Netanyahu rejects Trump's remarks about Muslims -- but won't cancel meeting with him later this month

I’m surprised at how much heat Netanyahu’s taking for meeting with him. Maybe, after his last-second turnout pitch in the Knesset elections earlier this year, even the faintest appearance of endorsing prejudice against Muslims is destined to set off his opponents.


As I write this, nearly one-third of the Knesset has signed a letter asking him to cancel the meeting. Relations with Israel under President Trump are going to be amazing. So amazing you won’t believe it, that I can tell you.

Left- and right-wing Israeli politicians alike, as well as Israeli Arab lawmakers, condemned Trump’s remarks and said he should be barred from visiting. Ahmad Tibi, a member of parliament from Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority, said he had asked for the “neo-Nazi” not to be admitted to the Knesset.

That call was echoed by Omer Bar-Lev of the main centre-left opposition party, the Zionist Union. “It is inappropriate for any Israeli official to meet (Trump) when he comes to visit,” Bar-Lev said.

The censure was joined by Likud officials. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a senior Likud lawmaker and Netanyahu confidant, described Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims as harmful from an Israeli and U.S. standpoint.

“I recommend fighting terrorist and extremist Islam, but I would not declare a boycott of, ostracism against or war on Muslims in general,” Steinitz told Israel’s Army Radio.

Netanyahu’s office tweeted this morning that he rejects Trump’s plan to bar Muslims from the U.S., but per BuzzFeed, the meeting between them is still on for December 28th. “[T]he Prime Minister decided earlier this year on a uniform policy,” his spokesman said, “to agree to meet with all presidential candidates from either party who visit Israel and ask for a meeting.” And really, what else can he do? He’s not going to snub the frontrunner for the Republican nomination and risk alienating the other party when his relations with the Democrat-in-chief are already poisoned. The real suspense is whether he and Trump will do a photo op together or whether this is going to be one of those enter-through-the-side-door-exit-through-the-back-door diplomatic visits. Trump won’t like that, but what does Netanyahu care?


By the way, if I’m not mistaken, this is mentioned in the Book of Revelation:

Republican US Presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump is strongly considering a visit to the Temple Mount when he comes to Israel for the first time at the end of the month.

A source closely connected to organizing the trip to Israel confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Trump’s staff is looking into the logistics of visiting the holy site and point of conflict between Israel and the Arab world…

MK Taleb Abu Arrar (Joint List) said of Trump’s plan to visit the Temple Mount: “If Trump the racist plans to visit Al-Aksa, the holiest place in the world for Muslims, to harm the sensitivities of people against whom he incites, he and Netanyahu will be responsible.

“Such a visit will set the whole region on fire, I am warning,” Abu Arrar added.

Palestinians launched the second intifada after Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount 15 years ago. Trump visiting it now, at a moment when Palestinians are already hysterical with conspiracy theories about Israeli designs on the site, might bring about the actual apocalypse. Which, strangely, feels like the right ending for his campaign. Having him quietly drop out after finishing 10 points behind Cruz in Iowa would be an anticlimax unbefitting his grandiosity. Inspiring a nuclear exchange in the Middle East would be a send-off on the proper scale. Big fireworks everywhere. The biggest!


Israel’s not the only country where people are grumbling about Trump visiting. More than 300,000 Brits have signed an online petition demanding that he be barred from entering the UK in retaliation for his policy proposal about Muslims. That’s noteworthy if for no other reason than that it inspired an excellent point from Piers Morgan(!): “Have any of the 200k+ Brits who’ve signed the petition to ban Trump signed any petition to ban UK terror suspects returning from Iraq/Syria?” You can tell a lot about people’s priorities based on how they choose to signal their virtue.

Here’s an ad Trump cut two years ago for Netanyahu. Your exit question is inspired by Rush Limbaugh, whose Facebook page now features this argument:

Hamas is a terrorist group. Do you know that Hamas came out in opposition to Trump’s statement? That puts the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, and everybody else in the establishment and Obama on the same side Hamas is on.

Netanyahu’s on the same side as Hamas?

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