Due to the large field of candidates, just ten of the many candidates vying to be the Republican nominee for president will be featured on the initial debates at Fox News and CNN, giving urgency to the campaigning before the August 6 Fox News debate. Below are snippets from some of the candidates illustrating their viewpoint toward Israel and its relationship with the United States.
The strong support of every American president is vital for Israel, while the US is amply rewarded for supporting the Jewish state, its most stalwart ally in the volatile Middle East. Israel shares America’s democratic ethos; it is the only country in the region that allows freedom of religion and tolerance for the LGBT community; its army (IDF) works in close cooperation with the US military; its intelligence services provide invaluable information to America; it twice stymied the nuclear weapons development of Arab nations (Iraq and Syria); and much more.
Ted Cruz, freshman senator from Texas of Hispanic heritage, accomplished orator and staunch Conservative
“I told the attendees [at the Christian conference] if you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you, that those who hate Israel also hate America, that those who hate Jews also hate Christians, and that anyone who hates Israel and the Jewish people is not following the teachings of Christ.” (Washington Post – Dec. ’14)
“I think the United States should stand unshakably with the nation of Israel. I think one of the most disgraceful aspects of the Obama presidency has been how it has treated Prime Minister Netanyahu…” (salon.com – March ’15)
“There is one threat on the face of the planet right now that poses a meaningful possibility of once against exterminating 6 million Jews, and that is a nuclear Iran.” (breakingisraelnews.com – March ’15)
In a letter to the secretary-general of the United Nations, Cruz warned Ban Ki-moon that continued anti-Israel actions could force Congress to “reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences.” (freebeacon.com – June, ’15)
Ben Carson, Conservative African American, retired neurosurgeon and political neophyte
Carson, a political outsider, is in the learning stage about Israel and all things political. Prominent on his website is this: “Israel is our only democratic ally in the Middle East. She is surrounded by nations that threaten her very existence. We can never let her enemies believe that our deep commitment to Israel’s peace and security will waver. We must always stand with Israel and her people. (bencarson.com – current)
Rick Perry, longest serving Texas governor (2000-2015) and former US Air Force pilot
Perhaps best known as a presidential hopeful who flubbed a debate question, Perry hopes to rebrand himself despite currently being under indictment on a charge that most informed sources believe is politically motivated.
“Israel needs more than our passive support — it needs our vigorous support… Should the international community fail to join us in sufficient numbers, the United States should block actions in the United Nations aimed at preventing Israel from defending itself.” (politico.com — Aug. ’14)
“I am alarmed by reports that the Obama administration is contemplating a move away from America’s long record of support for Israel in the United Nations. I urge the president to turn away from such a path. The United States should be strongly committed to our ally Israel and to promoting policies that protect our shared interests.” (weeklystandard.com – March ’15)
“President Obama’s treatment of Israel is deplorable and a sad chapter in our bilateral relations. Congressional Republicans were right to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak. Benjamin Netanyahu believes President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is such a serious threat that he is willing to complicate his own relations with the Obama administration to speak to the American people and Congress about it. When we’re talking about the nuclear program of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, I want more debate — not less. I want Israel treated with the respect they deserve as our oldest and strongest democratic ally in the Middle East — not like a problem to be managed.” (rickpac.org current)
Rand Paul, freshman senator from Kentucky, former physician, libertarian roots
“I’m proud to support Israel, America’s longtime friend and ally in the Middle East.
Israeli cafés and buses are bombed, towns are victimized by hundreds of rockets, and its citizens are attacked by Palestinian terrorists. It’s time we took a stand for Israel by standing up to the enemies of Israel, the enemies that murder Israeli citizens.
“That’s why I proposed a bill called the ‘Stand with Israel Act’ to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority. As long as the Palestinian Authority is allied with Hamas, not one more tax dollar should flow to them.” (randpaul.com – current)
“Following the PLO’s unity deal with terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Paul introduced the Stand With Israel Act. If it had passed into law, Paul’s act would have required the US to cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority, including its security forces. The only way the administration could have wiggled out of the aid cutoff would have been by certifying that the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had effectively stopped being the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad…. Yes, Paul is a complicated character. But that doesn’t make him Israel’s enemy. His bill was an act of friendship. And Israel can use more friends in Washington who actually do things that help it rather than suffice with declaring their support for Israel while standing by as its reputation is trashed.” [Paul introduced a complementary second bill in Jan. ’15] (Carolyn Glick in jpost.com – July, ’14)
John Kasich is serving his second term as Ohio governor, was a Representative for 18 years in Congress, and is a former Fox News host.
Kasich was the only sitting governor who attended the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress on Iran last March. “I have been forever a very strong and emotional supporter of Israel. There’s nothing new here. I’ve had a great interest in foreign affairs for a very long time.” (Telegraph-Forum – March ’15)
Bobby Jindal, 2nd-term governor of Louisiana, former congressman, Rhodes Scholar, son of immigrants from Punjab,
“Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took aim at the Obama administration in an interview Thursday, slamming the president for his ‘disrespect’ for Israel and the Jewish people. (RELATED: Obama Claims Paris Shooters ‘Randomly’ Shot Up Kosher Deli)
Jindal specifically took issue with the ISIS military authorization drafted by the Obama administration listing a group of minorities that have specifically been targeted by the terrorist organization. The resolution mentions Christians, Yazidis, and Turkmens, but not Jews.” (dailycaller.com – Feb. ’15)
“The Administration’s threat today to change America’s posture at the United Nations with regard to support for Israel is reckless and dangerous for both the security of Israel and our own security. This is consistent with the Obama Administration’s policy of treating our friends like enemies and our enemies like friends. This is either a reckless threat from the President, or it is a signal that he is indeed planning to steer America away from our historic commitment to support and defend our greatest ally in the Middle East. Make no mistake, this action, combined with the potential of the President striking a deal to allow Iran to become a nuclear power, is not in the security interests of the United States of America.” (weeklystandard.com – July ’15)
Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, lost a bid for Senate in 2010, and is the sole Republican female candidate.
“The one thing we could and should be doing is supporting our allies as they have asked us to. So we would support Israel by stopping talking to Iran now. You know, it’s amazing to me, President Obama laid out a very clear set of goals for this deal when this process first started. Not a single one of those goals has been achieved.”
Fiorina said that she would ‘absolutely’ repudiate any deal made with Iran on her first day in office. Tensions with Israel are in no small measure due to President Obama.
“It’s a series of criticisms of Israel in the middle of negotiations. It’s threatening to go to the U.N. and side with the Palestinians in their quest at the U.N. it’s a refusal to meet with Bibi Netanyahu when he comes to this country.” (timesofisrael.com – May ’15)
“In response to a question about what she would do on her first day in office if she were elected, Fiorina said that her first phone call would be to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“How we treat our friends is reassuring to our other friends. This administration has made the world a more dangerous place by the way they have treated Israel.” (breitbart.com – May ’15)
From what I can see, the campaigns of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are more likely aimed at a vice presidential appointment than the presidential nomination.
More on the final group of Republican candidates in my next column.