Huckabee slammed the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel, describing it as “unnecessarily and irrationally hostile,” while among the American people, Netanyahu is “extraordinarily popular and greatly respected.”
In Israel for his 44th visit since 1973, when he came for the first time as a 17-year-old, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, one of Israel’s staunchest friends, addressed a number of venues in various locations – including Judea and Samaria, where he always makes at least one stop – expressing opposition to the recent hostility displayed by the Obama administration as well as optimism for a significant change in January.
Addressing a press gathering at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on Wednesday morning, Huckabee stressed that Washington should not “meddle” in the affairs of a sovereign nation, referring in part to the recent US abstention from an anti-Israel UN resolution and US Secretary John Kerry’s speech at the State Department attacking Israeli settlement policy.
There’s a “responsibility to speak up on policy that it would or would not support, and has every right to intervene if it makes a decision is made that’s harmful to the US,” he said. Iran, for example, is “highly dangerous. It’s “beyond my comprehension as to why we [the current US administration] ever thought we could trust Iran.”
By law, the US embassy should have moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem already in 1995, Huckabee said, supporting President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to do just that.
“I think Trump will do it. It’s the capital of Israel. It always has been the capital for the Jewish people…and for no one else,” he said, using the Hebrew name – Yerushalayim – when discussing the eternal, undivided Jewish capital.
‘Astounded’ by False News Reports
The governor was “astounded” by the news report that went viral several weeks ago, alleging that he had expected to be chosen as Trump’s ambassador to Israel. In fact, he said, he happened to have been with the Trump the very same day that the story broke, and the issue of “ambassadorship had never come up in the conversation. I have no idea where it came from. It didn’t come from Trump, it didn’t come from me. Someone made it up.”
“If that’s the worst thing that’s said about me, I’m OK,” he quipped, also stating repeatedly that Trump’s choice of David Friedman was an excellent one.
Asked about threats of violence and confrontation with the US from the Palestinians, among others, Huckabee stated, “They’ll get over it,” adding that the US “cannot be held hostage by the potential dislike” of certain nations.
Giving Up Land Will Not Lessen the Hate
“The enemies of Israel can’t hate Israel any more than they already do,” he stated. “Giving up real estate” – i.e. territory – and other [peacemaking] gestures would not make them hate Israel – or America – any less.”
Furthermore, any country that would, for example, cut ties with the US over American ties with Israel would be the one to suffer the consequences, not America, he declared. “We cannot look like we’re cowering.”
Asked by a reporter if the he considers the Obama administration to be pro-Israel, he replied that indeed it is not, adding that it has been “unnecessarily and irrationally hostile” to the Jewish state as well as to its traditional allies.
Indeed, the two countries with which Obama enhanced ties are Iran and Cuba, Huckabee noted. “What does that say?”
In conversation with United with Israel (UWI), the topic of the Electoral College versus the popular vote was raised. Could it be that Trump won more of the popular vote than acknowledged, considering the number of illegal residents allowed to vote, especially in California?
“We don’t know,” he replied, but “many of us feel it would be appropriate to ask [a voter] for ID.” he said, going on to praise the Electoral College system, which offers representation to the entire country, as “part of the genius of the American system.” Pointing to what he apparently views as hypocrisy of Democrats who claimed the Trump victory was unfair, Huckabee said he could not imagine Hillary Clinton winning the electoral vote, losing the popular vote and then refusing to accept the presidency.
Huckabee said he was offered a post in the incoming administration, but turned it down. He elaborated in the UWI interview, explaining that he speaks all over the world for various groups, among other activities that he enjoys and which he would have to give up in order to accept such a position.
“I wrote 12 books and want to write more. I don’t want to live in Washington; I like living where I live, doing what I do, bringing groups to Israel. I couldn’t do that as a cabinet secretary…
“I ran for president and I lost. I gave a year of my life and I need to recover,” he said.
As for the extreme viciousness of the 2016 election campaign, “social media contributed a lot to it,” he stated. Still, “one of the things we need to endorse is freedom of speech, even disgusting speech… otherwise it can lead to a dangerous path.”
Huckabee told the crowd that he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – “a personal friend” – the previous day, but that the conversation was not for the record. He is still “extraordinarily popular and greatly respected in the US,” Huckabee affirmed.
In 2015, Huckabee was honored at an event where he became the three-millionth member of UWI, the largest pro-Israel community.
By: Atara Beck, United with Israel
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