Mike Huckabee, a key figure in the Republican party, discussed the abduction of an American-Israeli teen with UWI and other pro-Israel organizations and media.
As soon as Mike Huckabee arrived in Israel this week – even before taking time to freshen up after a long flight – he paid a visit to the family of abducted Israeli-American teenager Naftali Frankel.
“It was an extraordinary visit,” Huckabee told the press over breakfast Tuesday morning at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, saying that he went to the Frankel home to offer encouragement while they endure “the worst nightmare any parent could have.”
Instead, “they gave me strength,” he said. “They are a remarkable family. Their faith gives them optimism.”
No Announcement on Presidential Race
Regarding his political future, Huckabee, a popular Fox news channel host, said he has not decided whether to enter the US presidential race of 2016. He was a candidate in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, and polls indicate that he would be a formidable competitor.
But if he were president now, while Israel is searching for three boys kidnapped by Hamas terrorists nearly two weeks ago, the “first thing” he would do is to make a public statement, rather than “sending a third-tier representative [State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki] to say that both sides should call for restraint.”
“One of the sides is a kidnapped child. The other is a kidnapper. The only sides are evil and good,” he stated.
While the kidnapping of the boys as well as the recent abduction of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls are urgent issues, “Naftali Frankel is a US citizen and that makes it very different,” Huckabee said. Americans “have a constitutional duty that the whole world understands that this takes it to a new level.”
BDS is an ‘Irrational, Antisemitic Effort’
Huckabee’s plans this week include a visit to the SodaStream factory “over in Judea,” he said, using the original historic name of the area widely referred to as the “West Bank.” He reminded the gathering that SodaStream had been targeted by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, although, he said, the opposite should have occurred.
“It should be obvious to anyone,” he continued, “that the company provides extraordinary opportunity not only for work but for social gatherings. Their kids [Jewish and Arab] play together…. It should be given national and international awards instead of being targeted by BDS, which is inexplicable to me.”
He described BDS as an “irrational, anti-Semitic effort on the part of some organizations and nations.”
As for the recent boycott against the Jewish state declared by the Presbyterian Church, Huckabee said he was “embarrassed for them. I wondered who could be behind such an absurd decision,” he said, adding that he knows of individuals and member churches that are moving away from the denomination as a result.
Releasing Jailed Terrorists Sets a ‘Dangerous Precedent’
Huckabee condemned the recent exchange of American captive soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five prisoners.
“Sometimes we have to separate our emotions from reality,” Huckabee said. The swap involved not five bicycle thieves, but five “dangerous terrorists,” he stressed.
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
The former Arkansas governor described his passion for the State of Israel, which began in the summer of 1973, when, at the age of 17, he visited for the first time. It was a “remarkable and life-changing experience,” he said, adding that he had also traveled throughout the Middle East.
“There is no place on earth quite so captivating as Israel,” he declared, noting the “incredible transformation.”
“We’ve see the desert bloom. We’ve seen the economy grow stunningly,” to become “a real economic superpower…with extraordinary advances in health care and technology.”
According to the former Arkansas governor, “the People of America, I believe, overwhelmingly are supportive of Israel and of the families of these three [kidnapped boys].”
“Like America, it is not perfect,” he conceded, but it is “the only country in the Middle East…[where] the people control their government rather than the government controlling their people.”
Huckabee Slams UN and Palestinian Unity Government
Asked about the new Palestinian unity government, Huckabee affirmed:
“I think any American who cherishes freedom and opposes terrorism is appalled.”
He cannot understand how the U.S. could “work with and acknowledge such a government,” and believes that the Americans should cease all funding while a partnership with the terror group Hamas exists.
“It is beyond me why there is no international outrage,” he added, citing the “uselessness of the United Nations.”
The UN has become “a forum for hatred, bigotry and antisemitism,” and it should no longer be funded, he asserted.
Author: Atara Beck
Staff Writer/Editor, United with Israel