Donald Trump’s claim last week that the Iran nuclear deal will cause the destruction of Israel unless he is elected president was “a bit of hyperbole,” a senior adviser to the Republican nominee conceded Monday on Israeli television.
But, said David Friedman, who advises the Republican nominee on Israel-American issues, Trump did make “a point that was legitimate,” given that there are “stark, dramatic and potentially existential” differences between Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“Mrs Clinton has shown herself to be an apologist for Iran and Iran is a very dangerous country,” Friedman said. “We have to elect a president who will scrupulously protect Israel,” he added.
A week ago, the Republican nominee told Cleveland area labor leaders that last year’s sanctions-relief-for-nuclear-rollback deal “is going to destroy Israel — unless I get elected,” the Columbus Dispatch reported. “Then Israel will be just fine.”
In an interview with Channel 2 News aired last Thursday, Clinton hit out at Trump, saying his comments about Israel were “ill-informed. He might have people whispering in his ears, ‘say this, maybe that will be popular with some people.’ He has no grounding, he has no feeling.”
Clinton said Trump’s only experience with Israel was “marching in the Fifth Avenue Israel Day parade.” She added: “His understanding of the broader dangers of the region should alarm any Israeli, no matter where that person is on the political spectrum.”
In response to Clinton’s comments, Friedman told Channel 2 on Monday that Republican policy on Israel was detailed and constituted the “most pro-Israel platform in the history of this country for either party.
“There is nothing ambiguous or unclear about Mr Trump’s support for the State of Israel,” he said.
Friedman said Clinton had failed to address “how, if at all, ” she would differentiate herself from the Obama presidency.
During her four years as secretary of state, she had “done things unprecedented in terms of damaging the American relationship with Israel,” he said, such as demanding a unilateral settlement freeze without demanding concessions from the Palestinians.
He said it was “intellectually insulting for her to gloss over all of these critical issues.”