Woodward's Strange Claim About Netanyahu and Israel

Bob Woodward's election hit piece novel is getting most of the attention for his attacks on President Trump, but there is a bizarre claim about Israel that flew under the radar.

Much of the Israel material seems to be dependent on Rex Tillerson, a former oil executive whose tenure as Secretary of State was generally disastrous, but did succeed in getting a sizable chunk of the State Department to resign.

The supposed Tillerson account claims that President Trump was anti-Israel until Netanyahu showing him a doctored or spliced-together video of Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the PLO and Palestinian Authority, calling for violence and murder.

Tillerson supposedly describes this video as spliced together or doctored.

Woodward, who claimed that he had to keep all this material under wraps to do his research, shows no particular interest in tracking anything further about this. Videos of Abbas calling for violence certainly exist. And if Israel had set out to doctor a video, considering its tech industry and the sophistication of its intelligence operations, it could have easily produced something that would take experts to spot.

So the claim doesn't pass the smell test.

President Trump has been consistently pro-Israel. Even long before running for public office. He's also made that into a major plank of his foreign policy. The idea that he reversed course only when he saw a video is implausible. The idea that the Israeli video was so badly done that Tillerson spotted it as a fake is also implausible. Not only does Abbas have a history of violent rhetoric, but if Israel wanted to fake it, Tillerson would never have spotted it. And Woodward shows no interest in tracking down the video and settling the question.

This is a microcosm of how worthless Rage is.