On the Trail

Haley hits Ramaswamy over call to curtail aid to Israel

Haley highlighted her more conventionally conservative foreign policy in contrast to Ramaswamy’s more isolationist posture

Scott Olson/Ivan Apfel/Getty Images

Nikki Haley (l) and Vivek Ramaswany

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, blasted GOP rival Vivek Ramaswamy for recent comments calling to curtail U.S. aid to Israel.

Ramaswamy, who has risen to third place in some recent polls, said in interviews last week that after 2028, when the current U.S. aid package expires, additional aid to Israel compared to other nations in the region “won’t be necessary” because he plans to negotiate broader normalization between Israel and its neighbors. Ramaswamy also said the U.S. should not have a “North Star commitment to any one country, other than the United States of America.”

Haley, a pro-Israel stalwart, criticized Ramaswamy’s comments in a statement on Monday.

“Vivek Ramaswamy is completely wrong to call for ending America’s special bond with Israel,” Haley said. “Support for Israel is both the morally right and strategically smart thing to do. Both countries are stronger and safer because of our iron-clad friendship. As president, I will never abandon Israel.”

A Ramaswamy spokesperson denied to Jewish Insider that the candidate had called for “treating Israel like other Middle East countries,” highlighting comments by Ramaswamy this weekend in response to critics of his stance.

Ramaswamy said on social media the U.S. “will not leave Israel hanging out to dry — ever,” and that it would be “better for everyone if Israel is truly able to stand on its own feet with support from partners across the Middle East that we diplomatically bring to the table.”

In an interview with JI in June, Ramaswamy described himself as an “unapologetic supporter of Israel” and said Israel is the “bedrock of stability in the Middle East.”

Haley’s statement marks an effort to highlight her more traditionally conservative foreign policy stances in comparison to the more isolationist positions being adopted by other GOP candidates, particularly Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy has also called for Ukraine to make concessions to Russia for peace, and for withdrawing U.S. support for Taiwan by 2028.

“This is part of a concerning pattern with Vivek. Between abandoning Israel, abolishing the FBI, and giving Taiwan to China, his foreign policy proposals have a common theme: they make America less safe,” Haley added.

Other major GOP candidates did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Ramaswamy’s stance.

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a letter from CEO Matt Brooks to Ramaswamy on Monday indicating the two had recently spoken, and that Ramaswamy would be attending RJC’s conference in Las Vegas in October. 

“It is clear to me from speaking with you and from your public comments that you are indeed a strong and passionate supporter of Israel,” Brooks wrote. “I think we also agree that support for Israel’s security, including Israel’s qualitative military advantage and deterrence, is very much in America’s national interest.”

Brooks went on to argue for the merits of continued aid to Israel, including that it benefits U.S. businesses and helps enhance U.S. expertise and deter Iran. 

“This is not the time for the US to take an action that would be universally perceived by Israel’s enemies as a weakening of the US-Israel relationship,” Brooks continued. “In this dangerous time, such a move would very decidedly not be in America’s best interest…  I believe that a closer look at the issue of US aid will convince you that now is not the time to end an aid program that provides so much benefit to our nation, strengthens our key strategic ally Israel, and contributes to the stability of the Middle East.”

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