Americans and Israelis face “exactly the same” threat from radical Islam, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said on Sunday, arguing that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump would do much more for American security – and Israel – than Barack Obama.
America’s most popular cable news host spoke with Israel’s Channel 10 Sunday evening, addressing the rising threat from ISIS and other Islamic terror groups, the upcoming American presidential elections, and political bias in the media’s coverage of candidates like Mr. Trump.
Following the devastating terror attack in Orlando which left 49 dead and 53 wounded, O’Reilly said that Americans and Israeli Jews faced “exactly the same” threat from radical Islamist elements at home and around the world.
"I think the threat is exactly the same. These jihadists want to kill all the Jews, they want to kill all the Americans and impose this medieval type of Islam on the world. So I don't see any difference at all."
Turning to this year’s presidential election, O’Reilly, a registered independent, suggested that GOP the nominee was unfairly criticized by American media outlets for his rhetoric, defending the reality TV star from claims of racism.
"Israelis should understand that there is a lot of hatred in politics in the United States because you guys have that too. And the media generally, in America, hates Donald Trump. It's personal. They loathe him. So any mistake he makes they're going to mock him and do all that. It's called the 'gotcha game'. So by saying 'look, we gotta stop illegal aliens from coming through the Mexican border, and some of them are very bad people', which Trump did, then the press says look he's demonizing all Mexicans.”
“It's the same thing with the Muslims. 'We're gonna stop the Muslims from coming into the United States' – 'well Trump is demonizing all Muslims'. I mean, you could look at it both ways. But for Trump, he's a populist, he's trying to get people who are angry about the current state of affairs in America to support him. Now, I know the guy for 30 years. Does he hate Mexicans? No. Does he hire a lot of Mexicans? Yes. Does he hate Muslims? No. Is he much more skeptical about Islam than Barack Obama is? Yes, he is. He hasn't made it very personal. Donald Trump has made it very personal."
O’Reilly acknowledged that Trump, who registered as a Republican in 2012, differs from mainstream American conservatism, but said his core principles – from military spending to the economy – were closely linked to those of conservatives.
"I don't think Donald Trump is a conservative, but I do believe that he takes positions he feels will rally conservatives to his side. He's not being a hypocrite, he believes that [sic] a strong national defense, he believes that the economy should be free market and that America's getting a bad deal abroad and he will right that wrong."
Regarding Israel and the upcoming election, Fox News host suggested both candidates would be supportive of the Jewish state, but hinted that Trump would give Israel “more” than Obama – and perhaps his potential Democratic successor.
"I think people in Israel should appreciate the fact that America has looked out for them ever since your state was formed. I don't think that's going to change. I think America will look out for Israel. But it's how aggressive are we going to be against our enemies and your enemies. How aggressive are we going to be against the Iranians, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas? And that depends on the individual in office. I don't think Obama gave you guys too much. I think Trump will give you more. But I don't think Hillary Clinton – I don't think she's going to turn her back on Israel. I think she may be very friendly to Israel. I could be wrong. But leadership in America directly affects every Israeli."