Five themes defined former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s recent whirlwind tour in Israel.
- Support the State of Israel.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer introduced Pence during his visit to Jerusalem by stating that he “loves Israel with his heart, his head and his soul.”
Following his visit to the Western Wall, Pence—a devout Christian with unshakable principles—reiterated: “The success, prosperity and security of Israel is and shall always remain a high priority to the overwhelming majority of American people.”
The former vice president never misses an opportunity to praise Israel, as he marvels over the dozens of airplanes loaded with humanitarian aid to Ukraine and Israel’s willingness to absorb more than 20,000 refugees. Israeli citizens wait at the airport to greet the Ukrainians and welcome them home. Many are preparing Shabbat meals and offering their homes to those fleeing terror. Pence reminded us that for the first time since World War II, Jewish refugees finally have a place to call home.
Visiting the holy city of Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs where Abraham, the father of three great religions, was buried was “one of the greatest honors of my life.”
- Stand up to our enemies and support our allies.
It was the administration of former U.S. President Donald, under which Pence served as vice president, that demonstrated a willingness to stand up to our adversaries and challenge evil around the world. Pence reminded the audience that it was “our administration that took down ISIS in Syria and its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, without one American casualty.”
Strong leadership was missing, however, during the terrible tragedy that befell 13 American patriots who lost their lives under U.S. President Joe Biden’s disastrous departure from Afghanistan.
Decisive action was taken in Syria when the red line was crossed. “We sent not one, but two rounds of cruise missiles into [Basher] Assad’s regime. It was our administration with our friends that took the historic action that eliminated Qassem Soleimani [Head of Iranian Quds force] off the battlefield,” stated Pence to a round of applause.
The Trump-Pence administration used force to stand up against America’s enemies and stand with its allies. “This served as a deterrent” to those who would do us harm, explained Pence. “Ours was the only administration in the 21st century where [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russians did not attempt to redraw geographic boundaries in Europe by force.”
- Do not allow weakness to arouse evil.
“These are perilous times. History teaches that weakness arouses evil,” he said, clearly referring to Biden’s many foreign-policy debacles.
During the Bush administration, he said, “they moved tanks into Georgia; during the [Barack] Obama-Biden administration, they moved into Crimea; and now, tragically, we all watched hour-by-hour the Russian invasion of Ukraine”—trampled cities and the death of innocents created a refugee crisis that has not occurred since World War II.
The need to have an American president who is strong on foreign policy was a theme articulated throughout Pence’s visit.
“From unilateral concessions to Russia, to reentering the new START Treaty, to the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Nord Stream 2 [pipeline] … the current weakness of President Biden’s foreign policy, lack of decisive action, zero strategy or follow-through has emboldened our enemies around the world to make decisions that they would not have taken during the Trump-Pence administration,” he said.
- Stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Deterring Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is one of the most important missions of the Israeli and American governments. The Trump-Pence administration withdrew in 2018 from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal, and exerted “maximum [sanctions] pressure,” coupled with a removal of other economic benefits. Now, the Biden administration has undone the progress that was made and perhaps gone even further towards Iran’s nuclear demands than the JCPOA.
Negotiations in Vienna are due to conclude soon with a reported win for the Iranians. It is rumored that sanctions relief to Iran will be $100 billion. So desperate for a deal, any deal, it seems the Biden negotiators, with Russia’s assistance, gave in to Iranian demands to stop International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification. If true, Iran will continue to hide its plutonium, materials and sites and still receive sanctions relief.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani “criticized the U.S. approach towards the ongoing talks in Vienna … saying it shows that Washington has no desire for a strong deal.”
Pence’s answer to this problem was, unequivocally, “The next American president will tear up the Iran deal.”
- Stand up for freedom.
“The world is a more dangerous place for America, Israel and all the freedom-loving nations around the world,” lamented Pence. As Russia bombards Kyiv, the world is witnessing Ukrainian freedom slip away.
While praising Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s leadership and railing against Putin, Pence said that his belief is and always has been: “There is no room in the party for apologists for Putin. There is only room for champions of freedom.”
America must lead the charge for freedom again. This means getting involved in the 2022 elections to support candidates seeking to maintain our liberties and God-given Constitutional rights. Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) executive director Matt Brooks had this to say: “Mike Pence’s steadfast determination and hard work to bring Republican control back to the House and Senate this year will help both the United States and Israel.” The vice president stopped short of making any announcements about his plans to run for president.
Pence’s three-day visit to Israel concluded with an optimistic voice looking to the future of the partnership between the United States and Israel, and a Republican-majority Congress that will “stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies as never before.”
Valerie Greenfeld worked in the Reagan White House and the U.S. Senate. She is a dual American-Israeli citizen and supports Republicans Overseas Israel. The views expressed are her own and not the reflection of any organization.