,” and thanked Trump for the opportunity.
They urged those “who are true friends of the State of Israel and who believe that the State of Israel and the United States of America have an unbreakable friendship” to consider Trump’s positions.