August 19th, 2009
05:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Huckabee defends Israel trip

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Huckabee is standing by his comments in Israel."](CNN) - Mike Huckabee, the former GOP presidential candidate who is thought to be eyeing a second run for the White House, is standing by his recent comments in Israel criticizing the White House's policy toward the country.

On a trip to the Israel earlier this week, the former Arkansas governor positioned himself in against the Obama administration's policy of asking Israel to halt construction of settlements in predominantly Arab neighborhoods including East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

"It concerns me when there are some in the United States who would want to tell Israel that it cannot allow people to live in their own country, wherever they want," Huckabee told reporters in comments that drew accusations he was criticizing American policy on foreign soil.

But in a posting on his political action committee's Web site Wednesday, Huckabee said he was merely traveling to Israel as a private citizen, and as such was free to speak his mind.

"As a private citizen, I disagree, and I have a right to disagree, with President Obama's demand for a freeze on Israel's building new settlements, and with his further demand for a freeze on expansion of existing settlements, despite the natural growth that a community experiences," Huckabee wrote. "His call for such a complete freeze contradicts the policy not just of President Bush, but of President Clinton, indeed of all our presidents since Israel's victory in the 1967 war."

According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, the potential GOP presidential hopeful arrived in Israel Sunday. He attended a gala Monday in East Jerusalem - on land Palestinians have claimed for a future state - with Jewish activists from the United States.

On the trip Time magazine is calling "Huckabee's first 2012 campaign stop," he also visited Israeli homes in East Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Mark

    And yet many people threatened to kill the Dixie Chicks for "speaking their mind as private citizens on foreign soil."

    August 19, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. andy in Alaska

    Huckabee is the last thing this country needs. Another bible banging politican who has a very murky pass.

    August 19, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    How many "private citizens" get their "opinons" expressed in the media?

    The man will never be president of anything.

    August 19, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Sandra, Atlanta

    Have you ever wondered why we have not been able to produce a peace agreement? We are not seen as an honest broker. Israel cannot have it all!

    August 19, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. Kick the bums out

    I do not care – republican or democrat administration, you do not go to a foreign country and criticize America period! Shame on you Mr. Huckabee.

    August 19, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. charlie in Maine

    I support Huckabee's right to criticize the President. Just like I supported the Dixie Chicks when they told the truth about W. Bush when they were in England. The difference is that Huckabee is dead wrong and the Dixie Chicks were dead-on.

    August 19, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. bill

    Huckabee fails at an attempt to look leadership worthy, even with the religious right, in a tour of the holy land. Now he's having to defend himself.

    Hey, Huckabee, I've been to the holy land, and I can make up lies, but I'm not as mean. So have thousands of Americans. Looks like you got a whole lot of competition.

    August 19, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. montag

    When in Israel, I wonder if Mike cooked a squirrel in a popcorn popper like he did when he wasin college.

    August 19, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. pat c

    when are the republicans gonna get.....they lost! this jerk is not the president but in his small biblecal mind he actually thinks he could be the next leader. what a hoot these washed out republicans are.

    August 19, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Michele

    If he were going there as a 'private citizen' he should refuse all media coverage. But then, his anti-Obama talk wouldn't be all over the news, would it? Who is he trying to impress? The Israelis have nukes because of us, and more weapons than people to kill, and when asked to respect those who share their part of the world, their answer is usually to attack. I have no sympathy for them, and just what is Huckabee attempting to do...start a war? Someone these Republican Christian conservatives fail to live up to Bible standards.

    August 19, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Lori

    Where is all the right-wing anger at Huckabee like there was at the Dixie Chicks??!!! Oh, yeah... I forgot, it's only unpatriotic to object to a Republican President. Hypocrites!

    August 19, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  12. V

    I don't care if the trip was personal or not. The comments were out of place and he owes the current administration as well as the American people an apology. Is this the "any press is good press" menatlity? Sure sounds like it to me.

    August 19, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Deuce

    Sock-it to them Chuck..

    August 19, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. MLH

    Mr. Huckabee, congratulations! Your grasp of foreign policy issues rivals that of Ms. Palin. The United States government is not demanding that Israel stop building more condos and houses. They are not asking that Israel stop building more settlements. The issue is the location of these settlements. In fact the term 'settlement' should probably clue you in as to the political nature of these establishments.

    What Israel has done to the Palestinians is shameful and cannot be sanctioned.

    August 19, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Yair

    I am sorry for you ignorant liberal people! Wait until Islamic fundamentalists take over your country and then you can not even express your mind freely. Shame on you!

    August 19, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. JonDie

    Another American politician disgraces and hurts our country by supporting the genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinians. Oh that's right, Huckaby's a Jesus-loving, Muslim-hating "Christian."

    August 19, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. katiec

    Gosh, Huckabee, and you are who?? What gives you the right to
    speak anywhere on our policies and negotiations.
    Here you go again, CNN, another irrelevant headline.
    Oh, but wait, it is a republican so in your eyes it is "fair and balanced",
    a media we can "trust"!

    August 19, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Justin

    Evangelical bible thumping wingnuts like Huckabee only support Israel because they think once all the Jews go back there, they'll have their rapture, at which point all Jews will die and go to hell or be "left behind." Racist, anti-semitic lunatic.

    August 19, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. independent

    That is a crock. The Minister should not be involved in politics at all. He should return to his ministry.

    August 19, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |