US Presidential Candidates Back Israel, Oppose Iran

US politicians seek to stand with Israel. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

US politicians seek to stand with Israel. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

In a world where bashing Israel can score political points in the Middle East and even in some parts of the West, the US stood out on Monday as each of the candidates running for President speaking at the annual AIPAC policy conference not only professed their support for Israel, but tried to argue they’d be the best friend to Israel out of the group.

Four of the five remaining contenders for the US Presidency—Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republicans Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich—each backed Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians and each took turns taking on Iran, according to transcripts of their speeches. Trump and Cruz, in transcripts posted to the AIPAC website, argued they’d undo the Iranian nuclear deal to better prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, while Kasich and Clinton both wanted to re-up sanctions on Iran if they broke the agreement.

Clinton, Trump and Cruz all promised to oppose a United Nations-imposed solution on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, while Kasich—in a transcript published by TIME Magazine’s website—said that the US should work “quietly to facilitate Palestinian and Israeli efforts at reconciliation” and called for the Palestinians to “take real steps” for peace.

Cruz issued some of the strongest language, saying he would re-impose sanctions on Iran “on the first day” of his presidency and saying he would personally go to the UN ]to veto a resolution unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state.

Trump, meanwhile, vowed to take on Iran’s global terrorism network. Said Trump, “We will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network, which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us.”

Clinton and Cruz each addressed the boycott Israel movement, with Clinton effectively equating it with anti-Semitism. “Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people,” said Clinton in her transcript, which was posted to the AIPAC website.

Currently, Clinton leads the Democrat race to be that party’s nominee, while Trump leads the Republican side. Cruz and Kasich are still in the running in what has proven to be a closer Republican election than usual.

While each of the candidates may or may not agree with Israel on everything—Clinton in her past role as Secretary of State already has had her disagreements with Israel—one thing they can all agree upon: Israel is America’s friend, and it’s worth defending.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 22, 2016)

What do you think?