In this Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, file photo, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks during the Freedom Summit, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP

Huckabee channels James Taylor on Israel: ‘You’ve got a friend’


Former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is shouting his support for Israel from the rooftops.

Huckabee, who is on a 10-day trip to the country to visit historic sites and to meet with Israeli officials, took to Medium, the online publishing platform, on Monday to criticize President Obama for spending “more time berating Israel for building bedrooms for its families than he has spent bothering Iran for building nuclear bombs.”

“President Obama has spent more time berating Israel for building bedrooms for its families than he has spent bothering Iran for building nuclear bombs.”
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee
The former governor, who has visited Israel many times in the past, also sought to characterize his love for the country, saying “Israel is a friend. While I’m here for the umpteenth time in 42 years, I will tell them, ‘you’ve got a friend.’ And I won’t even need to take James Taylor to sing it.”

The ordained Southern Baptist minister added, “I’m not a Jew. I didn’t even play one on TV. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a more full-throated defender and supporter of the Jewish state than me.” The Washington Examiner also ran his op-ed late last week.

If Huckabee does run in 2016, he’s expected to rally his base of evangelical Christians – a group that strongly backs Israel.

So far during his trip, the former governor has applauded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming and controversial plan to address the U.S. Congress and said he opposes American negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Earlier this month, Huckabee also created waves while discussing religion and President Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech. Huckabee argued his speech demonstrated that only Muslims have the president’s “undying” support and that “everything he does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel.”

RELATED: Mike Huckabee: Obama has ‘undying’ support for Muslims

Huckabee has spent a significant amount of time speaking about religion and social issues – such as gay marriage – that other potential candidates have suggested they’d rather not touch. His remarks, however, could force other 2016 GOPers to match his rhetoric.

According to the latest average of polling data surrounding the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, compiled by Real Clear Politics, Huckabee is in third place with 9% support. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is in the lead with 16.4% and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in second with 9.4%. Close behind Huckabee are Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.