News & Politics

At Gathering of Presidential Hopefuls, Pence Slams Biden on Israel

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

At the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, former Vice President Mike Pence criticized the Biden administration’s ongoing treatment of Israel, saying, “Make no mistake about it, President Joe Biden has turned his back on Israel.”

Pence pointed out to the gathering of nearly 800 people from around the United States that Biden “restored funding for the Palestinian Authority, announced his intention to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal, and now the Biden administration is planning to open a consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinian people. This is an unlawful step and it’s time for Congress to act to deny President Biden from opening a consulate in Jerusalem.”

Former President Donald Trump closed the Jerusalem consulate and moved American diplomatic staff to a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

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Because it supposedly has renewed ties with the “Palestinian Authority,” the Biden administration said it would reopen the consulate shut down by the Trump administration. This and other recent decisions have alarmed new Israeli leadership.

 

After Pence spoke, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham opened his remarks by claiming, “Israel has no better friend than Mike Pence. Conservatism has no better friend than Mike Pence, and no more decent person has ever held office in this country than Mike Pence.”

Other speakers at the three-day gathering in Las Vegas included Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Ron Desantis, Nikki Haley, Kevin McCarthy, Kristi Noem, Mike Pompeo, Rick Scott, Chris Sununu, Lee Zeldin, and others.

Christie, a Trump surrogate when politically expedient, urged Republicans to move on and promote a “plan for tomorrow, not a grievance about yesterday.”

“Winning campaigns are always the campaigns that look forward, not backwards,” the former New Jersey governor said.

Sununu, who is being pushed to run for U.S. Senate in 2022, offered a few warnings.

“If you think this week is going to carry us for a year, you’ve got another think coming,” the popular New Hampshire governor argued. “If you are sitting here talking about 2020, or you are worried about who’s going to run in ’24, you are missing the boat. You have to be for something. You have to drive forward.”

Cruz, the erstwhile Trump foe who’s wholeheartedly embraced the former president, lauded Trump’s “extraordinary courage” and “steel backbone.”

But the Texas senator declined to say whether Republicans could expect success at the ballot box if Trump — whose unpopularity with suburban voters cost the party several swing states and ultimately control of the U.S. Senate  — resumed his role as de facto party leader.

Haley surprised some by taking pro-Israel lobby AIPAC to task, specifically over times the group has invited speakers who support anti-Israel measures like rejoining the flawed Iran Nuclear Deal.

The former governor rattled off various complaints from her time as UN ambassador, then argued that the Biden administration can’t be trusted to defend Israel from Iran.

“My biggest takeaways from the conference are confidence that Republicans will not just retake the House, but there is a potential for a tsunami election in 2022, where Republicans are also likely to pick up a majority in the Senate,” RJC Board of Directors Member Eric Levine told PJ Media Monday. “And secondly, the Trump administration has to date been the most pro-Israel administration in history, while the Biden administration is resorting to the failed policies of the Obama years, and is turning its back on Israel and our Arab allies.”