My Mideast Punchlines: “I don’t believe it!”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017 showed US President Donald Trump a potentially doctored video in which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas seemed to call for the murder of children, in order to sway the American leader to the Israeli side, according journalist Bob Woodward’s explosive new book on the administration, “Rage.”

Reporting on excerpts from the book, set to be released next week, Jewish Insider and The Independent said that early on in his presidency, Trump began to waver in his support for Netanyahu.

Then, when Trump came to Israel in May 2017, Netanyahu presented him with a video of Abbas in which “it sounded like Abbas was ordering the murder of children.”

Netanyahu wondered: “And that’s the guy you want to help?”

Trump was disturbed by the video and called in then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson to watch the clip.

“Watch this! This is unbelievable! You’ve got to see this,” he said.

Tillerson watched the clip, but was highly sceptical. He later said he believed it had been crudely cut together using various bits of speech by Abbas.

After Netanyahu left the room, Tillerson told Trump: “Mr. President, you realize that the whole thing was fabricated?”

But Trump was unconvinced. “Well it’s not fabricated,” he said. “They got the guy on tape saying it.”

In these turbulent times of fake news, it’s clear that none of us can believe anything anymore. So I’ll let the incomparable Victor Meldrew have the last word:


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