Wednesday, June 20, 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
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18