Republicans Declare Unwavering Support for Israel as Conflict Escalates

by Lucas Garcia
Republican presidential candidates support for Israel

As the Israeli-Hamas conflict intensifies, Republican presidential hopefuls avowed their unequivocal backing for Israel. Their endorsements came during an appearance before a prominent Republican Jewish audience, a scheduled campaign event that coincided with Israel’s escalated military actions. The event was also marked by the withdrawal of a key 2024 candidate, former Vice President Mike Pence.

In his final speech as a candidate, Pence articulated a traditional Republican perspective on assertive U.S. foreign policy, in contrast to the “America First” doctrine championed by his former superior, current nomination front-runner Donald Trump.

While refraining from mentioning Trump, Pence called upon President Joe Biden to lend unequivocal backing to Israel’s incursion into Gaza, initiated in retaliation to Hamas’ October 7 assault, resulting in over 1,000 casualties. Israel has since initiated airstrikes and severed power and communication lines in the Palestinian territory as it escalates its campaign against the militant organization.

Upon concluding his remarks, Pence exhorted attendees of the Republican Jewish Coalition summit to steadfastly adhere to principles of faith, family, and the U.S. Constitution, while underscoring America’s leadership role in the international community.

Later in the day, Donald Trump was scheduled to address the audience, continuing the tradition of warm receptions he has received from this group in the past.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy endorsed Israel’s irrefutable right to self-defense in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attack. They further chastised Democrats and liberal figures for their perceived inadequacy in denouncing rising antisemitism in America.

This year’s gathering occurs against the backdrop of Israel’s expanding ground operations in Gaza, a departure from previous years when the event primarily served as a platform for Republican presidential candidates to appeal to Jewish constituents and demonstrate their unflinching support for Israel.

Scott, frequently referencing his Christian faith, labeled Hamas’ actions as the “embodiment of evil” and turned to the Book of Proverbs to express kinship with the Jewish people.

Despite previous criticisms from Pence about his foreign policy acumen, Ramaswamy took a militant stance. He asserted that he would fully support Israeli forces lining up the heads of top Hamas leaders along the Israel-Gaza border. He also dismissed the idea of a two-state solution, to the applause of the audience.

Support for Donald Trump was visibly present, even without the iconic red yarmulkes bearing his name as seen in past years. When former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a vocal critic of Trump, took the stage, he was met with immediate disapproval.

The late billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a longstanding benefactor of the organization, had thrown his weight behind Trump in 2016. His widow, Miriam Adelson, although a significant donor, has opted for neutrality in the primaries.

The presidential hopefuls uniformly denounced President Biden, particularly for transferring $6 billion to Iran in exchange for the release of detained U.S. citizens—a move the administration claims is yet to be spent.

Biden’s recent visit to Israel was an attempt to express solidarity while also mitigating the risk of the conflict broadening regionally. Domestically, he has appealed to Congress for military aid for Israel and Ukraine, identifying both conflicts as pressing global security issues.

Most candidates focused extensively on Israel, with little discussion on Ukraine. Ramaswamy, who has been sporadically critical of U.S. aid to Israel, mentioned a personal contribution to a charter flight aimed at evacuating Americans from the country, an action similar to that taken by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Scott highlighted his legislative efforts to combat antisemitism and accused liberals of not doing enough to counteract the marginalization of Jewish Americans. When U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s name was invoked, a chorus of boos filled the room. Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has been a controversial figure for her calls to reassess U.S. military aid to Israel, inviting criticism from members of both political parties.

Scott accused Democrats of tolerating antisemitism in their ranks to avoid offending their liberal base.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Republican presidential candidates support for Israel

What was the primary focus of the Republican presidential candidates’ speeches?

The primary focus of the Republican presidential candidates’ speeches was to express unwavering support for Israel, especially in the context of its escalating conflict with Hamas.

Why did Mike Pence drop out of the 2024 presidential race?

While Mike Pence did not specify the reason for his withdrawal from the 2024 presidential race, he used his final speech to underline traditional GOP views on robust U.S. foreign policy, contrasting it with the “America First” ideology of his former boss, Donald Trump.

Who criticized President Joe Biden, and for what?

Multiple Republican presidential hopefuls criticized President Joe Biden. The critique was mainly centered around Biden’s transfer of $6 billion to Iran for the release of detained U.S. citizens.

What stance did Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy take on Israel?

Both Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy strongly backed Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas. They also criticized Democratic officials and liberals for not sufficiently condemning antisemitism in the United States.

What was the reaction to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie?

Chris Christie, a vocal critic of Donald Trump, was met with immediate boos upon taking the stage.

How did the candidates view the role of the United States in the Israeli-Hamas conflict?

Most candidates, including Mike Pence, advocated for a strong and unconditional U.S. support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas. Vivek Ramaswamy, however, mentioned that America should focus on its own affairs and avoid foreign entanglements not directly related to its homeland.

What was unique about this year’s gathering at the Republican Jewish Coalition summit?

This year’s gathering took place against the backdrop of Israel’s intensifying ground operations in Gaza, shifting the event from its traditional focus on simply providing a platform for GOP hopefuls to express their support for Israel.

Was there a discussion on other international conflicts, such as the situation in Ukraine?

The situation in Ukraine was largely omitted from the candidates’ remarks, with the primary focus being on Israel and its conflict with Hamas.

Who were the notable donors or benefactors for the Republican Jewish Coalition?

Sheldon Adelson, a late billionaire and GOP megadonor, had been a significant benefactor of the coalition. His widow, Miriam Adelson, remains a major donor but has chosen to remain neutral in the primaries.

What was the audience’s reaction to U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib?

When U.S. Senator Tim Scott mentioned U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the crowd responded with boos. Tlaib has been a controversial figure for her calls to reassess U.S. military aid to Israel.

More about Republican presidential candidates support for Israel

  • Republican Jewish Coalition Summit 2023
  • Mike Pence’s Speech Transcript
  • Donald Trump’s Position on Israel
  • Tim Scott on Israel and Antisemitism
  • Vivek Ramaswamy’s Views on U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Biden Administration’s $6 Billion Transfer to Iran
  • Israel-Hamas Conflict: A Timeline
  • U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel and Ukraine
  • Sheldon Adelson’s Influence on GOP Politics
  • U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Stance on Israel

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EmilyLaw October 28, 2023 - 10:15 pm

christie getting booed lol. Guess criticising Trump is still a no-go in GOP circles.

CryptoMike October 29, 2023 - 5:10 am

Pence distancing from Trump’s “America First” makes me think he’s got a longer term strategy. Wonder what it is.

Jenny_Politics October 29, 2023 - 8:45 am

So Adelson’s widow is staying neutral, huh? That’s a big deal, she’s got deep pockets and could sway things.

SteveCrypto October 29, 2023 - 9:59 am

What’s with the 6 billion to Iran? That’s not gonna sit well with GOP or even some Dems I reckon.

Mark_the_Analyst October 29, 2023 - 10:51 am

Curious that Ukraine barely got a mention. Seems like everyone’s focus is squarely on Israel right now.

Katie_in_Tech October 29, 2023 - 1:00 pm

Tim Scott’s invoking his Christian faith again. Interesting how he connects it with support for Israel.

JohnDoe101 October 29, 2023 - 2:39 pm

Wow, so Pence is out? That’s big news. Didn’t see that one coming. What’s his game plan now, I wonder.

Local_Reporter October 29, 2023 - 2:57 pm

Audience boos at the mention of Rashida Tlaib. Talk about a polarizing figure.

Sarah_in_Finance October 29, 2023 - 4:12 pm

Ramaswamy’s stance on Israel sounds extreme. Heads on stakes? Seriously? Thats crossing a line imo.

Gary_Econ October 29, 2023 - 4:34 pm

Biden linking military aid for Israel and Ukraine? Thats a new angle. Wonder what the implications are on a global scale.


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