Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington meeting with President Trump. Prior to their meeting, they conducted the usual dual press conference. No major news was made, but several interesting points emerged:
1) I’ve rarely seen Netanyahu look so happy. He must be almost as relieved to see the end of the Obama administration as we are.
2) President Trump indicated that he was open to alternatives to the two-state solution, an immutable point of American policy for a long time:
So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
This is smart, I think. The Palestinians need to understand that if they don’t shape up, they don’t get a state. Netanyahu finessed the question:
I read yesterday that an American official said that if you ask five people what two states would look like, you’d get eight different answers. Mr. President, if you ask five Israelis, you’d get twelve different answers.
But rather than deal with labels, I want to deal with substance.
3) A journalist effectively accused Trump of being responsible for a rise in anti-Semitic incidents:
Mr. President, since your election campaign and even after your victory, we’ve seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic — anti- Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder, what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the states and in Israel and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?
Trump responded vaguely and with great restraint. Netanyahu answered a different question, then returned to the outrageous imputation against the president:
And finally one — if I can respond to something that I know from personal experience, I’ve known President Trump for many years, and to allude to him or to his people, his team, some of whom I’ve known for many years too — can I reveal, Jared, how long we’ve known you? Well, he was never small, he was always big.
He was always tall. But I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time. There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.
Thank you very much. Very nice. I appreciate that very much.
4) The first two journalists Trump called on were David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Katie Pavlich of Townhall. This caused Democratic Party journalists to go ballistic on Twitter. You can read all about it at Twitchy. The lack of self-awareness of liberal journalists never ceases to amaze.
One of their complaints is that Trump wasn’t hounded enough about General Flynn, although Brody did ask a question about Flynn, Russia and Iran. Of course, the subjects of the press conference were American-Israeli relations and Israel and the Palestinians. The liberals were incensed that the journalists who were called on stayed on topic. As the press conference ended, someone called out: “Are you gonna answer any questions about your associates’ contact with the Russians during the campaign?” No such luck.