Most of the 14 (??) remaining GOP candidates congregated in Washington yesterday to put themselves at the mercy of the Republican Jewish Coalition. It was a spectacular display of men (and Carly Fiorina) who generally devote a lot of energy to convincing people that they are deeply Christian competing to answer one, important question: Who can pander to Jews the hardest?
Of course, the RJC is mostly just the front for mega-donor and billionaire Sheldon Adelson (who didn’t even show up to his own party). Though Adelson has supposedly already picked Rubio as his candidate of 2016, our small army of Hebrew-hopefuls didn’t let that dampen their spirits.
Here are the most embarrassing, uncomfortable displays of GOP candidate pandering at the RJC Forum.
1. Jim Gilmore: I’ve seen Schindler’s List.
Jim Gilmore may not have been in any of the televised debates thus far, and he may have a mere 0.1 percent of the projected vote, but in terms of shameless semitic groveling, he was the real winner of the day.
2. Jeb Bush: I know what Hannukah is.
Take it away Jeb!
[There was a video here]
3. Ted Cruz: I will kill your enemies.
Cruz stuck to what works: Vowing to annihilate Israel’s enemies, no matter how inane or impossible that promise might be. He also made sure to note that voting for his opponent will probably lead to the nuclear annihilation of Israel:
We need to nominate a candidate who has the clarity to stand up and say: If you vote for Hillary Clinton, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khamenei to have nuclear weapons.
This position is admittedly not quite as extreme as his father’s, who has said: “Hitler went to the pastors and patted them on the back, and said ‘Look, you take care of their souls; I’ll take care of the rest of it. Leave the country to me.’ And the Church bought it hook line and sinker, and as a result of that, 6 million Jews were massacred.”
But it’s close!
4. Marco Rubio: I will also kill your enemies.
Consider this: Just weeks ago, Palestinian Authority president . . . Mahmoud Abbas began a speech to a UN body by asking, quote, “For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last? After 67 years, how long?” As we all know, sixty-seven years ago was 1948, the year of Israel’s creation. So the man who is supposed to be Israel’s “partner for peace” has just said that all of Israel is illegitimate and that the Jewish state is an “occupation” of someone else’s land. . . . But our president said nothing. By his silence, our government emboldened those who seek Israel’s destruction and made itself a bystander to a poisonous lie.
Then, of course, he promised to get rid of the Iran deal and effectively dismissed any attempt at brokering a two-state solution, saying, “There is no moral equivalence between Israel and those who seek to destroy her.”
5. Some of John Kasich’s best theoretical friends are Jewish.
Kasich stuck to the ol’ relating-to-the-outsider classic: One of you guys already likes me:
My mother told me one time, she said, Johnny — when I was a very young man — she said, ‘Johnny, if you want to look for a really good friend, get somebody who’s Jewish.’ And you know why she said that? She said, no matter what happens to you, your friend, your Jewish friend will stick by your side and fight right with you and stand by you.
6. Ben Carson: I’ve read Israel’s Wikipedia page.
Failed attempted murderer Ben Carson, who just got back from a refugee camp vacay in Jordan, made sure to stick directly to his script at all costs—because he wanted to make sure he hit “all my points.” With eyes glued to the podium for all 30 minutes of his speech, he spoke through both his (rare) moments of applause and his odd mispronunciation of Hamas.
Though the latter gaffe was incredibly mild by our demolished 2016 standards, it was still a welcome reprieve from what Carson apparently thought was his safest route into Jews’ hearts and pockets: An Israeli history book report that would make Hebrew school teacher moderately proud.
7. Mike Huckabee: I can’t be raptured if you don’t have Israel.
Mike Huckabee actually does sincerely want Jews to be in total control of Israel. He has to! After all, when the actual Apocalypse takes place exactly as the Bible foretold, Jesus can only come back to save and/or slay accordingly if the Jews are in their native land (where they will then, of course, die for their sins as fire rains down from the heavens, etc.).
Judaism is the foundation of everything I believe as an Evangelical.
It maybe just slipped his mind.
8. Lindsey Graham: I know how you guys like your abortions.
Graham to Jewish GOP voters, versus Trump: "'We’re literally going to round them up.' That sound familiar to you?"— daveweigel (@daveweigel) December 3, 2015
Incessant hawk Lindsey Graham actually talked about something other than military might, most likely in an attempt to stand out against the sea of speeches trumpeting the need to defend Israel at all costs:
How many of you believe we’ve got a problem with young women as Republicans? How about abortion? I believe that you can be pro-life and win an election. But if you are going to tell a woman who has been raped she has to carry the child of a rapist, you’re losing most Americans. Good luck with that.
9. Rick Santorum: I’ve met someone who’s Jewish once.
Talking about his time on the Armed Services Committee, Santorum casually mentioned the time he “worked with Joe Lieberman, trying to transform our military from a Cold War force to one that was going to deal with — we called it at the time — asymmetric threats, now called terrorism.”
10. Donald Trump: I hear you guys like money.
Donald Trump went a markedly different route than his peers—which is to say, the vaguely anti-semitic prejudice route:
You’re not gonna support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine. Five months ago I was with you. I do want your support, but I don’t want your money.
As well as:
... Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates them, perhaps more than any other room I’ve ever spoken in.
But there’s another reason Trump ranks last. Not only did he actively insult his audience, he also demurred on a direct question regarding whether or not he supported Jerusalem as Israel’s undisputed capital (Israel itself recognizes Jerusalem as its capital, but as parts fall outside of Israel’s recognized borders, the international community keeps its embassies in Tel Aviv). Which is perhaps one of the first reasonable things to come out of Trump’s mouth in weeks.
Boos quickly ensued
Mazel tov and shalom to all.