MSNBC's Ali Velshi Asks if U.S. 'Doing Israel's Foreign Policy at This Point'

March 22, 2019

MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi asked a Democratic lawmaker Friday if the U.S. was essentially doing "Israel's foreign policy at this point" following President Donald Trump's call for United States recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Speaking with Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), Velshi discussed the foreign policy announcement, which some critics charge was done by Trump to bolster Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his April 9 re-election bid.

"There also seems to be an increasing coordination between the president and the Prime Minister of Israel ... One does begin to wonder if we're doing our foreign policy or Israel's foreign policy at this point," Velshi said.

After a notable pause, Murphy said the U.S. had always had its foreign policy "inter-linked with Israel's."

"It has been part of U.S. foreign policy, rightly so, that we work to defend the security of the state of Israel, so I have no objection to a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is all about the security of Israel," Murphy said.

Murphy went on to criticize the Trump administration for exiting the Iran nuclear deal, echoing the Obama administration line that such a move emboldened hardliners in the Islamic Republic.

Velshi's remark comes after several anti-Semitic controversies involving Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), including one comment invoking the "dual loyalty" canard of wondering why supporters for Israel were pushing her to show "allegiance to a foreign country."

Although she had to apologize for tweets suggesting pro-Israel politicians are paid off by the lobbying group AIPAC and "it's all about" money for them, she refused to apologize for her "allegiance" remarks. She has retweeted supporters praising her over decisions by 2020 Democrats to not address AIPAC this year.

Trump has denied his move was meant to help Netanyahu's Likud party, telling Fox Business he had been thinking about making such a decision for a "long time." Leaders of Netanyahu's rival Blue and White party also praised Trump for his announcement.

Israel captured the northern border territory from Syria in the defensive 1967 "Six-Day War," and Israel annexed it in 1981. Trump cited its 52-year control of the area and its significance to Israeli and regional security in his tweet calling for U.S. recognition of its sovereignty.

Netanyahu called Trump to thank him while he hosted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at his home in Jerusalem. He has been campaigning under the threat of indictment from corruption investigations.