Rep. Jim McDermott on Israeli Government, Trump: ‘They’re Running Their Own War Against Us and Our Policies’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meeting at the Trump Tower in New York, September 25, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Kobi Gideon/GPO/GETTY

A Democratic congressman told MSNBC Monday that Israel and President-elect Donald J. Trump are waging “war” with the government of the United States by rebuking President Barack Obama for failing to veto last Friday’s United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Jewish state.

“They’re running their own war against us and our policies,” said Rep. James McDermott (D-WA), who retires from Congress in January at the end of this session, after he was asked about charges made on multiple media outlets by Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, that Obama had orchestrated Friday’s condemnation.

The Israelis, McDermott claimed, have been frustrated by the President’s reluctance to support their agenda fully: “Barack has pushed back and they are angry about it.”

The resolution, which declares the Israeli presence in all of the West Bank illegal — including Jerusalem — goes beyond UN Security Council Resolution 242, the original resolution setting the international framework for the territory, which Israel captured in a defensive war against several surrounding Arab states in 1967. That resolution envisioned that negotiations would leave Israel with some of the territory it had won. The new resolution reverses that understanding.

Ambassador Dermer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday’s The Lead that the Israeli government had evidence that the Obama administration worked behind the scenes to make sure the resolution was introduced. The U.S. then ensured the resolution passed by abstaining rather than vetoing the resolution. The Obama administration had vetoed a similar proposal in 2011.

In the days before Christmas, Israel reached out to President-elect Trump for help. Trump then called Egyptian President al-Sisi and convinced him to withdraw the resolution, which his government had agreed to propose. But by Friday, the resolution was back in play, now sponsored by New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia, and Venezuela, and it passed 14-0-1.

After Tapper told the ambassador that the Obama administration denies any role in bringing the resolution to the Security Council, Dermer said Israel has the evidence proving the contrary, which it will pass to Trump.

“We will present that evidence to the new administration at the appropriate time in the appropriate channel,” Dermer said.

Dermer’s all-out media offensive, which included national radio interviews, in addition to his many television appearances, was combined with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own comments about Obama’s role: “Friends don’t take friends to the UN Security Council.

McDermott told the MSNBC anchor that the Israelis reached out to Trump and partnered with him as he mounted his own war on the American government.

The Congressman called Trump’s tweeting “the air war.”

“What we are seeing is the beginning of a war against the American government. We’re seeing the air war right now, and we are seeing all these tweets, all of these kind of innuendo and half-stories. All this stuff is to create tension, so when the President comes in on the 20th, he can begin the ground war,” he said. “The American people are being subjected to a campaign of anxiety production, and it really is disturbing to watch.”

The “ground” war is when Trump’s political appointees land in their federal government assignments and begin the process of fulfilling Trump’s campaign promises, he said.

McDermott is best known as the Congressman who lost a lawsuit brought by Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and was ordered to pay Boehner $850,000 in damages and legal fees after a judge ruled that in 1997 the Congressman had accepted an illegally obtained recording of a conference call between Boehner, Speaker Newt Gingrich, and other Republican congressmen. McDermott then shared details of the call with reporters.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.