(August 28, 2020 / JNS) In his acceptance speech of the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday, the final night of the four-day Republican National Convention U.S. President Donald Trump touted his pro-Israel accomplishments. At the same time, he railed against his Democratic rival, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
“When I took office, the Middle East was in total chaos. ISIS was rampaging, Iran was on the rise, and the war in Afghanistan had no end in sight,” said Trump on the South Lawn of the White House. “I withdrew from the terrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal.”
The United States withdrew in May 2018 from the 2015 accord and reimposed sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new penalties against the regime.
He also spoke about keeping promises.
“Unlike many presidents before me, I kept my promise, recognized Israel’s true capital and moved our embassy to Jerusalem. But not only did we talk about it as a future site, we got it built,” said Trump. “Rather than spending $1 billion on a new building as planned, we took an already owned existing building in a better location … and opened it at a cost of less than $500,000.”
That recognition was in December 2017, followed by the embassy move five months later. The current location of the embassy, in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, served as the U.S. Consulate, which merged with the embassy a year later. A permanent location has yet to be picked, though the Jerusalem municipality has approved the construction of a new embassy, which is expected to take years to complete.
However, certain criticisms revolved around these announcements—namely, that partisan speeches took place at the White House, which historically has been off-limits for campaign-related business. Also, the live audience of about 1,500 sat close together without masks as cases of the coronvirus continue to spread throughout the United States and the total number of deaths hit 180,000.
Trump continued, “We also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and this month we achieved the first Middle East peace deal in 25 years,” referring to the March 2019 recognition and U.S.-brokered Aug. 13 normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the first between Israel and a Gulf state.
“In addition, we obliterated 100 percent of the ISIS Caliphate, and killed its founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” continued the president. “Then, in a separate operation, we eliminated the world’s number-one terrorist, by far, Qassem Soleimani.”
Al-Baghdadi killed himself and two children by detonating a suicide vest during a raid of his compound by U.S. forces in northwest Syria in October 2019, while Soleimani, general of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was targeted in a U.S. airstrike on Jan. 3 at Baghdad International Airport.
Trump slammed Biden for having “voted for the Iraq war; he opposed the mission to take out Osama bin Laden; he opposed killing Soleimani; he oversaw the rise of ISIS, and cheered the rise of China as ‘a positive development’ for America and the world. That’s why China supports Joe Biden and desperately wants him to win.”
Finally, Trump rebuked Biden for even accepting the endorsement of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who has perpetuated anti-Semitic tropes on social media that has been criticized by Jewish, pro-Israel and other organizations, as well as members of Congress, and has introduced a resolution that promotes financial and other boycotts of Israel.
In July, Omar, whose anti-Semitic conduct wasn’t mentioned by Trump in his speech, endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee in a letter spearheaded and released on Wednesday by the Muslim group Emgage USA, Omar—along with Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, and 41 other elected Muslim officials. Biden accepted the endorsement during an Emgage event that month.
The RNC ended on Thursday night.
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