Joint (Arab) List chairman Ayman Odeh on Saturday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump of running their successful election campaigns on messages of discrimination and fear-mongering.
“Netanyahu and Trump based their campaigns on hatred of minorities,” Odeh told the audience at a cultural event in Mevasseret Zion, days before Netanyahu departs for Washington for his first meeting with Trump since he won the US presidential election in November.
Odeh said that while there was no doubt that Trump and Netanyahu were similar, the US president was also very unpredictable.
He speculated that the celebrations by settlers following Trump’s victory were premature and the US president could surprise them yet.
Odeh’s comments came a day after Israel Hayom newspaper published an interview in which Trump said the settlements were “not a good thing for peace.” While Trump sounded extremely warmly disposed toward Israel, he was plainly critical of the settlement enterprise.
The Joint List chairman told the audience Saturday that he would rather live in a non-monolithic society, in which there was more than one people and one culture.
Netanyahu was accused of stoking racist fears on Election Day in March 2015, when he said in a video published on his Facebook page that Arab voter turnout was high — a warning intended to increase voter turnout among supporters of his right-wing Likud faction.
“The rule of the right is in danger, Arab voters are coming in droves to the ballot boxes,” Netanyahu declared in the video. “Left-wing NGOs are bringing them in buses.”
The remarks drew sharp condemnation from Israelis across the political spectrum, including President Reuven Rivlin, as well as from the Obama White House. Netanyahu later apologized for the remarks.
Trump also came under fire during the campaign for the November election for deriding Mexico as a source of rapists and criminals and vowing to build a wall along the shared border to prevent illegal migration.
Last month, he signed an executive order to begin work on the barrier, although his claims that Mexico would foot the bill were met with derision from Mexican leaders.