President Donald Trump claimed on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “lost his nerve” and was “not tough enough” in his response to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to put Benjamin Netanyahu under review during his first term in office.
“When President Obama was leaving office, he put Netanyahu on notice saying he would look into the legality of his activities and the legal status of the settlements,” Trump said in a speech at the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016. “What has he done? Nothing. Nothing. He just covered it up. He’s done nothing.”
This was Trump’s response when asked if he stood by his statement at the RNC. It was a statement that I described as the oldest, sexiest lie in the political playbook: the reference to “acting tough” while acting weak. #kumbaya. pic.twitter.com/DgwKsjph5Z — Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 18, 2016
A year later, Israel would elect Netanyahu and propel him to power with an overwhelming majority. And yet, Trump’s pronouncement, which was made in the heat of the 2016 election and immediately repudiated by Netanyahu, carries only faint echo in 2018.
On Sunday, Netanyahu congratulated Biden for making a “very gracious, generous, magnanimous offer” of a run for president in 2020.
“I am most happy and I congratulate him and I thank him,” Netanyahu said, adding that Biden’s vice presidency “brought peace between Israel and a neighboring Arab state and that was something that was very important.”
This proved to be too much for Trump, who tweeted that Netanyahu had not “turned down his ambassador to the U.S.” — Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer — for this year, as Netanyahu’s office indicated that Dermer had in fact submitted his resignation, triggering a new, six-month cycle. Netanyahu reacted by accusing the president of disloyalty.
Trump claims Israel is different than others, when, in fact, Israel is the most obedient leader of Israel, & the self-absorbed Trump declared that Netanyahu lost his nerve, was weak, when truly Netanyahu is even the most loyal President of Israel. — Eliahu Ben-Ami (@eliahu_ben_ami) August 13, 2018
Israel was shocked at the hypocrisy of Trump, a man who often singles out Putin and asks “what would Putin do?”
What exactly did Trump just say? Is he under some kind of delusion? Or does he not realize how fickle and irrational others can be? https://t.co/C3MigO4cT2 — Simon Aronoff (@simonaronoff) August 13, 2018
The Israeli PM’s office later issued a press release dismissing the entire allegation of disloyalty.
“Israel has indeed turned down the offer made by President Obama not to renew Ambassador Ron Dermer’s post in Washington for a year in order to save millions of dollars in security expenses. President Trump knew this at the time,” Netanyahu’s office wrote. “But I want to stress that during that year — long before President Trump was sworn in — President Obama and his aides strongly advised Prime Minister Netanyahu not to give the controversial, illegal vote in Jerusalem to the opposition which in fact has done so.”
Read the full story at Time.
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