Trump criticizes IDF, won’t say he stands with Israel 100%

Trump said the IDF is in large part to blame for Israel’s waning international support.

By Jack Elbaum, The Algemeiner

Former US President Donald Trump on Thursday reiterated that he believes Israel must finish its war against Hamas in Gaza soon and demurred when asked whether he stands with the Jewish state “100 percent.”

While appearing on conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Trump was asked whether he stands with Israel “100 percent” and what advice he would give to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu other than finishing up the war quickly.

Trump did not respond to the part of the question about fully supporting Israel. Instead, he replied: “Well, that’s all the advice you can give. I mean, that’s the advice.”

He continued: “You’ve got to get it over with, and you have to get back to normalcy. And I’m not sure that I’m loving the way they’re doing it, because you’ve got to have victory. You have to have a victory, and it’s taking a long time.”

Trump also offered criticism of what seemed to be the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), arguing they are in large part to blame for Israel’s waning international support.

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“And the other thing is I hate, they put out tapes all the time. Every night, they’re releasing tapes of a building falling down. They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that,” Trump said. “They’re doing, that’s why they’re losing the PR war. They, Israel is absolutely losing the PR war.”

He added, “I guess it makes them look tough. But to me, it doesn’t make them look tough.”

Trump’s comments came after a recent interview with Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom in which he urged Israel to “finish up your war” and “get on to peace, to get on to a normal life for Israel, and for everybody else.”

In that interview, Trump argued that Israel was painting “a very bad picture for the world.”

Israel Hayom‘s senior diplomatic correspondent concluded, based on the interview, that “both US presidential candidates, [incumbent President Joe] Biden and Trump, are turning their rhetorical backs on Israel.”

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Professor Abraham Ben-Zvi, an expert in US-Israel relations and a professor emeritus at the University of Haifa, argued Trump’s comments showed that Israel’s status with the US had “changed” and that “Israel is rapidly becoming these days a burdensome liability for the US rather than a powerful strategic asset.”

When asked specifically about those comments by Hewitt, Trump mainly reiterated his point — despite describing the reporting on his initial interview as “fake news” — saying that what he meant “very plainly is get it over with, and let’s get back to peace and stop killing people. And that’s a very simple statement. Get it over with. They’ve got to finish what they finish. They have to get it done. Get it over with, and get it over with fast, because we have to, you have to get back to normalcy and peace.”

During Trump’s one term as president, he won over many supporters of the Jewish state, especially on the political right, by moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, and facilitating the Abraham Accords, which were a major step toward regional peace and cooperation.

However, Trump’s latest comments will likely further fuel speculation about what his policy toward Israel would look like in a second term.

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