The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for his opposition to a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and for supporting the right of Jews to live in those territories. Huckabee, who is regarded as a potential Republican presidential candidate for 2012, said on a visit to Maale Adumim, with 40,000 people, the largest Jewish city in the territories, that If they want you to leave, where exactly do they expect you to go?! And if the Americans realize that you are not leaving, then why should your growth and job-creation and the like be stopped? You should remain and simply stop growing?! Huckabee also expressed in general terms support for Israels right to build and grow in Judea and Samaria (Hillel Fendel, Huckbee supports growth in Maale Adumim, Israel National News, August 18, 2009).
Addressing a group of foreign reporters in Jerusalem, Huckabee said, The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That’s what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic. Huckabee also praised Israel for giving Muslims access to Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock – also the site of the ancient Jewish temples even though the presence of a mosque there, as he put it, could be considered an affront. He added, Israel is a place where they’re going to allow other cultures and religions, but don’t ask the Jewish people whose homeland it is to completely yield over their ability to live within the context of their country (Josiah Ryan and Herb Keinon, Huckabee: 2-state solution unrealistic Jerusalem Post, August 18, 2009).
On the polices of the Obama administration towards Israel, Huckabee said, We are all both Republicans and Democrats surprised at the new policies he has instituted, much harsher than previous administrations, and very different than his own campaign promises when he visited Israel. We simply do not know where he will end up. On the Obama Administrations demand that Jews be banned from moving to Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Huckabee said, No American would tolerate the government telling some citizens that they cant live in certain areas because theyre the wrong color or the wrong religion I can only imagine what an American would say if someone suggested that Baptists wouldnt be allowed to live in some neighborhoods, while Catholics would be banned in others (Hillel Fendel, Huckbee supports growth in Maale Adumim, Israel National News, August 18, 2009).
Earlier statements of support for Israel by Huckabee:
· Huckabee, on a 2008 visit to Israel, said, that if he were an Israeli father tucking his children into bed at night, he would want to know that the country’s borders were well defended. How could that father sleep well knowing that not that many feet away someone has a rocket pointed at him?Huckabee recalled his own fears as a child growing up at the height of the Cold War with communist Cuba only 90 miles from U.S. soil so he could only imagine how much more worse it would feel to have a dangerous country only 90 feet away. Huckabee said his stance on Israel stemmed from common sense and not religious belief (Tovah Lazaroff, ‘Huckabee: Israel shouldn’t swap land,’ Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2008).
· There are many, many places where a homeland for the Palestinians could in fact take place that would be consistent with their roots But there is only one place on earth where the Jewish people could have a homeland that is consistent with their roots [Emphasizing that the international community agreed to recognize clear, definitive boundaries of a Jewish homeland in Israel as early as 1919, Huckabee added] We have a moral obligation to the Jewish people to honor the commitment that has been made through decades and decades of understanding that there is going to be a homeland for the Jewish people” (Yishai Fleisher and Elana Eden, ‘Huckabee: “There is Only One Place for a Jewish Homeland,”‘ Israel National News, August 19, 2008).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We both applaud and appreciate Mike Huckabees opposite to a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. We also applaud and appreciate his stalwart support for the right of Jews to live in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and his corresponding principled opposition to the essentially racist demand that Jews, because they are Jews, be prohibited from moving into Jewish communities there. He understands only too well that the demand to stop Jews moving there would lead to the stifling of these communities, which pose no impediment to peace if Palestinians are truly ready for it. If 1.2 million Arabs can live among 6 million Jews in Israel, then 300,000 Jews can certainly live among 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
Instead of the commonplace false even-handedness and false equivalence between Israel and the PA, which confuses the American public as to the fact that the Palestinians and the wider Arab world still unfortunately pursue Israel’s elimination, Mr. Huckabee makes it clear that Israel is not obliged to tear itself to pieces in order to create a Palestinian state.
Instead of repeating the conventional wisdom about how such a state would supposedly help bring peace and security, many American Jewish organizations could take a leaf out of Governor Huckabees book and stand up for truth and for Israel.