aid arguments

GOP candidate in Virginia swing district says he opposes additional aid to Israel, then backpedals

In interview with right-wing show, Cameron Hamilton said he doesn’t think Israel ‘needs’ more money and that the U.S. should ‘renegotiate’ its partnership

Hamilton Congress website

Cameron Hamilton

Cameron Hamilton, a Republican candidate in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District — a key swing seat between Washington, D.C. and Richmond — said in a media interview last week that he didn’t support providing additional aid to Israel, but backpedaled when pressed by Jewish Insider.

“I’m a big supporter of Israel. I don’t know that their economy needs it right now,” Hamilton said last week in an interview on Real America’s Voice, a far-right streaming TV channel, when asked if he supports additional funding for Israel. “I believe that we should renegotiate any of those trade alliances.”

“I’ll always defend Israel,” he continued. “But again, I don’t know that we should be sending more and more money overseas right now when we are operating at a hundred-billion-dollar-a-month deficit.”

In response to a followup question by JI, Hamilton appeared to walk those comments back, saying he wouldn’t support the Senate’s joint Israel/Ukraine/Taiwan package but would support a standalone Israel bill.

“In the last seconds of a rapid fire interview segment I responded to multiple topics at once and my longstanding and public stance on support for Israel was not properly reflected. I stand with Israel 100%, I believe Hamas needs to be eradicated, and that as our greatest ally in the region Israel should get all the American support that they need to ensure their safety,” Hamilton told JI. 

“I do not support the Senate bill that improperly joined aid to Israel with aid to Ukraine, but I would 100% support a standalone aid bill for Israel. I have made my stance in support of Israel clear publicly and repeatedly in interviews and public statements, and any insinuation to the contrary is completely false.”

Hamilton’s campaign also told JI he has worn a wristband reading “Shema Israel” on a daily basis for years. He’s appeared on several occasions in recent months as a pro-Israel commentator in various media outlets.

The candidate also said in the Real America’s Voice interview he’d oppose any further funding for Ukraine. His original comments are similar to  an emerging sentiment on the right flank of the GOP reflected by the House Freedom Caucus — which opposes additional U.S. aid to Israel without funding cuts elsewhere in the government while professing to support the Jewish state — as well as the party’s growing isolationist sentiment.

Hamilton, who has said he trained as a Navy Seal alongside Israeli special forces, has defended Israel and its military campaign. “As this conflict drags on, our country must not waver in supporting Israel. They are our most important ally, and their actions against Hamas are justified and proportional,” he said in December.

On Oct. 10, he called for the U.S. to “stand with Israel not only with our words, but also with our actions and policy.”

Cameron is running in the Republican primary for the seat currently held by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), who is leaving Congress to mount a gubernatorial run. Cameron currently lags in fundraising among Republicans, behind top GOP recruit Derrick Anderson.

Anderson told JI that he is “100% behind Israel and giving them the assistance they need to take out the Hamas terrorists.”

“Strong leaders will be able to confront the crises we face at home at the same time we help protect our closest ally in the Middle East in their time of existential peril,” he continued. “Having trained with the Israeli Defense Forces in the Hamas tunnels, I know that Israel constantly faces the threat of being wiped off the map. We need to have our allies’ back against these terrorist butchers”

Hamilton said in the Real America’s Voice interview he’s running primarily on his national security background. He’s a former Navy Seal and Afghanistan war veteran, who went on to serve as a security officer in the State Department and a division director in the Department of Homeland Security. 

“I bring a national security, diplomatic and military affairs experience to the table,” Cameron said in the interview. “I’ve worked in the federal government in various jobs and capacities, and I understand the bureaucratic sickness that our government is plagued with.”

He described himself as an “America First” candidate and “MAGA candidate” who would have opposed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). He did, however, call former President Donald Trump “not perfect,” praising his policies while criticizing “all the rhetoric.”

Hamilton framed himself as the anti-establishment candidate, drawing a contrast with Anderson, the National Republican Campaign Committee’s preferred candidate. Cameron has been endorsed by Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.

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