WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Ted Cruz said a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for a nuclear-armed Iran. “We need to nominate a candidate who has the clarity to stand up and say: If you vote for Hillary Clinton, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khamenei to have nuclear weapons,” Cruz said in his speech Thursday to the Republican Jewish Coalition. “And if you vote for me, Iran will never have nuclear weapons.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham said immigration and social issues like abortion were major obstacles to a successful Republican bid for the presidency. He also called for a shift in the party’s rhetoric on immigration and noted his many years of unwavering support for Israel.
Sen. Marco Rubio, the most warmly received of the three, said efforts to boycott Israel are “despicable” and promised to “call on university and religious leaders to speak out with clarity and force on this issue … the same way they speak out on racism.”
Rubio said the recent European move to label products produced in Israeli settlements is discriminatory. He noted his longtime support for Israel, calling himself a “staunch supporter of our military system to the Jewish state.” “Antisemitism hides behind the label of anti-Israel,” he said. “I will put the peace process in perspective. President Obama and Hillary Clinton have made it a defining feature of our relationship – and it should not be because Israel has no partner for peace.” There is, he said, “no moral equivalence between Israel and its enemies.”
Both Cruz and Rubio promised they would immediately move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if elected. Cruz also took on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS, implying that federal funding should be stripped from universities that endorse it.