March 6, 2016

Trump and Netanyahu

Sam Lurie '19

In Donald Trump’s controversial campaign for the Presidency, he has managed to ruffle a large number of feathers and, recently, the State of Israel itself.
The ordeal started on December 7, 2015,  when the Republican presidential candidate responded to the San Bernardino shootings by calling for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, which led to much debate and controversy.
When asked to describe their opinions on Trump, GOA students responded with a barrage of name calling, most of which cannot be printed. Some of the less harsh descriptions of Trump and his plan were: “idiotic,” “dumb,” “ridiculous,” “insane,” “out of control” and “anti-muslim.”
The Israeli government appears to somewhat agree with the GOA students, although expressed their opinion more appropriately.
In reaction to Trump’s comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office put out a statement saying, “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims. The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”
Prior to this, Trump had announced that he was planning a trip to Israel and meeting with Netanyahu on December 28. Netanyahu had stated that he would meet with any candidate for president who visited Israel.
After Trump’s Muslim remarks, many members of Knesset urged a cancellation of the meeting, believing that hosting Trump painted a bad picture for the country and would worsen the current situation of stabbings and other terrorist acts.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu kept his promise and did not change his schedule. On December 10, however, Trump made another announcement on Twitter. stating he had “decided to postpone [his] trip to Israel and to schedule [his] meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the U.S.”
In an interview on Fox News the day of his cancellation, Trump defended his decision saying that he decided to postpone the trip as to not put Netanyahu under pressure and to stay in America to work on his campaign.
Unconvinced, media such as The Washington Post and CNN have accused Trump of cancelling as a response to Netanyahu’s statement on his Muslim ban.
When questioned on what he believes to be Trump’s motives for postponing the trip, freshman David Wingens said that Trump’s defense was probably partially true, but that, “there must be a connection to the statement from Bibi.”
Wingens went on to speak about his concern for the American-Israel relationship if Trump is elected.

“Israel’s large Muslim population and location geographically makes it so that Trump’s Islamophobia cannot be accepted,” he said. “If Trump is elected, the [American-Israeli] relationship will suffer.”

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