Given the hyperpolarized state of American politics, it was maybe inevitable that the Israel-Hamas battle would grow to be a flash level within the 2024 presidential election. Republicans have been competing to outdo one another of their expressions of assist for Israel. Final weekend, Republican presidential candidates descended on Las Vegas for the annual assembly of the Republican Jewish Coalition on the Venetian. Donald Trump positioned himself as probably the most pro-Israel candidate within the discipline. “I’ll defend our buddy and ally the State of Israel like no one has ever defended,” Trump advised the 1,000-plus crowd of donors and activists. Twice Trump mentioned: “I like Israel.” After his RJC speech, Trump reportedly had a personal dinner with Miriam Adelson, the widow of late GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
Trump’s effusive speech was harm management for having criticized Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling Hezbollah “very good” days after Hamas militants invaded Israel and murdered 1,400 folks on October 7. Trump’s feedback opened himself as much as uncommon criticism on the appropriate. “I’m so ashamed of what he mentioned,” Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Group of America, advised The Washington Publish on October 12. “How does he count on assist from individuals who care about Israel after making statements like this?” Nikki Haley, talking on the RJC mentioned: “As president, I can’t praise Hezbollah. Nor will I criticize Israel’s prime minister in the midst of tragedy and battle.”
Trump advisers have been apprehensive that bashing Netanyahu in the midst of a battle would damage Trump politically with pro-Israel GOP voters. Republicans, in non-public, are praising Joe Biden’s sturdy assist for Israel. “A+” a Republican donor texted me. For Republicans, Biden backing Israel is a win-win. He’s giving Republicans a coverage they favor whereas on the similar time alienating progressive voters, a key a part of the Democratic base. “He’s persevering with to assist Israel beneath large strain from his left flank, so that you gotta give him credit score for that,” a GOP operative mentioned.
There are indicators Biden gained’t keep in complete lockstep with Netanyahu, whom White Home aides reportedly see as doubtlessly shedding energy in Israel given dwindling public assist. The president this week steered a “pause” on humanitarian grounds, although nonetheless stopped wanting calling for a cease-fire, bucking the calls for of some lawmakers in his get together and doubtlessly turning off voters. In accordance with an October 31 ballot, Biden’s assist amongst Arab People, a key constituency in Midwest battleground states, plunged to 17%.
Behind the scenes, Trump has reached out to Jewish leaders to remind them of his pro-Israel document. Klein advised me that Trump referred to as to clarify his criticism of Netanyahu. “I inform the reality and that’s the reality,” Klein recalled Trump saying. To which Klein mentioned he responded: “In marriage and politics you don’t at all times inform the entire fact.” In accordance with Klein, Trump laughed.
The Trump marketing campaign declined to remark.