Donald Trump’s adviser on U.S.-Israeli relations told Haaretz Sunday that the Obama administration “should be ashamed of their misguided reaction” to remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a Facebook video published over the weekend, Netanyahu said that support for the removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as part of a two-state peace deal with the Palestinian Authority, was the equivalent of advocating for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu makes exactly the right point. The Palestinians want Israel to absorb countless ‘refugees’ – people who never lived in Israel and whose ancestors were never forced to leave Israel – while their so-called ‘state’ is required to be, as the Nazis said, Judenrein (devoid of Jews).
“It is an entirely racist and anti-Semitic position,” David Friedman, the Trump adviser, related in an email exchange.
“Arabs live and work side by side with Israelis in the State of Israel. They attend universities, enjoy the strongest human and civil rights (including women’s rights) in the region, and have access to world class health care. There is no better place for Arabs to live in the Middle East than in the State of Israel. With this background in mind, the Prime Minister of Israel correctly observes that the Palestinian demand to remove all Jews from their ancestral homeland in Judea and Samaria is nothing short of an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The State Department should be ashamed of their misguided reaction to Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks,” Friedman said.
“The United States frequently refers to the ‘two state solution’ as two states for two peoples. The Palestinian response – which the US State Department refuses to challenge – is ‘one state for two peoples (Israel) and a second state just for Palestinian Arabs.’ It is no wonder that the State Department under Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have lost credibility in the region.”
A video Netanyahu released in which he says Palestinian leaders want their future state to be ethnically cleansed of Jews.
The Obama administration responded angrily on Friday to the video posted on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page in which he indicated that those advocating for the uprooting of Israeli West Bank settlements as part of two-state peace deal were calling for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.
“Israel’s diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace” Netanyahu said in the video. “Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous. It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous.”
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau reacted to the video in a press conference, saying that “using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.”
Trudeau added that the Obama administration, as well as all previous American administrations and the entire international community, believe that the continued building of settlements is an obstacle to peace.
Echoing Friedman, Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Overseas’ Israel chapter promised that the absence of such “interference” in Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians “will be a major change under a Trump administration.”
“The Prime Minister’s statement was entirely appropriate and his reference to ethnic cleansing is not out of order in any respect,” said Zell, a resident of the Gush Etzion settlement of Tekoa, who also serves as vice president of the international organization Republicans Overseas….