Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Thursday that her rival, Republican Donald Trump, could not be trusted by Israel, as he keeps changing his positions according to what believes to be popular with voters.
"He has said that we should be neutral on Israel on Monday. Then on Tuesday he has said that, oh he’s really supportive of Israel. Wednesday he might say Israel should pay back the defense aid it’s received over the years," Clinton told the Israeli Channel 2, in an interview aired Thursday.
"There is no rhyme or reason to his comments about Israel," she said.
Trump is an "untrustworthy spokesperson" about Israel, she added. "Using nukes against ISIS? Not caring whether other countries in the region – including Saudi Arabia – get nuclear weapons? How does that in any way help Israel?" Clinton said.
Clinton said that Trump doesn't know the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas, and is ignorant about Iran's involvement in Syria.
ISIS rooting for Trump?
Clinton said a “compelling case” has been made that ISIS is “rooting for Donald Trump’s victory,” and said she believed the landmark nuclear deal with Iran made Israel "safer."
Anchor Yonit Levy asked Clinton why she maintained the Obama administration’s controversial reluctance to refer specifically to the "war on radical Islam" by name.
Clinton responded that “We’ve made a judgment built on a lot of research that bringing 'Islam' into the definition of our enemy actually serves the purpose of the radical jihadists.”
Citing an article published in Time by Matthew Olson, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center on the day of the interview, Clinton said she "found it even surprising how clear and compelling the case was where [Olson] quoted ISIS spokespeople rooting for Donald Trump’s victory, because Trump has made Islam and Muslims part of his campaign and basically . argues that the jihadists see this as a great gift.
"They are saying 'oh, please Allah, make Trump president of America.' So I’m not interested in giving aid and comfort to their evil ambitions. I want defeat them. I want to end their reign of terror. I don’t want them to feel like they are getting more recruits because of our politics,” she said.
Her plan for defeating ISIS, she said, was to “intensify our air campaign, more support on the ground to the Arab and Kurdish fighters. I still believe we need leverage to deal with the Russians, Iranians, Syrians and whether it’s a no fly zone or some other tool.”
Asked if she’d be more aggressive with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Clinton reiterated that “I think we need leverage with Putin, I am going to take everything that I have learned and that I know we can do and move as quickly as possible against them.”
In response to a question regarding Trump’s bold assertion that Iran would “destroy Israel” if he were not elected president, Clinton chose not to fire back at her rival, opting instead to defended the deal and its benefit to the Jewish state.
She said she believed “with all my heart” that “putting a lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program has made Israel safer, has made the region safer, has prevented a nuclear arms race.”
Clinton stressed that “I have made it clear that in respect to the agreement, my approach is “distrust and verify.” I will hold them to every single element of the agreement that they have reached.”
She added that the “fact that we were able to reach an agreement on a nuclear program does not in any way excuse the behavior that Iran is still engaging in,” including their “very aggressive support of terrorism.”
She argued that “we are in a stronger position than we would have been to deal with this malicious behavior because of the nuclear agreement” and that “would rather be dealing with Iran’s continuing aggressive behavior without them being weeks away from [nuclear] breakout which is where they were” before the agreement.
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