By David Rubin, Israel National News—
Growing up in “progressive” New York City, I always believed that the Democrats were the only party in town. Republicans (otherwise known as the GOP, or Grand Old Party) were stereotyped as those “rednecks and hicks who live in the sticks” and no Jew in his right mind could ever dream of voting for them.
My views have evolved since then, not only on the liberal knee-jerk social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and school prayer, but especially on what is rapidly becoming a major issue in the GOP – Israel.
While most politicians in Congress would claim to be pro-Israel, the overwhelming majority of Congressional Democrats voted for the Iran nuclear deal, which will enable the staunchly anti-Israel Islamic nation to acquire the nuclear bomb within ten years. That agreement was bitterly opposed by most Israelis across the political spectrum. Furthermore, the leading Democratic candidates for president are on record as supporting an independent Palestinian state. They also oppose Israel’s right to build homes in its ancient and reestablished capital Jerusalem, as well as in its biblical heartland – the regions of Judea and Samaria – mistakenly known to most of the world by the fictional term, the West Bank. This position is taken by leading candidate Hillary Clinton, who infamously phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her term as Secretary of State to sternly lecture him for 45 minutes about the illegality of Israel granting a building permit to Jews in Israel’s capital city. Her views have not changed.
Perhaps it’s time for Jews and other supporters of Israel to take a closer look at the Republicans? Most of the GOP candidates were vehemently opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, and they also tend to support giving Israel a free hand in crushing the terrorism, although some are vague on specifics when it comes to the Palestinian state issue. Let’s examine those who are leading in the polls:
Donald Trump – Trump’s statements about how he loves Israel, and how bad a deal the Iran nuclear deal is, as well as his calls for a very strong American policy against ISIS – all of these are certainly positive, although Mr. Trump has so far been very short on specifics about the Palestinian state issue. His daughter Ivanka is a convert to Judaism and she and her Jewish husband and children are reported to be Sabbath-observant members of an Orthodox synagogue. While that may have a positive influence on Trump’s Land of Israel views, the jury is out until we hear specifics.
Ben Carson – Dr. Carson is on record as opposing the “land for peace” formula of Israel surrendering land in exchange for a peace treaty. In March of 2015, he responded to a questioner, saying, “We need to look at fresh ideas. I don’t have any problem with the Palestinians having a state, but does it need to be within the confines of Israeli territory?” His views tend to be historically/biblically based, which emphasizes that they are genuine and not just produced for political consumption. Carson has also expressed deep concern and has been very vocal about the Islamic Jihadist threat to Western civilization. Such an understanding inherently makes him sympathetic to Israel’s challenges as the one bastion of freedom in the hostile Islamic Middle East.
Ted Cruz – Senator Cruz has spoken out consistently about the importance of letting Israel decide for itself on issues of war and peace and on the Palestinian state issue. He has stated clearly that settlement is an internal Israeli issue that the United States administration should not be involved in. Says Cruz, “I don’t believe an American president should be dictating to the nation of Israel where Israelis can choose to live. And the fact that Israelis choose to live in Judea and Samaria is not justification for terrorism or murder.” It’s also relevant to note that Cruz used the correct historical, biblical terms for the so-called West Bank, making him unique among most of the leading candidates.
Marco Rubio – Rubio has said that if elected, he would not honor the Iran nuclear deal and has also called for the United States to stand with Israel “unconditionally” in its battle against its enemies. While strongly blaming the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the current terrorism and the tensions between Israel and the PA, Sen Rubio has referred to the two state solution, which generally means the land for “peace” formula as the desired goal. He has qualified that by emphasizing that it’s not a realistic goal at this time. According to Rubio, “That’s the ideal outcome, but the conditions for a two-state solution at this moment do not exist.” This places him firmly in the camp of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has repeatedly expressed support for a demilitarized Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, as long as it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.
Even though it’s accurate to say that the GOP candidates cited above are sympathetic towards Israel, I agree that it requires great courage for the candidates to be more Jewish than Israel’s political “Pope”, otherwise known as Binyamin Netanyahu. Nonetheless, the difficult question should be asked of the GOP candidates, “If the PA publicly recognizes Israel as a Jewish state and agrees not to have heavy weapons, would he support the establishment of such an Islamic terrorist nation in Israel’s biblical heartland, in the strategically-vital hills overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport?
Shouldn’t that question be asked of Netanyahu, as well?