Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday reiterated his claim to be the most pro-Israel person while pledging to outline his vision for a “good” peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians in his address at the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby the next day.
Speaking to ABC’s “The Week,” Trump said a peace agreement with the Palestinians is in Israel’s interest and maintained that if he wins the presidency, “I’m going to be giving that a very good shot.
“There is no one more pro-Israel than I am,” said Trump. “I think making a deal would be in Israel’s interest.”
The presidential hopeful said all the Jews he knows are in favor of a peace accord, but a “good deal, not an Obama-type deal.
“I’ll tell you what, I don’t know one Jewish person that doesn’t want to have a deal. A good deal. A proper deal. But a really good deal. But I would say it’s probably one of the toughest deals… in the world to make, because there’s just so many decades of hatred between the two sides,” he said.
“I think it’s something we should try very hard to get,” he added.
During the interview, Trump said he would outline what a “good deal” means in his address at the pro-Israel conference.
“You’re gonna hear what I say in the speech, and I’ll save it for that,” he said. “I’ll define it tomorrow.”
Republican candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich are also scheduled to address the three-day conference by the pro-Israel lobby, which began Sunday, as will Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump has something of a checkered record with pro-Israel Republicans. He drew boos last year from the Republican Jewish Coalition when he refused to take a stance on moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and further raised eyebrows by using what many consider to be offensive stereotypes in moments of attempted levity.
Trump later said he would move the embassy to Jerusalem, a perennial Republican campaign promise.
Trump has claimed to be the “most pro-Israel” in the past, while also saying he will be neutral as a negotiator in trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump’s upcoming appearance at AIPAC has drawn controversy around the conference, where some have announced they will protest Trump — if not by disrupting his speech, by walking out.
Others have said the speech will be an important opportunity to hear Trump explain his views. The debate has played out in dramatic fashion since AIPAC issued its invitations and candidates began responding to them.
Trump’s positions on immigration and Muslims and his apparent vacillation on support he is getting from figures known for anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric have caused concern among AIPAC members.
And, as with other communities, comparisons of Trump to Hitler and Mussolini have clouded their impressions.
South Florida Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin is among a group of about 40 rabbis that plans to boycott Trump’s address Monday evening, saying his appearance “poses political, moral, and even spiritual quandaries.”
“We have been urging rabbis to simply not attend the Trump speech — to let our absence be felt and noted,” Salkin wrote in a column for the Religious News Service last week. “Sometimes, you just have to scream — even silently.”