After Trump 'Disloyalty' Remark, Israeli President Tells Pelosi Israel Must Not Become Partisan Issue

Rivlin tells Democratic House Speaker that U.S.-Israel alliance is not dependent on relationship with one particular party' and is 'a link between peoples with strong friendships and shared values'

President Donald Trump and President Reuven Rivlin.
Haim Zach/GPO

WASHINGTON - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Wednesday to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, stressing to her the importance of keeping American support for Israel a nonpartisan issue.

The phone call took place against the backdrop of U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial remarks earlier this week, in which he called American Jews who vote for Democrats "disloyal." 

Trump later made it clear he meant such Jews are both disloyal to their people and "very disloyal to Israel."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to comment on Trump's remark, nor has any other Israeli official.

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Rivlin told Pelosi that the U.S.-Israel alliance "is not dependent on the relationship with one particular party" and "is a link between peoples, which relies on historical ties, deep and strong friendships and shared values," according to a statement from the president's office.

The Israeli president made reference in his conversation with Pelosi to remarks by U.S. President John F. Kennedy, whom Rivlin quoted as saying: "Friendship with Israel is not a partisan matter. It is a national commitment."

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

In an apparent reference to Trump's controversial comments this week, Rivlin told Pelosi: "We must keep the State of Israel above political disputes and make every effort to ensure that support for Israel does not become a political issue."

Rivlin thanked Pelosi for her "unqualified commitment to U.S.-Israel relations and for being a true friend," according to the statement, adding that he would welcome meeting with her "at any time."