On Morning Joe Thursday, former President Bill Clinton said that Rick Perry’s religious beliefs on Israel aligned him with “some of the more militant settler groups” in Israel. (H/T Politico.)
From Clinton’s interview with Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough:
Clinton: “There is an enormous reservoir of support for Israel in the Christian evangelical community. And a lot of them believe, as some of the more militant settler groups do, that God meant for all of Judea and Samaria to be in the hands of Israel… and that Yitzhak Rabin, and Ehud Barak when he was prime minister and Shimon Peres and everyone who signed all these peace agreements violated the biblical mandate by wanting to give the West Bank to the Palestinians.”
Scarborough: I want to explain this to Mika, you grew up in the Northeast, I grew up in Southern Baptist churches. They teach us this in kindergarten.
Clinton: . . . [They believe] Judea and Samaria are part of what God intended to be Israel. . . I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of people that have never missed church on Sunday in Texas who believe it.”
Clinton’s remarks on religious beliefs and the Jewish state begin around the 19:45 minute mark in the video below.
The former president is referring to the controversial alliance between
Jewish settlers in the West Bank, some of whom see that land as theirs “by divine right,” and those evangelical Christians in America who believe that God calls Christians to defend the state of Israel, including the lands of Judea and Samaria (also called the West Bank). The Christian Broadcasting Network called the region “the biblical heartland.”
This week, GOP presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry aligned himself with those Christians, saying at a press conference that his faith requires his strong support of Israel.
“I also as a Christian have a clear directive to support Israel, so from my perspective it’s pretty easy,” Perry said when a reporter asked if Perry’s faith was driving his views, according to the Associated Press. “Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.”
Clinton’s wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, held meetings this week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to ask the two leaders to return to peace talks.