Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

Netanyahu 'rejects' Trump's proposed bar on Muslims but plans to meet with him

JERUSALEM — A planned meeting this month between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump set off a chorus of criticism here on Wednesday, leading the Israeli leader to dissociate himself from Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Netanyahu's office said the meeting, planned for Dec. 28, was scheduled two weeks ago, well before Trump's comments on Muslims, and that the prime minister was prepared to meet any visiting American presidential candidate who requested a meeting.

But Trump's call Monday for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on" brought a strong reaction here, where sensitivities are high over exclusion of individuals on the basis of religion.

Trump's remarks drew criticism from some members of Netanyahu's governing coalition, and 37 Israeli parliament members signed a letter urging Netanyahu to cancel his meeting with the candidate.

In response, Netanyahu's office issued a statement distancing him from the anti-Muslim rhetoric without stepping back from the meeting.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump's recent remarks about Muslims," the statement said. "The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens. At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world."

Netanyahu's policy of meeting all visiting presidential candidates "does not represent an endorsement of any candidate or his or her views," the statement added. "Rather, it is an expression of the importance that Prime Minister Netanyahu attaches to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States."

News of the planned meeting drew harsh criticism from lawmakers representing Israel's Arab minority, which is mostly Muslim.

Ahmad Tibi, a member of the main Arab party, the Joint List, called Trump a "neo-Nazi" and said he should be banned from addressing parliament.

"As an Israeli citizen, I ask that the state treat the racism against me in the same way it would relate to racism against Jews," said Issawi Freij, an Arab member of the leftist Meretz party.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is close to Netanyahu, also criticized Trump's rhetoric. "I recommend fighting terrorists and extremist Islam, but I would not declare a boycott of Muslims in general," he told Israeli Army radio.

Comments
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18