Within the Jewish Community, much attention has been drawn to the 2020 Presidential Race.
The 29 major Democratic candidates’ stances on Jewish issues have all been examined and inspected. While the race for both Democratic and Republican nominee is beginning to wind down, the race for the Libertarian nominee heating up.
In 2016, America’s third-largest party was led by former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who received 4.5 million votes and was just under the cusp of gaining 5% of the vote nationwide.
A 2018 Gallop poll found that 57% of Americans say there is a need for a third party in America, and a 2019 poll by Gallop found that 42% of Americans identify as Independents. The Libertarian Party may not win the White House in 2020, but they certainly have the potential to play a role as a kingmaker.
Below are there are stances on Jewish issues by the top Libertarian candidates for President in 2020.
Chafee is the most notable candidate running for the Libertarian party’s nod. The former Republican Senator and Independent Governor became a Libertarian in July 2019 and announced his candidacy for the party’s nomination six months later.
Out of every Libertarian candidate, Chafee has the most explicit record when it comes to Jewish issues.
As a Senator in 2007, Chafee spoke at Brown University and said, “I am unmovable on the point that the security of the state of Israel is paramount. Everything I have said and will say on the subject has as its ultimate aim the long-term security interests of our ally Israel.”
That said, many Pro-Israel activists were upset with Chafee’s record on Israel as a Senator. Chafee was a critic of Israel’s expansion of settlements and called on the Bush administration to “have a more balanced approach” towards Israel.
Stephen Laffey unsucesffuly challenged the incumbent Chafee for Senate in the Republican Primary in 2005. Laffey was supported by Pro-Israel groups, including the Washington Political Action Committee and CityPAC.
Today, Chafee is a member of J Street’s Advisory Council, which advises the liberal, Pro-Israel organization on issues pertaining to the two-state solution. Other notable members of the council include former Colorado Senator Gary Hart and Matt Duss, a policy advisor to Bernie Sander’s 2020 campaign.
Chafee has an established record with Rhode Island’s Jewish Committee. In 2014, he visited and met with seniors at a Jewish Community Center in Providence
Hornberger is the current front-runner for the Libertarian Primary winning five out of the eight non-binding Libertarian Primaries. He is the founder and President of Future of Freedom Foundation.
Hornberger is outspoken about his position to end all foreign aid to all nations, including Israel. At the same time, Hornberger has said he does not have a problem with fundraising drives “across America that raise money for both the Israeli government and private Israeli groups.” In 2018, Hornberger accused Israel of committing a “massacre” against Palestinians, and in 2019 he said the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel was in response to the “longtime mistreatment of Palestinians.”
In a 2019 op-ed, he stated that he supports open borders and believes that if America had “open immigration” in the 1940s, then the Holocaust would not have occurred. Hornberger has previously claimed that Hitler’s anti-semitism was the result of an abusive father.
In the same 2019 op-ed, he inferred that the state of Israel was created because of the Holocaust. That opinion does fail to take into account the early Zionist Movement by Herzl, which began in the 1890s.
Supreme is a perennial satirical candidate and a performance artist known for wearing a boot on his head. Surprisingly, Supreme has gained support and has won two non-binding Libertarian primaries.
In the past, he has joked on Twitter about moving Israel to “Arizona” or “the middle of Utah.” He describes himself as supporting a no-state solution.
In 2013, Supreme Tweeted “Ron Paul Doesn’t Hate Jews, He Just Speaks To Groups That Hate Jews.”
Kokesh is a military veteran, anti-war activist, and radio talk show host.
Kokesh is Jewish and his grandparents were forced to flee to Canada because of Europe’s anti-semitism.
Kokesh has claimed that he was a victim of anti-semitism by those who did not like his coverage of Occupy Wall Street. Kokesh has stated his distaste that anti-semitism “is more acceptable than other forms of racism.”
Kokesh describes himself as being an anti-Zionist and has been a vocal critic of Israel. He has accused Israel of being an “apartheid state” and of mistreating Palestinians. Kokesh opposes foreign aid to Israel and is against Israel’s policy of military conscription. He has defended Ilhan Omar from accusations of anti-semitism.
Behrman is a software engineer and podcaster who is notable for his position that taxation is theft. Behrman has made limited statements on Jewish issues.
In 2019, he criticized former Republican Congressman and 2020 Republican candidate, Joe Walsh, for supporting Israel.
Armstrong is a former NATO contractor and former member of the Honolulu County, Hawaii Neighborhood Board. He has not made any public statements directly about Jews or Israel.
Armstrong has expressed his opposition to the idea religions must teach certain subjects for them to get financial benefits from the government. He is against the government defining religion.