Israel should trust neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential race, but ally itself with the US Congress, said conservative US Senator Lindsey Graham in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The senator, along with five other Republican lawmakers, was visiting Israel as part of a Congressional delegation currently touring the Middle East.
“One thing I can say is that the Congress has historically had Israel’s back, and that presidents come and go,” Graham told the Jerusalem Post.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is not “a reliable Republican conservative,” he said, calling Trump’s foreign policy “ill conceived” and “dangerous for the entire world”.
In terms of Trump’s relationship with Israel, Graham referenced the billionaire mogul’s inconsistent campaign promises, saying, “If you can tell me what Trump is going to do, then you should write a book.”
“His foreign policy, to me, has been gibberish,” he added. “To me, it is worse than Obama.”
Graham strongly condemned Trump’s now infamous “neutrality” comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing, “He doesn’t understand what the stakes are.”
“This is not a land deal, this is not a real-estate deal, this is the survival of the one and only Jewish state.”
Trump garnered heavy criticism when he asserted in February that he would be “neutral” in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Let me be sort of a neutral guy,” he said at the time. “A lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. So I don’t want to say whose fault is it. I don’t think it helps.”
The comments outraged Jewish and pro-Israel groups and worried conservatives. GOP rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio immediately condemned the stance, saying that US support of Israel was non-negotiable.
“If I’m president, America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel,” said Cruz.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, would represent “a third term of Barack Obama”, Graham predicted. US and Israeli relations have cooled under Obama’s administration. The US president’s loyalty to Israel has been notoriously patchy and his relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tense, leading many to believe that four or eight more years of a liberal president would be disastrous for Israel.
Clinton was part of an “antagonistic Obama administration” which has put disproportionate emphasis and pressure on Israel regarding the settlement issue, said Graham.
While Judea and Samaria are part of Israel’s ancient Biblical homeland and the right of Jews to live on the land is given over in the Bible, the Obama administration does not recognize God’s bequeathal. “Settlements”, or Jewish communities built in Judea and Samaria, are strongly condemned by the current president.
Dismissing the prospect of Obama successfully bringing his own peace proposal to the United Nations during his last few months in office, as reports have suggested, Graham warned that Congress’s reaction to such a move “would be violent”.
An attempt by the UN try to take control of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would immediately put the international body’s funding in jeopardy, as the US pays more than 20 percent of the UN’s costs, Graham added.
When the Republican delegation met with Netanyahu on Tuesday, they discussed the upcoming military aid deal between the US and Israel – a package that is set to provide $10 billion of military funding to Israel over the next decade.
“We told the prime minister that we would try to be as generous as we could given our budget restraints at home, and that all of us recognize the threats” in the region, Graham told the Jerusalem Post.