Trump Links Netanyahu's Rejection of Muslim Ban to Cancellation of Israel Visit

'He said something that wasn’t as positive as I would have liked, and I cancelled it,' Trump says about his trip to Israel, that he postponed following Netanyahu's criticism.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at an airplane hanger in Rochester, New York April 10, 2016.
Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of Donald Trump's proposed plan to ban all Muslims entering the United States was disappointing, the Republican presidential candidate told Jewish Insider on Thursday.

“He said something that wasn’t as positive as I would have liked, and I cancelled it,” Trump told Jewish Insider. “I did not particularly like his statement.”

Trump "postponed" his planned trip to Israel in December 2015, just a day after Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned his proposal to ban U.S. travel for all Muslims. “I have decided to postpone my trip to Israel and to schedule my meeting with @Netanyahu at a later date after I become President of the U.S.,” Trump tweeted.

Trump had planned to meet with Netanyahu on December 28 in Israel, but shortly after the meeting was reported, the prime minister’s office sent out a statement rejecting Trump’s comments about Muslims.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims,” the statement said.

“The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”

“I like him. I have always liked him,” Trump said on Netanyahu. “I was disappointed in his statement. He didn’t say, ‘Don’t come.’ In fact, it was the opposite. But I didn’t like his statement. That wasn’t necessarily the reason I didn’t go, but I didn’t like his statement.”

Trump made the comments in an on-the-record meeting with representatives of Jewish news media outlets and community leaders on the 25th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. He answered questions about Israeli settlements, the peace process, U.S. foreign aid and his relationship with the Jewish community.

When asked a question about his views on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Trump pointed to his aide Jason Greenblatt, whom he said advises him on Israel-related issues, to respond.

A recent poll showed Israelis consider Trump the most pro-Israeli presidential candidate, edging Hillary Clinton by two points.