The next Republican presidential debate will be sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, a signal that the war that resulted from Hamas’ assault on Israel will be front and center when the candidates gather in Miami in November.
The inclusion of a Jewish organization as a debate co-sponsor by a major party was announced on Monday for the first time. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency claimed that RJC CEO Matt Brooks stated that the organization’s questioning will center on the war but may also touch on domestic issues, including the recently reported rise in antisemitism.
Former Minnesota senator and longtime RJC chairman Norm Coleman said in a statement that “the issue of American foreign policy has taken on an even greater role as the horrific events of the last week have unfolded in Israel.”
Just over a week after the top presidential contenders are scheduled to speak at the RJC’s annual convention in Las Vegas, the debate will take place. Speeches are permitted there, but candidate sparring is not permitted.
The RJC’s presence in the discussion comes at a time when Republicans, who had previously been recognized for their almost uniform backing of the nation and the policies of its prime leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, are divided on the subject of Israel.
Leading members of the party have praised the Biden administration’s steadfast support for Israel, which includes David Friedman, a former American ambassador to Israel.
Others have charged the Biden administration with hurting Israel, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Some have questioned the scope of American security assistance to Israel, including presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy.
The party’s pro-Israel calculations were complicated last week when the front-runner, former President Donald Trump, made fun of Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict. Other contenders, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, sharply criticized that.
Furthermore, conspiracy theories on the far right claim that Netanyahu disregarded intelligence prior to the conflict in order to further his political ambitions.
Those assertions have received support from those close to Trump, including Charlie Kirk, the leader of the conservative youth movement Turning Point USA. Republicans’ on-going battle to choose a new U.S. Consequently, efforts to promote pro-Israel legislation and funding have stopped due to the House of Representatives. Since Rep. Kevin McCarthy was forced out of office earlier this month by a handful of far-right Republicans, the speaker’s position has remained vacant.
In an interview, Brooks stated that it was still unclear how his group would take part in the discussion. In prior debates, moderators would periodically interrupt to ask a question or several to representatives of interest groups.
We haven’t decided who will represent the RJC yet, so I don’t know who that is yet, he said. But whoever attends in person, live, or via recorded statements as the RJC representative will pose the questions.
Salem Media, a conservative broadcaster, and Rumble, an online video platform for right-wing viewpoints, are the other two co-sponsors of the debate on November 8.