This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.
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Donald Trump on Thursday earned high praise from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a group that hosted Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachmann at its annual dinner, for expressing support for continued construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
In an interview with DailyMail.com on Monday, Trump was asked whether he would call on Israel to halt new construction in the settlements in order to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. “No, I don’t think there should be a pause,” Trump said. “I think Israel really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.”
There are “thousands of missiles being launched into Israel,” Trump asserted. “Who would put up with that? Who would stand for it? Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?”
“It is refreshing to hear a presidential candidate say that Israeli/Palestinian peace is not dependent upon Israel discriminating against Israeli Jews, and only Israeli Jews, because they are Israeli Jews, by preventing them from building homes and communities in Judea/Samaria,” ZOA’s president Mort Klein said in a statement on Thursday. “Mr. Trump is right to avoid the absurdity of criticizing and condemning such things as the mere announcement of an urban construction program in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, or some other major residential neighborhood that, in virtually any kind of peace agreement envisaged, would remain part of Israel.”
The ZOA also praised Trump’s criticism of the Iran deal,saying, “I have Jewish friends that support Obama. I tell them all the time, I say, ‘What are you doing? The Iran deal is a disaster for Israel.’”
In an interview with Ami Magazine published on Wednesday, Trump pledged to “dismantle” the deal without going into specifics.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Trump to denounce recent anti-Semitic comments by David Duke and a barrage of anti-Semitic comments by some of Trump’s supporters on social media.
“David Duke’s latest remarks – smearing Jews and Jewish Republicans specifically – are as unsurprising as they are hateful,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said in a statement. “The onus is now on Donald Trump to make unequivocally clear he rejects those sentiments and that there is no room for Duke and anti-Semitism in his campaign and in society.”
On Wednesday, Duke blamed Republican Jews for attempting to block Trump from becoming the nominee during his radio program. “I think these Jewish extremists have made a terribly crazy miscalculation, because all they’re going to be doing by doing a ‘Never Trump’ movement is exposing their alien, their anti-American, anti-American majority position. They’re going to push people more into an awareness that the neocons are the problem, that these Jewish supremacists who control our country are the real problem, and the reason why America is not great.”
Trump also refused to condemn his fans threatening Julia Ioffe, a Jewish journalist who write a critical story on his wife, Melania Trump. “You hated this article in “GQ” about your wife Melania. Julia Ioffe wrote it. Since then, some of your supporters have viciously attacked this woman, Julia Ioffe, with anti-Semitic attacks, death threats. What’s your message to these people when something like that happens?” Wolf Blitzer asked the presumptive Republican presidential nominee during an interview on Wednesday. “I’ll tell you, I haven’t read the article, but I hear it was a very inaccurate article and I heard it was a nasty article They shouldn’t be doing that with wives. I mean they shouldn’t be doing that,” he responded. “These death threats that have followed these anti-Semitic,” Blitzer pressed Trump. “Oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t know anything about that,” said Trump. “You’ll have to talk to them about it. I don’t have a message to the fans.”
“Mr. Trump can and should speak up now. If not, his silence will speak volumes,” said Greenblatt.
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