3 GOPers back Israel ties


Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee emphasize U.S. ties to Israel during Iowa City forum.

By Brent Griffiths

[email protected]

Three Republican presidential candidates converged on Grace Fellowship Church, a congregation of 100 people, perched just beyond the reach and lights of Iowa City.

Calling each other colleagues and friends, the three men trained their scorn on President Obama, who, they said, has ignored and endangered an important U.S. ally.

“There is no other country that is held with such contempt and disregard as Israel,” said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, adding he sees no nation that more closely resembles America than nation of 8 million.

Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared at the “Jerusalem Call,” a forum sponsored by Israel Allies Foundation, a Washington D.C., group that seeks to mobilize support for the Israel. About 100 people gathered in the sanctuary to hear the three hopefuls and local pastors expound on the topic.

Echoing their past statements, the three candidates continued to criticize the nuclear deal reached among the U.S., Iran, and five other countries plus the European Union. Iran, they said, is not interested in peace.

“This is not a regime interested in temporal power, in gaining assets and land,” Santorum said.

Of the three speakers, Jindal reserved some of his harshest words for fellow Republicans. He challenged Senate Republicans, who are in the majority, to change their procedural rules to allow for a straight majority vote on the nuclear deal.

“It doesn’t take 60 votes,” Jindal said about failed efforts to derail the pact. “You can use the nuclear option to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

Eric Rosenthal, a Cedar Rapids Republican, said he has followed Jindal and said Jindal, if elected, is best equipped to cut spending.

The winner of the 2012 Republican caucuses, Santorum said Iran follows Shiite Islam and believes in what he terms “apocalyptic Islam,” adding that they are more interested in “hereafter than the here and now.”     “We need to stop pussyfooting around who the enemy is and what their objective is,” he said. “They are focused on one thing: to bring about the end times to bring about their savior. This is who we gave a nuclear weapon under this agreement.”

Roger Roth, a retired farmer from Washington, Iowa, said he is drawn to Santorum’s advocacy for Israel during the Pennsylvanian’s time in the Senate. The kind of support Roth said is clearly lacking.

“Our country got away from supporting our allies,” Roth said.

On the broader point of the U.S. relationship with Israel, Huckabee echoed a longtime Republican campaign promise to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to declare the holy city Israel’s capital. In the past, presidents of both political parties have avoided such a move.

An ordained minister, Huckabee said, “I believe that just a surely that God never breaks a promise, so I believe we better keep our promises for our allies.”

Facebook Comments