(Jerusalem, Israel) — On Sunday, I was interviewed on the Fox News Channel to discuss President Obama’s latest trip to the Middle East, my recent visit to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah, the op-ed I wrote for the Jerusalem Post about that trip, and The First Hostage.
You can watch the video of the interview by clicking here. Also, here is a transcript of the conversation I had with Fox anchor Shannon Bream:
SHANNON BREAM: Germany is the last stop on President Obama’s three-country tour. He began the week, of course, with a bit of a tense trip to Saudi Arabia, as that region faces numerous critical challenges.
Tucked in the midst of all the trouble is Jordan, where King Abdullah II is not only managing the influx of more than a million refugees, but also waging a constant battle against the threats from ISIS. There are growing questions about why the U.S. and — in that region — more Arab nations aren’t stepping up to do more to help the man who has been viewed as our most faithful Sunni Arab ally.
Joel Rosenberg, best-selling author…met days ago with King Abdullah and came away with some key insights and joins us now live from Jerusalem. Welcome to you, Joel.
ROSENBERG: Great to be with you, Shannon. Shalom from Jerusalem.
BREAM: And listen, let me ask you — you had an unbelievable amount of access, a special invitation from King Abdullah. Tell us a little bit about what you saw, and what kind of viewpoint it gives you now, on exactly what Jordan and that region is facing.
ROSENBERG: It was fascinating. King Abdullah in January was given a copy of my recent novel, The First Hostage, which is about ISIS — the Islamic State — trying to capture chemical weapons in Syria and launch an attack against the United States, Israel and Jordan, and even try to topple King Abdullah. A friend of his, an advisor to him, gave him the book, and he read it in just a few days. And rather than banning me from the kingdom, invited my wife and I on a five day visit. It was fascinating.
Look, King Abdullah is our most faithful Sunni Arab ally, and yet he faces enormous challenges. All of us in this region face the threat of ISIS, but Jordan, you know — ISIS’s roots run deep in Jordan. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who invented ISIS — then called Al Qaeda in Iraq — was from Jordan. So the king faces a huge challenge, but I think he is up for it. I spent time with him, having lunch with him, having dinner with him, meeting with many of his top generals. He’s a Special Forces guy. He was the head of Special Forces in Jordan before he took the throne. But he needs more American, Arab and international help.
BREAM: Yeah, and we have such a delicate score of relationships across that region, as you know. You know about the visit to Saudi Arabia this week, the tensions that are there. We also have word this week that the U.S. has spent more than $8 million purchasing heavy water nuclear materials from Iran, and some people see a link there between the meetings with Saudi Arabia, the pressure regarding Iran, and now this new purchase at a time when a lot of people here still aren’t sold on the overall nuke deal that we just made with them.
ROSENBERG: Yes, what is surprising almost every Sunni Arab leader in the region — and certainly Israel, as well — is why is the President of the United States tipping away from our historic allies — Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, and again obviously Israel, as our most faithful ally in the entire region — and tipping all this effort to help Iran? And not taking decisive measures to destroy ISIS once and for all? ISIS and a nuclear Iran pose existential threats to every leader, and every person, in this region, as well as to the United States. And yet the President keeps tipping — when push comes to shove, he’s going with Iran these days. This is a huge mistake. It bothers me. It bothers many in this region.
BREAM: Well, Joel, we thank you so much for giving us some insights. You’ve written an op-ed that gives even more about that amazing trip you had with the King. And you know how I feel about The First Hostage. I can understand why after reading it he would have invited you. It is a great read. People will be entertained, as they always are with your books, but they will learn a lot about what we’re really facing, as well. Joel, thank you for joining us live from Jerusalem.
ROSENBERG: Thank you.
[NOTE: During the interview, Fox News I identified me several times as a “former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” While it’s true that I worked as an aide to him in 2000, that was more than 15 years ago. I want viewers to be clear that I don’t claim to speak for Mr. Netanyahu in any way. My views are wholly my own.]
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