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Republican Presidential Candidates on Israel: Separate and Unequal

November 25, 2011 7:48 am 13 comments

Rick Santorum. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

In a November 12th interview with The Algemeiner, ADL National Chairman Abraham Foxman declared that when it comes to positions on Israel, “with the exception of Ron Paul, there is not much difference between the parties.” I cannot imagine how he arrived at this conclusion, as in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

It is correct, that in the United States, due to overwhelming popularity among the general populace, Israel as a political issue stands alone. Candidates take sides on every issue, from abortion to gay rights, to the size of government and deficit reduction. However when it comes to Israel, a mainstream American politician that openly champions an anti-Israel stance, more than likely renders himself unelectable.

In order to bypass this inconvenience, many politicians with divergent views on sticky Israeli issues have attempted to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel by formulating their own definitions on what is in Israel’s best interests. If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to run for Congress, he would first proclaim his great love for the Jewish State and then go on to explain that in his well-considered opinion it is in Israel’s best interest to be nuked.

This is precisely the collective point of Republican divergence from Obama Administration positions on Israel. Every single candidate, including Ron Paul (with the exception of his opinion on aid) would look to Israeli government positions as the guide to its interests and for use as a barometer by which to gauge support.

While this is the case, for the sake of clarity and definitive evaluation, I set out to rank the Republican candidates purely in order of ‘how good they would be for Israel.’ Some of their positions on various intricacies have yet to be clarified, and not all relevant information was available to me at the time of publication. As the primary process progresses I suspect that this list will need to be tweaked, but for now, here is my assessment from worst to best:

8. Ron Paul
Paul’s positions on Israel have been almost uniformly derided. Whilst claiming to be non-interventionist on the issue, he has routinely adopted Arab talking points on Israel, even comparing Gaza to ‘a concentration camp.’ His Isolationist mantra may appeal to fiscal conservatives, but in the real world its implementation would create a global power vacuum that would likely be filled by supporters of Israel’s enemies.

7. Jon Huntsman
Although highly critical of Obama administration policies toward Israel, in a recent National Review article, he explained the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood, saying that “when Israel lost confidence in its ally (the United States), their position understandably hardened. This led to the Palestinian Authority also losing hope in the peace process.” While sympathetic, Huntsman blames PA actions on Israeli positions, representing a fundamental misunderstanding of Israel’s predicament.

6. Herman Cain
At a recent New York fundraiser I heard Herman Cain firmly proclaim “if you’re messing with Israel you’re messing with the U.S.A.” While his sentiments seem to be in the right place, his lack of experience and knowledge of the intricacies may mean that he will leave major decisions in the hands of others, which could prove more risky for Israel. This unfamiliarity was demonstrated when he was recently asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace about the Palestinian Arab ‘right of return’ claim, where he responded “Yes, they should have a right to come back if that is a decision that Israel wants to make.”

5. Rick Perry
At a press conference in New York and earlier Jerusalem Post column, Perry outlined his positions on Israel. He strongly opposed the Obama induced settlement freeze, and called on Palestinian Arab leaders to “publicly affirm Israel’s right to exist, and to exist as a Jewish state.” Like Romney, Perry favors ‘Negotiated Settlement,’ and in the absence of Arab compliance, would refrain from placing the onus of the blame on Israel.

4. Mitt Romney
Famously accusing President Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus,” in his book ‘No Apology’ Romney shows sympathy for and understanding of Israel’s challenges. While still favoring and pledging to support a negotiated two state settlement, based on a position paper posted on his website and his comments in a recent National Review Online article, he would allow Israel to take the lead on security issues and he would fight against unilateral Arab actions and anti-Semitic attacks on the State. At Tuesday’s televised foreign policy debate Romney was the first candidate to pledge that his first foreign trip as president would be to Israel. His policies would likely be most similar to those of George W. Bush.

3. Newt Gingrich
“No country can be expected to conduct peace negotiations with a terrorist organization, or with a Palestinian Governmental Authority that joins forces with such a terrorist organization,” declared Gingrich at a Republican Jewish Coalition event. Like many of the other candidates, he supports the status of Jerusalem as the “undivided capital of the Jewish state.” Widely viewed as the smartest candidate, his views translate into nuanced and comprehensive pro-Israel policy.

2. Michelle Bachmann
A video posted on Bachmann’s website demonstrates a notable understanding on Middle East issues. Her first trip to the Holy Land was in 1974, when, at age 17 she joined a group of Minnesota teens to spend a summer in Israel. At a recent dinner for the Zionist Organization of America she said “if I am President, not one inch of Israel will ever be on the chopping block,” uniquely expressing the view that any territorial concessions are dangerous for Israel.

1. Rick Santorum
In a recent off the cuff campaign trail interview, Santorum broke ranks when he schooled a reporter on Israeli history. Regarding development in the territories of Judea and Samaria, he said, “the bottom line is that that is legitimately Israeli country. And they have a right to do within their country just like we have a right to do within our country.” He also denied the existence of ‘Palestinians’ as a distinct people, thus dismissing calls for the establishment of another hostile Arab state on Israel’s border. He did not clarify what the legal status of West Bank Arabs should be.

The Author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com. Please visit www.algemeiner.com for more information.

13 Comments

  • william canosa

    lets get people like marco rubio and paul ryan out of the congress all they want to do is give the american people vouchers for health care that will not buy anything as the voucher will be not enough money to buy health. Why dont the congress take a voucher they have been screwing the people for years. they and their family take everything because the congress and senate pass laws that give themselves and their family the best that our money can buy. cantor is not worth the money we pay him.

  • What enemies would Israel face if the US cut off its funding across the board? There would be no funding to the PLO army (called the PA “security” forces), and a host of other countries and the UN. Without US direct and indirect funding most of Israel’s enemies would wither and Israel would be free to deal with any remaining enemies as it sees fit without the State Department’s threat of cutoff of aid. The Jews and the Arabs of the Middle East would finally be freed of the tyranny of the PLO and its cohorts.

  • Shawn Lorenzo York

    Nice try Mr. Efune; Your entire analysis on Ron Paul is based on the assumption that America is somehow obligated to support and get involved in Israel’s religious battles; “but in the real world its implementation would create a global power vacuum that would likely be filled by supporters of Israel’s enemies.” Israel has enough nukes to take care of itself just fine. There is only one candidate that can bring about peace and you know it.

  • Ron Paul supports voluntary aid to Israel. He supported bombing of Osirak in 1980s, Ron Paul will cut all Wash.DC aid to Islamic countries.

    Don’t lie to your readers. Ron Paul is most pro-Israel in GOP field.

    Obama = Romney = Perry = Cain = Gingrich = different puppets, same deceitful/ traitorous federal reserve/Bankster masters.

    Gingrich = endless wives, endless wars/empire, $1.8-Million Freddie-mac bribe, commie Gingrichcare, 3rd world amnesty/welfare, $16-Trillion/bailouts.

    Cain = Kansas Federal Reserve thug, “Libya swirls in my head”, unauthorized finger in panties, $16-Trillion/Bailouts, endless wars/empire.

    Romney = commie Romneycare, racist quotas, $16-Trillion/bailouts, abortion, gun control, bloodthirsty war-lust, campaign funding by Banksters.

    Perry = Gardasil for little girls, free health/ education/house/food/amnesty for 3rd world invaders, “niggerhead” on farm, “oops, whats the 3rd one?”, “Bank-of-America helping him out”.

    End the wars/empire, end the federal reserve/IMF/World Bank/BIS/UN/WTO, end racist quotas/unconstitutional departments, end TSA/DHS/ADL/SPLC and other Orwellian crime syndicates.

    Ron Paul will restore Sound money, strong national defense, liberty, free enterprise, local government, strong traditional families, Western Civilization.

  • Oh man!

    You know, I’m hungry, tired, and work myself to the bone on a terrible job that drains my soul every day.

    I can’t wait until the government takes my tax dollars away so that I can help SUPPORT THE ISRAELI STATE! GO JEWS!

    You know, mebbe I’d like to buy something like food, or a pillow, or a blanket, or even a place to sleep. It’d be great, even grand to have even my own little room to myself with a bed and a pillow, and a blanket where I could sleep by myself. Hell mebbe I’d be happy enough to actually have enough money to go on a proper date and bring a girl back to my own place, with my own bed, and my own blanket.

    BUT NO. MAKING SURE ISRAEL HAS ENOUGH OF MY MONEY TO KILL MORE PALESTINIANS AND CREATE MORE SETTLEMENTS WILL DEFINITELY MAKE ME HAPPIER.

    Because apparently AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM is all about forcing Americans to work service jobs, never retire, and slowly die from lack of any healthcare…

    SO THAT ISRAEL IS HAPPY.

    NO seriously. Every candidate on that stage believes that the American people are cattle-slave to be used for the benefit of Israel, and will sell us out.

    Only Ron Paul will free the American people from the insanity that comes from taking the tax dollars of the poor of America and giving them to the rich Israeli elite who already use their fellow “man” as fuel to feed a religious/intolerant/power-hungry land grab. Along with ALL of the ELITE of the world that seek to use their populace as slaves.

    ANY VOTE THAT IS NOT RON PAUL IS A VOTE FOR LEGALIZED WAGE-SLAVERY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ELITE OF ISRAEL AND THE WORLD.

    • JUST THINK. NOW TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BE PRESIDENT. THAT IS ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU THROW UP. NOT ONE OF THEM IS WORKING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOT ONE OF THEM CARE ABOUT THE COUNTRY FOR IF THEY DID THEY WOUD BE FIGHTING FOR WHAT IS RIGHT AND THAT IS A JOB BILL THAT PUT PEOPLE TO WORK. OUR PROBLEM IS THAT WE HAVE A CONGRESS THAT’S WORKING FOR ITSELF NOT THE PEOPLE. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS ITSELF TO BLAME NO ONE ELSE. THEY HAVE BEEN A PARTY OF DOING NOTHING TO HELP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAVE SIGNED PLEDGES TO NOT RAISE TAXES ON THE RICH BECAUSE THAT IS WERE THEY GET THEIR MONEY AND THAT STICK CAME FROM OUTSIDE THE PARTY. WE HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE SO UN AMERICAN THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE LIVING IN THIS COUNTRY, ALL THEY CARE ABOUT ARE THEMSELVES .THE REPUBLICANS WILL DO NOTHING TO HELP OBAMA BECAUSE THEY WANT HIM TO FAIL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    • william canosa

      BOY,AREYOU A JERK. ISRAEL IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD THAT IS ON THE SIDE OF AMERICA. RON PAUL IS NUTS. WE NEED A CONGRESS THATS ON THE SIDE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT ON THE SIDE OF THE CORPORATIONS THAT GIVE BIG MONY TO TO THE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS SO THEY CAN GET THE BILLS THRU THAT BENEFIT THEM.THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS A PARTY THAT CARES NOTHING ABOUT THIS COUNTRY OR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. PEOPLE LIKE PAUL RYAN AND MARCO RUBIO ARE NOT FOR THE PEOPLE THEY ARE FOR THE WEALTHY. WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS WHAT IS CONGRESS GOING TO DO ABOUT THE FREE HEALTH CARE THEY GET THAT THE PEOPLE PAY FOR. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY GIVE THEMSELVES A RAISE IN PAY ANYTIME THEY WANT TO. THEY GIVE THEMSELVES EVERYTHING AND LEAVE NOTHING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WHY DON YOU AND THE REST WHO THINK LIKE YOU WISE UP AND AND GO AFTER THE BUMS WHO ARE BRINGING THIS THIS COUNTRY DOWN TO ITS KNEES AND NOT HELPING IT AT ALL LIKE MR. STONE FACE IN THE SENATE. THANK YOU

    • william canosa

      I feel sorry for you. your thinking is so wrong.

  • Robert Spitalnick

    Ron Paul is an isolationist and libertarian. These positions may be respectable but they are totally at odds with America’s interests and those of Israel. Israel is the United States’ number one ally in the world and is in a hostile environment and constantly threatened by its neighbors. Israel does not want to be “left alone” by its friends, only by its enemies.

    • Robert:”…totally at odds with America’s interests..” – What interest are those free trade and peace? “…and those of Israel” – Why should the “interest” of Israel be the concern of anyone but Israel? “…Israel is the United States’ number one ally in the world..” – The idea that it is an alliance must presuppose that it is against someone, and since you imply “only friend” everyone ells must therefore be an enemy, it’s called logic Robert. There is no reason why America can not be friends with many nations, trading with everyone peacefully. What the neocons is pushing is war..war..war, with ill defined enemies “terrorist” “insurgents” tomorrow it could be me maybe you the day after.

  • “for the sake of clarity and definitive evaluation, I set out to rank the Republican candidates purely in order of ‘how good they would be for Israel.'” – But why? Why not : how good they would be for Ghana; Japan; South-Africa or Lithuania? Why should Israel be treated differently from any other nation?

    Ron Paul claims to be non-interventionist? -LOL, Ha-ha. Your statement or…. I don’t know what to call it borders slander given how Ron Paul pushes that position relentlessly without ever deviating for any country. You can have an Empire or a Republic you can not have both and just like Rome it will fall on its own sword of overburdened bureaucracy, fiscal mismanagement and military overexpansion.
    I am not an American, but let me tell you what in the rest of the world we wish we politicians like Ron Paul, you American don’t know how lucky you are.

  • Ron Paul supports Israel’s rights to be left alone. Other Republicans want to control Israel as we have for over 60 years. Free Israel from the American empire.

    • william canosa

      DID YOU KNOW THAT AT&T GAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY MORE THEN FOUR HUNDRED AND 60 THOUSAND DOLLARS. WHY DONT THEY USE IT TO LOWER OUR BILL. COMPANIES LIKE THIS USE BRIB MONEY TO GET BILLS THRU THAT BENEFIT THEM. THATS THE CONGRESS WE HAVE THAT WILL DO ANYTHING FOR A BUCK. THATS WHY THE REPUBLICANS WONT RAISE THE TAX ON THE WEALTHY. BETWEEN THE TWO PARTYS THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE ONES TO VOTE FOR THE GIVE BACK TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

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