Former President Donald Trump‘s recent remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been denounced as “shameful” by Israel’s top communications official.
During a speech Wednesday night in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump blasted the Israeli government for not being “ready” for Saturday’s surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, while seemingly praising Lebanese Islamist militant group Hezbollah for being “very smart” after it launched a missile attack on Israel. Additionally, he referred to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as a “jerk.”
The ex-president also said he would “never forget” that Netanyahu “let us down” by trying “to take credit for” the January 2020 U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
On Thursday, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi denounced Trump’s remarks, reportedly calling out the former president for spreading what he characterized as anti-Israel “propaganda,” while also suggesting that Israel “obviously” cannot rely on Trump as an ally.
“[It is] shameful that a man like that, a former US president, abets propaganda and disseminates things that wound the spirit of Israel’s fighters and its citizens,” Karhi told Israel’s Channel 13, according to The Times of Israel. “We don’t have to bother with him and the nonsense he spouts.”
Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office via email on Thursday.
Saturday’s attack by Hamas was the deadliest Palestinian militant assault on Israel in history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest airstrikes on Gaza in history.
As of Thursday, at least 1,200 people had been killed in Israel, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the Israeli military. Over 1,400 people had been killed in Gaza, according to authorities there, AP said.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates has also denounced Trump’s remarks concerning Hezbollah, saying in a statement that the comment was “dangerous and unhinged” and questioned “why any American would ever praise an Iran-backed terrorist organization as ‘smart.'”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running against Trump in the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, had a similar response to the ex-president’s remarks, asking why he “would choose now to attack our friend and ally, Israel, much less praise Hezbollah terrorists as ‘very smart.'”
Wednesday was not the first time that the former president has lashed out at Netanyahu. Although the two men appeared to enjoy a close friendship during Trump’s presidency, their relationship has deteriorated significantly since Trump exited the White House.
While being interviewed by journalist Barak Ravid for the 2021 book Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East, Trump reportedly attacked the “loyalty” of the prime minister, saying “f*** him” over Netanyahu congratulating President Joe Biden on his 2020 presidential election win.
Last year, Netanyahu blasted Trump for hosting what he said was an “unacceptable” dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, who was facing an avalanche of criticism at the time for making a series of antisemitic remarks that included praise for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Trump also said on Wednesday that there would have been “nobody even thinking about” attacking Israel if he had been declared the victor of the 2020 election, repeating his baseless claim that the contest was “rigged” by massive voter fraud.
In reality, Biden defeated Trump by more than 7 million votes in 2020 and no credible evidence of fraud that would have changed the outcome in even a single state has been produced in the nearly three years since the election ended.