Ramaswamy Accuses GOP of Silencing Debate on Israel
Ramaswamy Accuses GOP of Silencing Debate on Israel

By Nathan Worcester

In recent appearances on X, formerly Twitter, Vivek Ramaswamy questioned what he characterized as a stifling hostility to debate among Republicans on U.S. involvement in the Israel-Hamas war.

“‘Isolationist’ has become the new ‘racist’–a new label,” the businessman and Republican presidential hopeful told Tucker Carlson in an interview on the latter’s X show posted on Oct. 18.

“Pro-Hamas, ridiculous–anti-Israel, ridiculous. But to use that to silence debate on the merits—and whether that comes from the left, the right, it doesn’t much matter—that’s, I think, the ultimate form of anti-Americanism,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.

Elon Musk, the owner of X, drew attention to the conversation between Mr. Ramaswamy and Mr. Carlson. In his re-post of the interview, he described it as “interesting.”

Mr. Ramaswamy’s remarks further differentiate the candidate from many other Republicans, including former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. The two have traded jabs over Israel for months, even before Hamas’s recent terrorist attacks.

“It’s not that Israel needs America, it’s that America needs Israel. They’re on the frontline of defense to Iran,” Ms. Haley told Mr. Ramaswamy during the first Republican presidential debate in August.

A house is completely destroyed after Hamas terrorists attacked near the border of Gaza, in Nir Oz, Israel, on Oct. 19, 2023. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

“We get histrionics from the likes of Lindsey Graham or Nikki Haley or Mike Pence, offering histrionics at a time when you actually could use rational strategy,” Mr. Ramaswamy told Mr. Carlson.

Middle East Crisis

The White House ruled out the possibility of deploying U.S. troops to Israel on Oct. 12, several days after terror group Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

For deterrence, the United States has dispatched two carrier strike groups to the Eastern Mediterranean. On Oct. 17, a Defense Department spokesperson announced that the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) had been dispatched to the region. The Pentagon has given 2,000 U.S. troops “prepare-to-deploy” orders.

On Oct. 19, the day after President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, a U.S. Navy warship in the Red Sea, the U.S.S. Carney, intercepted multiple drones and land attack cruise missiles launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The USS Carney in the Mediterranean Sea on Oct. 23, 2018. (Mass Communication Spc. 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa via AP)

“We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters during a press briefing.

Meanwhile, U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq have been targeted by drone strikes.

‘Clearly Defined Objectives’

Israel may be on the verge of invading the Gaza Strip amid conditions that some groups have characterized as a “humanitarian crisis.”

Last week, Israel ordered the evacuation of 1 million Palestinians from northern Gaza ahead of its possible ground offensive.

Hamas terrorists carried out a surprise attack over the border on Oct. 7, leaving about 1,400 dead and thousands of others wounded, according to the Israeli government. The death toll also includes dozens of Americans. Hamas also took hostages from Israel back into Gaza.

Israel has cut off electricity, water, and humanitarian aid to the territory. Officials in Gaza, a government largely run by Hamas, have said that more than 3,500 people have been killed there, and more than 12,000 wounded, by Israeli airstrikes.

“I’m concerned that a ground invasion into Gaza without clearly defined objectives is going to be the start of another no-win war that is not good for Israel and not good for the United States,” Mr. Ramaswamy told Mr. Carlson in the interview posted Oct. 18.

The 38-year-old entrepreneur also suggested Israel could aim to eliminate, “say, the top hundred in Hamas–okay, we want their heads on stakes lining that southern border of Israel and Gaza. There’s your deterrence.”

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