Hier: Trump’s Kurd policy a ‘major blunder'

Simon Wiesenthal Center head said among Democratic Presidential candidates, Biden is the strong friend of Israel

Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Marvin Hier (photo credit: DANNY MOLOSHOK/REUTERS)
Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Marvin Hier
Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the LA-based Simon Wiesenthal Center who offered a prayer at US President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration, strongly criticized Trump for abandoning the Kurds and for advocating an isolationist US foreign policy.
Heir also told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Tuesday that when he surveys the Democratic Party’s field of presidential candidates, Joe Biden is the one he can say is unquestionably a friend of Israel.
“My uncle was a captain of the Democratic Party on [New York’s] Lower East Side in the 1940s and 1950s,” he said. “Is it the same party today? It is not, and we should be concerned about that. Because many of the people running for president of the United States do not sound like they would be great friends of Israel. And this is a concern to me.”
Asked which of the Democratic candidates could be considered a friend, he replied: “Joe Biden.
“Biden is a friend of Israel, he has proven it,” Hier said. “There is no question about it.”
Reminded that Biden was often at odds with Israel as Barack Obama’s vice president, Hier said that it would be “over the top” and “not true” to say he is anti-Israel.
“He is a strong friend of Israel, and will – in my opinion – continue to be a strong friend of Israel,” he said. “Can I say the same thing about Bernie Sanders, and about Elizabeth Warren? I cannot and will not. They are not the [Henry] Scoop Jacksons, the Hubert Humphreys, the Ted Kennedys – this is a different generation of Democrats.”
Hier said that “we need more of the political thinking of Biden, than of Sanders and Warren – I think they are forgetting one concept – the world needs a sheriff.”
Hier said that the tragic world history of the 20th century shows why the world needs a “democratic country that wears the [sheriff] badge proudly and – yes – has a very large defense budget so in times of emergency it can do something to help save the planet.”
The world, he said, “needs someone who can protect smaller nations who can’t afford to defend themselves.”
Reminded that it is Trump, and not only Progressives, who want to cut down US military expenditures abroad, Hier said it is “ridiculous” to say that the US should withdraw into itself, “whether it is President Trump saying it or someone else. I believe the world will always need a sheriff.”
Hier said that while he and the center he leads have been very supportive of what Trump has done for Israel in terms of moving the embassy to Jerusalem and giving the Jewish state consistent support, this does not mean they can’t be critical of the president when they feel it is needed.
“Yes, we salute President Trump for what he did about Jerusalem, and for his consistent support to the State of Israel, but when we feel he is making a mistake, the Simon Wiesenthal Center will express itself, we will not stay neutral because we have a loyalty because the president has done a great thing on Jerusalem.”
Hier said that just as the Wiesenthal Center was critical of Ronald Reagan for going to the German military cemetery at Bitburg in 1985, even though he was a president that opened the gates of the Soviet Union to a million Jews, it was also critical when Trump made controversial comments following the riots in Charlottesville in 2017, and is critical now of the “desertion of the Kurds,” something he termed a “major blunder.”
“The Kurds deserve the support of the United States, they have earned it,” he said. “When people have been loyal to the United States, the United States has a responsibility to be loyal to them – we shouldn’t tolerate any change, that would be the wrong signal, and in the end it would be catastrophic because whoever is a close friend of the United States might say, “Is this how you treat people who are loyal.”
Hier said that he made this position known to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he met him on Friday for 45 minutes during Pompeo’s brief trip to Jerusalem.