Introducing Mike Pence: Israel’s Best Friend

This may come as a shock to some people but politicians often say things just to get elected and forget what was said once they do. This past week, riding in on what portends to be the greatest pro-Israel administration since the inception of the Jewish state, president-elect Donald Trump and his vice president Mike Pence will assume the reins of power on January 20, 2017.

In choosing Pence as his running mate this past July, Trump wasn’t looking for a carbon copy of himself but a calm, establishment conservative well versed in the ways of Washington and a voice of reason to offset his own brashness. His faith in these qualities was exhibited this past Friday when he chose the vice president-elect to head their transition team, abruptly replacing New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Joining him in this luminous position is a team of unprecedented pro-Israel/Jewish advocates which, for starters, include: 

  • Jason D. Greenblatt -- Trump chief lawyer, close friend and orthodox Jew.
  • Rudy Giuliani -- Long time influential friend of Israel, welcomed guest in Jerusalem’s corridors of power.
  • David Friedman -- Speculated as possible ambassador to Israel under the new administration, Friedman has an impeccable pro-Israel stance 
  • Steven Mnuchin -- Served as Trump’s campaign finance chairman and mentioned as possible Secretary of the Treasury. His father, Robert is a renowned Jewish philanthropist. 
  • Jared Kushner -- Orthodox Jewish son-in-law of the president-elect and close confidant has been described as “de facto campaign manager,” and was reportedly highly influential in the billionaire’s selection of Mike Pence as running mate.
  • Richard Grenell -- On a short List of candidates for UN ambassador. Arthur Schwartz, a strategist for pro-Israel groups stated: “Ric Grenell has proven to be stridently pro-Israel.”

However, none of these refreshingly pro-Israel supporters have an actual congressional voting record, as does Mike Pence. Long before dreaming of one day serving as our 48th vice-president, Pence has had an impeccable record of ardent support for the Jewish state.

As far back the 104th Congress (2003-2004) he sponsored House Bill, H.Con.Res371. The bill supports the construction by Israel of a security fence to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks, and condemns the decision by the United Nations General Assembly to request the International Court of Justice render an opinion on the legality of the security fence. 

The United Nations General Assembly ruled: ‘‘The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around east Jerusalem and its associated regime, is contrary to international law.’’ The carnage inflicted upon Jewish civilians by Palestinian terrorists with unfettered access to Israel meant nothing to the UN.

In support of his bill, Pence spoke before the House and 164 bipartisan but mainly Republican supporters on July 9, 2004. and stated in part:

“With this extraordinarily biased decision, the International Court of Justice has become an international disgrace. This outrageous ruling confirms what many of us have feared, that opponents of Israel have overtaken the judicial process at the U.N.’s highest judicial court and have begun to use it for political aims on the world stage.”

During the 111th Congress (2009-2011), he was amongst 33 cosponsors of H.Res 1734: Reaffirming Congressional opposition to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state; a decision not loved by all. The Arab American Institute had compiled a scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress (January 3, 2011-January 3, 2013) on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Pence was roundly disparaged for the following:

  • Supporting the Jerusalem Embassy Act.
  • Withholding US contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes.
  • Opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
  • prohibiting any US government document from referring to “Palestine.”
  • Defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

If they didn’t love him on those issues it’s doubtful they did after he signed the Hoyer-Cantor Letter to then Secretary Clinton in 2010. It was written to counter an Obama onslaught against Israel for what then was another failed peace initiative. It read in part:

"We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension. In every important relationship, there will be occasional misunderstandings and conflicts. But our valuable bilateral relationship with Israel needs and deserves constant reinforcement.”

This past October Pence stressed both his and the president-elect’s support for the Jewish State by echoing Trump’s vow to: "make America and Israel safe again" and said his administration would "stand side-by-side with the Jewish people.” Speaking of side by side, in a video prepared for the Israeli public, Pence had this to say:

"Israel is not just our strongest ally in the region. As I've said for so many years, Israel is our most cherished ally in the world.” He went on: "Donald Trump and I stand with Israel because Israel's fight is our fight. Israel's cause is our cause. And Israel's fate is our fate.” (see this short 3-minute video).

Well respected on both sides of the aisle throughout his tenure in the House of Representatives from 2001-13, he was a ranking member of the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he advocated for robust military aid for Israel.

In 2012, Pence left the House of Representatives to serve as governor of Indiana, but never wavered in his steady support of Israel. He visited the Jewish state in late 2014 and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the trip David Brog, a member of the board of directors at Christians United for Israel, praised the Indiana governor as one of the Jewish state’s "most steadfast supporters."

For proponents of Israel and Jewish concerns eight years of political winter has finally ended. The Trump administration is replete with many friends of Israel, but none greater than Mike Pence.

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