Steve Kramer

Candidates and Israel (Republicans III)

This is the third and last review of wannabes vying for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. There are so many declared candidates that both Fox and CNN will only allow ten to appear in their initial debates.

The two presidential candidates eventually chosen to represent the Democrats and Republicans are crucial for the US because it will take a very strong and wise president to help it regain the respect, confidence, and security that is being squandered by President Obama. The US needs a president like John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan to restore confidence and vigor to the public. Israel needs an American president who respects it and values it as a bulwark for the West in one of the world’s most troublesome regions.

The US needs Israel because 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); it is the only country in the region that allows freedom of religion and tolerance for the LGBT community; and much more.

The remaining candidates are: Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki, none of whom are good bets to be in the “top 10” for the initial debate. On the other hand, some of these candidates could possibly fit the profile needed for the next president.

Mike Huckabee, two-term governor of Arkansas, serious contender for Republican nominee in 2008, evangelical pastor and gung-ho Christian-Zionist, popular former Fox news show host.

“If Israel gives up land, it will get peace, [which is] a complete myth. The idea that they [Palestinians] have a long history, dating back hundreds or thousands of years, is not true.”

Huckabee said the Jews “reflect the values upon which our country was founded upon,” a love for freedom. He compared the Jewish Zealots to American men and women serving in the armed forces. He called the Jews “the only people who ever had this [land of Israel] as their homeland” and said that when young recruits begin their service in the Israel Defense Forces, “they vow that Masada will never fall again — and they mean it.” ( Feb ’15)

“I don’t think the [peace] talks are going anywhere at all. Nothing has been asked of the Palestinians, nothing, not one thing. And until there’s an understanding of the Jewish state’s right to exist, I’m not sure there’s anything to negotiate.” (Ha’ Feb ’14)

“Israel is our closest ally and friend in the Middle East, and they are suffering due to the weak policies of the Obama administration. The president has done little to recognize the growing threat of Hamas. God has protected this tiny, but increasingly powerful nation, and it’s time for the United States to do the same.” ( Oct ’14)

Rick Santorum, congressman and two-time senator from Pennsylvania, runner-up to Mitt Romney for Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election, proudly calls himself a “culture warrior” and “true Christian conservative.”

“The candidate [Santorum] does not support President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, arguing it lets Iran keep enough infrastructure that it could still build a nuclear weapon in the long term. The former member of Congress said he would have signed the letter 47 Republican senators sent to Iran in March warning Tehran against any deal that was not approved by Congress. On Israel, a CNN video shows Santorum supports expanded Israeli settlements and believes the West Bank is Israeli ground, won in the 1967 Six-Day War, comparing it to Texas and territory the U.S. gained in the Mexican-American War.” ( May ’15)

“I would not be as previous Presidents have, pushing the Israelis toward a particular result [regarding territory won in the Six Day War ’67], because we [Obama administration] believe it is in the best interests of our country or some sort of ‘Peace,’ that we have determined is in the best interests of Israel and the region. So my position has been that this is all Israeli territory, it was gained through legitimate means, and they [Israelis] have the right of determining what happens to that ground and to the people who live there.” ( Jan ’12)

Lindsey Graham, former congressman and current two-time senator from South Carolina, 33- year veteran of US Air Force, an authority on national security and military affairs, a longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We provide 25 percent of the funding for the [United Nations] organization. I’m not going to ask the American taxpayer to fund an organization that’s going to be used in a way to marginalize” Israel, which he called “our best friend.”

“Mr. Graham said he would pull the congressional purse strings against the Palestinians, or any country, if they put forward war-crimes cases against the Israel Defense Forces at the International Criminal Court.” ( May ’15)

“My initial impression is that this deal [with Iran] is far worse than I ever dreamed it could be and will be a nightmare for the region, our national security and eventually the world at large, akin to declaring war on Israel and the Sunni Arabs.” ( July ’15)

“The U.S. has always stood strong for Israel in all multilateral institutions and maintained clear and firm opposition to any attempt to use the United Nations or other international bodies to undermine direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  And yet President Obama has indicated he may retreat from that firm stance.  We need a president who will proudly assert our support for Israel and prevent any institution of which the U.S. is a member and a funding source from becoming a tool for undermining Israel and direct negotiations.” ( current ’15)

George Pataki, former three-term governor of New York, a democratic stronghold

“Those who don’t understand how important it is that we stand with Israel, because of its values and its greatness and because it’s such a wonderful ally, don’t understand what Israel has done for us. I again think back to 1991 first Gulf War, when those scuds were raining down on Jerusalem and on Israel … Israel was such a strong and loyal ally, that they couldn’t jeopardize the coalition that President Bush put together, so they allowed their civilians to be attacked, so our military and coalition could succeed. What better example of an ally, who will go beyond the call of duty in support of us, than Israel showed us in 1991.” ( April ’15)

“Speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition this spring, Pataki called for an end to current negotiations with Iran, criticizing current agreement outlines as not tough enough. In the same speech, Pataki said the next president should not attempt to negotiate with current Palestinian leaders until they recognize the right of Israel to exist. In 2002, then-Governor Pataki spoke in favor of another state official’s visit to West Bank settlements.” ( May ’15)

Pataki’s Five principles

“The Jackson Rule: Anyone involved in recruiting or fundraising for ISIS, Hamas or any other terrorist organization will face criminal charges in the U.S.

The Internet does not provide a special safe haven to suspend the laws against incitement to acts of violence against America. ‘The Constitution is not a suicide pact.’

No Peace Talks With current Palestinian leadership: Agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the current Palestinian leaders are not — repeat not — credible partners in peace.

No Foreign Aid To Palestinian Authority: Until the Palestinians stop giving monies to imprisoned terrorists and stipends to families of the suicide bombers, they will not receive U.S. aid.

A New Commitment to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as Star Wars: Work with America’s allies to create a foolproof Iron Dome.” ( April ’15)

This completes my compilation of opinions towards Israel of the leading Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls. If America’s relationship with Israel is near the top of your priority list, you may find this summary helpful. If Israel is further down on your list, the candidates’ statements about Israel could be a tie-breaker in your choice of whom to support.

To access all the articles in this series or previous articles, just go to the IsraelSeen archive:

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.