Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump said Thursday night that President Barack Obama’s treatment of Israel was a “disgrace” and that he could not understand how some Jewish voters could still support him.
Trump was speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News’ Hannity. The night before, in a town hall hosted by MSNBC, he suggested that while it would be difficult to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians because Palestinians had been indoctrinated to hate Jews, he would be “neutral” about blaming either side if he were to play peacemaker.
From Fox News:
HANNITY: Let me go to the issue of comments you made last night. We’re talking about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
TRUMP: Right. Toughest deal to make of any kind of deal that I’ve ever seen is Israel/Palestine.
HANNITY: Because it’s such a mess.
TRUMP: Tough issue. The Palestinians and the Israelis don’t exactly — they’re not exactly meshing.
TRUMP: And you know, one of the reasons that I said it last night — the toughest single deal to make is getting them together. And I’ve been told by some Israelis that no matter who it is, you’ll never do it. I’m going to give it a shot, but I will say it is probably of all the deals, right…
HANNITY: You did mention these kids that are funded by Hamas and Hezbollah.
TRUMP: They grow up hating.
HANNITY: They’ve grown up to hate Israel.
TRUMP: That’s why it’s so tough, they grew up hating. They grow up — things were told to me that are incredible and I won’t even say…
HANNITY: How important, though, is our alliance? They’re our number one ally in the region, and that alliance has been, well, fractured in a big way.
TRUMP: Israel is so important. What Obama has done to Israel is a disgrace. How they even talk to us is hard to believe. But Israel — and how they talk to Obama — you know, I have friends, they support Obama. I said, How do you do it? It’s almost like they do it out of habit.
They agree he’s been terrible. You look at what he’s done to Israel with just this Iran deal, which is such a terrible deal. He has been the worst thing that’s ever happened to Israel. Now, a lot of my friends that are Jewish do not support him any longer, but I still have some that do. I say, How can you do it…
HANNITY: He’s been horrible to Israel.
TRUMP: You know what? I think it’s habit. They do it out of habit.
HANNITY: What do you think of Prime Minister Netanyahu?
TRUMP: I think he’s good. I like him.
TRUMP: He’s always been — he’s strong. He’s always been good to me. He asked me to do a commercial for him. I was his only celebrity that he asked to do a commercial, Would you do a commercial, when he ran for office. But I think he’s very good. I think he’s been treated very, very badly by Obama.
In December, Trump appeared to blame Israel for the faltering peace process; in January, he backed moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.