Trump’s Israel adviser: Candidate would not have ‘berated Netanyahu the way Hillary did’

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Donald Trump would “not in a million years” have lectured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the way Hillary Clinton did during her tenure as secretary of state, Trump’s adviser on Israel said.

Jason Greenblatt, who has been working for Trump for the past two decades, made the comment during a recent interview with The Algemeiner at Trump Tower in New York City.

Jason Greenblatt of Teaneck, newly named as Donald Trump’s Israel adviser, is also his top lawyer. /Photo by Uriel Hellman
Jason Greenblatt, named as Donald Trump’s Israel adviser, is also his top lawyer. /Photo by Uriel Hellman

Greenblatt was responding to a question referring to Clinton’s 45-minute berating of Netanyahu in 2010 after the prime minister announced, during a visit to Jerusalem by Vice President Joe Biden, the construction of 1,600 apartments in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of the capital.

Asked if Trump would have done the same, Greenblatt said: “No. Not in a million years. First of all, I don’t know how Hillary had the nerve to berate Netanyahu that way. It’s disrespectful. You don’t talk to the leader of another country that way. You can air your differences, but you air them politely. Donald is not that kind of person.

“I am confident that they (Trump and Netanyahu) will get along and have a strong relationship. He views Israel as a strong ally and as a friend. He thinks Netanyahu is doing a great job, particularly under the circumstances. And I think they would continue to have productive dialogue.”

Asked if pro-Israel conservatives are concerned that Trump’s “America First” pronouncements indicate a tendency toward isolationism, Greenblatt said: “I don’t think he’s an isolationist. His concept of putting America first is more in keeping with his whole slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’

“He needs to create more jobs here; he needs to secure our borders; he needs to prevent terrorism at home. But at the same time, though he views America’s role in the world as a very important one, he does not want to shoulder the burden himself – meaning that the U.S. has been paying for the defense of so many countries that are not supporting their share of the cost. So it’s not as though he’s saying he’s going to put a wall around the whole country; he’s just saying that others have to pay their share.

“As for certain countries in the Middle East – other than Israel – his view is that the U.S. needs to be there to some degree, to help keep the peace or help people, such as the Christians, who are being persecuted. But he’s also saying that we, as America, cannot impose our will on other countries. We cannot say, ‘we are a democracy, and therefore you have to believe in democracy and be democratic countries.’ That doesn’t work in his mind, and I think he’s right.

“Where Israel is concerned, I think he’s been clear – in his AIPAC speech, his foreign policy speech . . . that he views Israel as a very strategic ally to the United States. He views Israel as a beacon of light in the Middle East. He is a very, very strong supporter of Israel. And at the same time, he would love to see if he could negotiate a peace treaty between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He’s very clear that it’s probably the hardest deal ever to be negotiated, certainly in modern history.”