Which presidential candidate is better for Israel?

July 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share more in common than one might think. They are the source of rifts within their respective political parties; have immediate family members serving as surrogates on the campaign trail and are aware of the divisiveness of Israel as an election issue.

The two U.S. presidential candidates mentioned Israel once during their respective nomination acceptance speeches.

“We must keep supporting Israel’s security,” Clinton said in Philadelphia, on July 28, accepting the Democratic nomination.

Israel is “our greatest ally in the [Middle Eastern] region,” Trump said in Cleveland, on July 21, accepting the Republican nomination.

The speeches came on the heels of the publication of the two major party platforms, which provide more insight into current political positions on Israel than either of the candidates did during their speeches.

The 2016 Democratic platform, discussing both Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a section titled “Middle East,” declares support for Israel and for the Palestinians.

“We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty and dignity,” the platform says.

Jerusalem “should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths,” the platform adds.

The 2016 Republican platform, in a section titled “Our Unequivocal Support for Israel” is equally committed to supporting Israel, albeit with less focus on the rights of the Palestinians.

The party calls for “no daylight between America and Israel” and supports “effective legislation to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel.” This recalls what is currently happening in California, where the state legislature is currently considering a law that, if passed, would prohibit the state from entering into contracts with companies that have policies against foreign countries, including Israel, that are a pretext for violating state anti-discrimination laws.

The Republican platform describes college campus-based BDS movements as “anti-Semitism” and denounces the United Nations’ treatment of Israel as a “pariah state.”

If it is unclear which party and party candidate is better for Israel, maybe it behooves to examine other action from the recently wrapped conventions. At the Republican convention, Oklahoma Governor Marry Fallin, co-chair of the Republican National Committee platform committee, declared, “Israel is a beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.”

But at the Democratic convention, former President Bill Clinton delighted pro-Israel people by sporting a button on his suit lapel that spelled out “Hillary” in Hebrew.

Perhaps Jewish Journal senior political editor Shmuel Rosner said it best in his July 29 Journal cover story when he said that maybe it’s better if the two candidates don’t go into the topic of peace in Israel at all.

“The best option for Israel,” Rosner said, “is for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to not be an issue that the parties highlight or fight over.”

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.