October Pitch

Cardin assures Orthodox Jewish community: Biden would be a ‘trusted ally’ on Israel

‘Joe Biden would never compromise the security of Israel, or the basic commitments that we've made towards Israel’s security’


Michael Brochstein/AP

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) speaking about the Clean Economy Act of 2020.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) assured members of the Orthodox Jewish community on Monday that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would be a “true trusted ally” who would use his long-standing relationships and credibility amongst world players to “always stand by Israel. Cardin was speaking as a campaign surrogate at a virtual candidate forum hosted by the Orthodox Union, one of two events hosted by the group this week featuring representatives from the presidential campaigns. 

A poll, conducted for the American Jewish Committee between September 9 and October 4 with a margin of error of ±4.2%, showed Jewish voters — by a margin of 75-22 —  favor Biden over President Donald Trump in the presidential race. The survey, however, showed Trump earning the support of 75% of Orthodox Jews, with Biden receiving only 18%. 

Asked how a Biden administration would differ from the Obama administration, Cardin told the group that the former vice president “will never be a mystery” to the pro-Israel community. In a Biden-Harris administration, the Maryland senator suggested, “there will never be a question about U.S. support for Israel. But there will be candid discussions as to what are the best strategies in order to keep [the U.S.-Israel] relationship strong and to protect Israel’s security.” 

According to the AJC poll, which was conducted by phone and had a sample size of 1,334, American Jews believe Biden would be better suited to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship by a margin of 12%. Still 42% approve of Trump’s handling of relations with the Jewish state. 

“I’m sure he will disagree with some decisions made by the State of Israel, but Joe Biden would never compromise the security of Israel, or the basic commitments that we’ve made towards Israel’s security — I am convinced about that,” Cardin stressed. “Joe Biden has said so, and Joe Biden is a person of his word. When Joe Biden tells you something, you know, that he’ll live by those words. His credibility, his honesty is beyond any question. And you’ll have a true friend in the White House.” 

Cardin, who voted against the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, defended Biden’s current position on the Iranian threat, saying that he’s right in pointing out that Trump’s withdrawal from the international accord has made the U.S. “less safer.” Cardin said that by leaving the JCPOA, the U.S. “lost a key vote in the United Nations on the [arms] embargo against Iran.” 

On the Zoom call, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) pointed to the rise in antisemitism, saying that “Biden is committed to continuing to protect our Jewish communities, whether through nonprofit security grants… establishing a faith-based law enforcement program dedicated to preventing attacks against houses of worship, strengthening prosecutions of hate crimes, or combating antisemitism abroad.” 

The OU will hold a call with a Trump campaign surrogate Wednesday evening.

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