If elected in 2024, Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur vying for the Republican presidential nomination, would combat antisemitism as part of a broad campaign against what he believes is a far-left ideology dividing the country into victim groups.
“Antisemitism is a symptom of something that is broken in our society,” Ramaswamy told JNS. He added that Jew-hatred points to a “void in our heart as a nation.”
“Whenever a society is broken, you have people who try to find someone to blame. This could take the form of gender ideology, ‘woke’-ism, COVID-ism,” he told JNS. “I would also put antisemitism on that list.”
After graduating from Harvard University with a biology degree, Ramaswamy, 37, studied at Yale Law School, where he earned a J.D. in 2013. At Yale, he was one of the “key members” of a Jewish leadership society called Shabtai, he told JNS. He called the society’s founder Rabbi Shmully Hecht a mentor.
A Cincinnati native, Ramaswamy went on to a career in business. He worked as an investment partner until he founded Roivant Sciences, a biotech company, in 2014; in 2022, he co-founded the financial asset firm Strive Asset Management. Forbes estimates the entrepreneur’s wealth to be in excess of $630 million.
He launched his presidential campaign on Feb. 21. If elected, he would not only be the youngest president ever but also the first Indian-American and first Hindu to hold the highest U.S. office. His wife, Apoora, also a Yale graduate, is a doctor; the couple are parents to two young sons.
In a phone conversation with JNS (he had less than 10 minutes for the interview), Ramaswamy criticized U.S. President Joe Biden’s “appeasement” to antisemites in enlisting the Council on American-Islamic Relations as a partner on the White House’s national strategy to counter antisemitism. (A recent report details decades of antisemitism at CAIR.)
He called Biden a “complete hypocrite” for releasing a strategy against antisemitism that included CAIR’s participation.
And he added that Washington must stop “dignifying” the Palestinian Authority by restoring U.S. funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and funding the P.A. indirectly.
He also said that he supports the Taylor Force Act that bars Congress from funding the P.A. until the Palestinian leadership stops making payments to terrorists and their families.
“The fact that Biden is funding the Palestinian Authority even indirectly is disgraceful,” he said. (Ramaswamy did not specify how the funding was occurring.)
Throughout the call, Ramaswamy described himself as supportive of most of former President Donald Trump’s policies on Israel, specifically moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the “Peace to Prosperity” Mideast plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Abraham Accords 2.0
Describing the Abraham Accords as a “great success,” Ramaswamy said he thinks he can build on Trump’s success.
“I want to go even further than Trump on the Abraham Accords. As president, I want to achieve the Abraham Accords 2.0 and bring in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Indonesia,” he said. “It would be good for everyone.”
Neither Ramaswamy nor Tricia McLaughlin, a senior campaign adviser, specified how he would expand and improve upon the agreement or how he would deepen the U.S. friendship with Israel.
Ramaswamy told JNS that he wants to reach a point where other Middle Eastern countries can normalize relations with Israel formally irrespective of a signed document with the Palestinians.
“I want to get these countries past the Palestinian situation being a hold-up to talks of a broader peace,” he said.