Former Arkansas governor Huckabee says US president should announce release of Israeli agent to win over Israeli public.
US President Barack Obama should announce the release of Jonathan Pollard during his upcoming visit to Israel as a way to win over the Israeli people, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said Monday.
Huckabee, here leading some 200 Christian evangelicals to Israel, said such a move would be “cathartic moment in the relationship between Israel and the US”, and signal an extraordinary sense of good will on part of us and the Obama Administration.
“I don’t think there is a price to be paid politically for the president in the United States for that, but there would be enormous benefit in terms of relationship with Israelis for him to make that announcement just prior to his coming, or even while he is here,” he said
Huckabee, who ran an unsuccessful presidential race in 2008 and is now a popular conservative television and radio host, said he hoped the president “reassures the people of Israel that there is absolutely no way that America will stand by and let Iran develop a nuclear weapon., He needs to say that loudly, clearly and without equivocation.”
Huckabee said this needed to be an “absolute line in the sand” so there is no ambiguity and no doubt on the pat of the Iranian government that there is a line that cannot be crossed.
Huckabee said that this would be welcome news not only for Israel, but for most in the Muslim world who while they “might not celebrate it, would be dancing in the halls in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE –everywhere but Syria.”
Turning to the controversial nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, Huckabee said his testimony two weeks ago was “extraordinarily problematic” for many democratic senators.
He asked how senators Chuck Shumer (D-New York) and Carl Levin (D-Michigan), who are both Jewish, could vote for Hagel and ever have credibility again with the Jewish community, “or with that matter with the rest of America.”
He said that “if it proves true that the rumors that Chuck Hagel received funds from the friends of Hamas, then on its face that would disqualify him.”
Huckabee said Hagel must disclose all “his financial entanglement,” because “that rumor — if not ture — has to be dispelled.” If true, he said, “it absolutely disqualifies him for any consideration, even as a gatekeeper at a national park, let alone as defense secretary. “
Huckabee was full of praise for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom he hopes to meet during his week-long visit.
Netanyahu, Huckabee said, is “extraordinarily popular in the United States, I would say he is one of the most popular political figures in the US.’
Huckabee said that while there may be tension between Netanyahu and Obama personally, “I don’t think the prime minister has a problem with Americans. he is remarkably well loved, and I think many people see him as the Churchill of our day, because he has a clarity about the security threats faced not only by Israel, but the rest of the world, and I think he has an uncanny perspective of why all of this matters, and what the background is.”
When Netanyahu speaks, Huckabee said, “Americans listen.”