Thursday, January 12, 2017

Rex Tillerson on Israel

Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson (WJD)
When Rex Tillerson was one of President-elect Trump’s candidates for Secretary of State, I was a bit worried about his views with respect to Israel. Mainly because I had no clue what the position of this wealthy chairman of Exxon-Mobil from Texas - actually was. I could find no record of any statement by Mr. Tillerson on this subject.

Since people in the oil industry are not known for their sympathy toward the Jewish state - they might tilt more towards a natural ally  - the oil rich Arab states.

I was therefore hopeful that the any of the other candidate’s on Trump’s short list would be chosen. Their record was public and clear. They were all known to be strong and outspoken supporters of Israel. More than any past Secretary of State has been since Israel’s creation.

To my dismay at the time, it was indeed Rex Tillerson that was chosen. But my fears have just been allayed by Mr. Tillerson’s testimony before congress yesterday. It appears he joins the other distinguished group of candidates for the job. His support for Israel is just as strong as theirs. And he has now made his view public. From World Jewish Daily:

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, told a senate committee during his confirmation hearing that the U.S. must “recommit” to its alliance with Israel.

According to YNet, in a barely concealed swipe at the outgoing Obama administration, Tillerson slammed the recent United Nations Security Council resolution condemning settlements as “not helpful” and likely “undermines” the possibility of peace talks.

He also slammed Secretary of State John Kerry for his speech bashing Israel shortly after the vote on the resolution, which the U.S. failed to veto.

“The secretary’s speech, which followed that UN resolution, I found quite troubling because of the attacks on Israel and in many ways undermining the government of Israel itself in terms of its own legitimacy and the talk,” Tillerson said.

He made it clear that Trump’s policy toward Israel will be quite different, saying, “We have to recommit … that we’re going to meet our obligations to Israel as our most important strategic parter in the region.”

He added, “Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region,” he said. “I think in the Trump administration, the president-elect already made it clear and, if I’m confirmed, I agree entirely and will support (Israel).”

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