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Trump used to brag about his support for Israel. Now his criticisms are growing sharper.


“They’re releasing the most heinous, most horrible tapes of buildings falling down. And people are imagining there’s a lot of people in those buildings, or people in those buildings, and they don’t like it,” Donald Trump said. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images


“I don’t know why they released wartime shots like that. I guess it makes them look tough. But to me, it doesn’t make them look tough,” Trump said.


For the second time in two weeks, Donald Trump on Thursday unloaded on Israel.

The former president has long cast himself as a stalwart defender of Israel. But on Thursday, he said Israel was “losing the PR war” in its handling of the war in Gaza because of its posts to social media showing images of destruction.


“And the other thing is I hate, they put out tapes all the time. Every night, they’re releasing tapes of a building falling down,” Trump said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that. They’re doing, that’s why they’re losing the PR war. They, Israel, is absolutely losing the PR war.”

Far from a one-off, Trump’s remarks reflect the solidifying of a more critical posture he is taking toward Israel, despite steadfast support for the country while he was president. During his tenure, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city. Trump has boasted that he “ fought for Israel like no president ever before.”


But in recent weeks, Trump has reiterated his criticisms of how Israel — and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — are handling the conflict. After the Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel, Trump said that Netanyahu had been unprepared for the attack. He also called the anti-Israel Lebanese militant group Hezbollah “very smart.”

And in an interview published late last month in Israel Hayom, a news outlet whose publisher is Republican mega-donor Miriam Adelson, Trump said that Israel had made a “very big mistake” by broadcasting images of the war.

“I think that’s one of the reasons that there has been a lot of kickback. If people didn’t see that, every single night I’d watch and every single one of those,” Trump told the newspaper. “And I think Israel wanted to show that it’s tough, but sometimes you shouldn’t be doing that.”

Trump’s remarks on Thursday came after seven people died on Monday in an Israeli strike against a convoy from World Central Kitchen, an aid organization that provides meals to civilians suffering from hunger due to conflicts. Netanyahu admitted that an “unintentional” Israeli airstrike killed “innocent people” in Gaza, adding that “we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”


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