newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Top US conservative: Politics driving Biden war policy

An interview with U.S. political consultant and lobbyist Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Caucus.

Ralph Reed and his wife JoAnne visit Israeli border communities attacked by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. Credit: Courtesy.
Ralph Reed and his wife JoAnne visit Israeli border communities attacked by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. Credit: Courtesy.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza is a civilizational struggle between barbarism and Western democracy, which has the full support of tens of millions of evangelical Christians in the United States, the head of an American conservative political advocacy organization said on Thursday.

“Israel’s struggle is our struggle and Israel’s enemies are our enemies,” said Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Caucus in an interview with JNS. “It is critical that the war is prosecuted until its objectives are met … to ensure that Gaza does not remain a festering region of radicalism, corruption and terrorism.”

Reed, an American political consultant and lobbyist who served as the first director of the Christian Coalition and chair of the Georgia Republican Party, was in Israel this week on a solidarity mission on behalf of his organization’s 2.7 million members.

“Israel needs all the friends it can muster,” said Dr. Joseph Frager, executive vice president of the New York-based Israel Heritage Foundation, which sponsored the four-day trip for Reed and his wife, Jo Anne. Their visit included a tour of Israeli border communities attacked by Hamas during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre.

“Ultimately, this is a spiritual battle against the Judeo-Christian tradition and the West,” said Reed.

Michigan as a political weight against Israel

In the interview, Reed said he was “extremely disappointed, if not terribly surprised,” that the Biden administration has made its displeasure with the course of the war against Hamas in Gaza “quite clear” after initially unequivocally supporting Israel.

“It is beyond tragic that in appearance if not fact it looks like the conduct of American foreign policy in the Middle East with the State of Israel is being dictated by whether Biden is in danger of losing Arab voters in Michigan,” he said.

“There is a deep, irrational antipathy for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu in certain Democratic foreign-policy establishment figures,” Reed said.

Biden an exception in party turning increasingly progressive

He stressed that U.S. President Joe Biden was, in fact, an exception in the Democratic Party, which he said is more aligned with “the Squad,” the progressives who view the Palestinian cause as a struggle for human rights.

Reed, 62, noted that when he entered politics four decades ago the Democratic Party was more pro-Israel than the Republican Party, which he said had flipped by 180 degrees due to the strongly pro-Israel evangelical base of the Republican Party, which he called “the most important constituency in the party if not in American politics.”

“Any Republican president is going to be pro-Israel or they will lose their base,” he said, predicting that a second Trump presidency will be no less pro-Israel than the first, rhetoric notwithstanding.

Turning to the isolationist wing in his own party, Reed said that it was clear that the only hope to avoid a broader war in the Middle East was for Iran and its proxies to be dealt with from a position of strength.

Evangelical support

The American political lobbyist said he was relatively optimistic that young evangelicals in the United States would maintain their parents’ support for Israel as they get older, saying some polling showing a major drop in support was not a function of their faith but of their youth.

“As they get older their views will change,” he opined.

Raised in Florida among the children of Holocaust survivors, Reed called the global rise in antisemitism “a moral depravity of mankind” which has always existed and which will always continue to exist.

“Not every evil is antisemitic but most forms of evil are antisemitic,” he said.

He cited late U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson as saying that the survival of the Jewish people is the most tangible expression of the existence of God on Earth.

“I have an overarching confidence, bordering on certainty, that as long as there is a God in heaven and that there are Jews on earth, evangelicals in the United States are going to stand with the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” he said.

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