Gov. Christie’s Trip to Israel: Commitment, Not Hype

When a presidential candidate like Governor Chris Christie boards a plane to Israel in the middle of its fight for Jewish survival against Hamas the cynics among us are quick to dismiss it as a mere photo opportunity designed to curry favor and capture headlines. However, a closer examination of Christie’s actions and words over the years paints a picture of a man whose support for Israel and the Jewish people is deeply woven into the fabric of his public service career, rather than being the opportunistic posturing of a transient ally or the smug isolationism of Vivek Ramaswamy.

Christie’s recent trip to Israel is not the inception of his allegiance to the Jewish state or the global Jewish community. It’s the continuation of a profound, principled stand that dates back to his early days in office. His unwavering stance on Israel’s right to self-defense and his forthright condemnation of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are testaments to his resolute belief in Jewish survival and prosperity.

The former New Jersey governor’s understanding of the complex geopolitical dynamics that affect Israel’s security has always been sophisticated. Christie recognizes that Israel’s safety concerns are not abstract fears but real-life predicaments that demand robust support from global allies. His advocacy for bolstered security aid to Israel demonstrates his grasp of the strategic partnership’s depth between the United States and Israel, which is about mutual democratic values and shared interests.

Moreover, Christie’s engagement with the Jewish community extends beyond international borders. At home, he has been a defender of religious freedom, fighting against anti-Semitism and standing with the Jewish community to ensure their rights and way of life are protected. Christie has not been a fair-weather friend but a steadfast partner in both times of peace and peril.

Detractors may point to the timing of such trips coinciding with political aspirations or international turmoil. Yet, the substance of Christie’s engagement, the relationships he has fostered, and the consistency of his support do not lend themselves to the narrative of political expediency. His visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, his celebration of trade relationships between New Jersey and Israeli businesses, and his commitment to education about the Holocaust for future generations are not staged for effect but are the embodiment of a genuine alliance.

In December 2021, Christie began to press for the extradition of the terrorists who beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in February 2002. February 2022, when a Pakistan court moved to release those convicted of Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder, it wasn’t the State Department or the sitting administration that led the charge against this miscarriage of justice — it was Chris Christie. Going beyond statements of support, Christie mobilized an effort to reverse this decision, not out of political necessity but from a moral imperative that aligns with his long-term commitment to combating terrorism and standing with the Jewish community at home and abroad.

Christie’s self-directed campaign to ensure the extradition of Pearl’s murderers is emblematic of his dedication to principle over politics and his commitment to the Jewish people. He took to the media, not for self-promotion but to shed light on the profound injustice of the situation, making multiple TV appearances to raise public awareness and to lobby for action. His direct contact with the State Department underscored the need for a firm diplomatic stance, and his unapologetic, vocal demands were instrumental in amplifying the call for justice.

The real litmus test for an ally to Israel and the Jewish people is not merely the presence in a place of significance but the actions and commitments that follow.
In an era where support is often measured by the quickness of a tweet rather than the steadfastness of policy, Christie’s support for Israel and the Jewish community stands apart. It is, indeed, the real deal—a long-term commitment that understands the gravity of historical alliances and the importance of their endurance for future prosperity and survival.

This trip, like his trip in 2012, is another chapter in a long narrative of dedication. It’s a pilgrimage of solidarity that signals to both friends and foes that Chris Christie’s support is not transient. It’s as perennial as the historical bonds he seeks to uphold. As he walks through Jerusalem, engaging with its people and immersing himself in its history, Christie is sending an unequivocal message: his commitment to Israel and the Jewish people is unwavering, genuine, and grounded in a vision that looks well beyond the momentary flash of cameras.

About the Author
Robert Goldberg has written extensively about Zionism and Israel for several years. His articles have been featured in prominent publications such as Tablet, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, National Review, Algemeiner, and the American Spectator. Additionally, he is writing a book on lessons from the Haggadah about responding to anti-Zionist Jews. As Vice President of The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, he writes about healthcare issues.