LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21, 2015 — Dr. Benjamin Carson is a deeply religious Christian who has very warm feelings for the state of Israel and the Jewish people. At the Republican Jewish Coalition 2015 Presidential Candidates Forum, he was not shy about expressing that affection.
Carson was introduced by RJC member Jeffrey Gunter. Carson spoke in his trademark calm style. This was his chance to make an important first impression on a group of people who largely considered him a kind and decent man they knew very little about. Carson announced at the beginning that, while he normally speaks spontaneously, this time he would use a script to make sure he did not miss a single point he wanted to make.
He took his first trip to Israel one year ago.
Carson started out very professorial, talking about what it means to be an ally. While he has an appreciation for the past, this audience wanted to hear about what he would do in the future. His warm words about what John Quincy Adams thought about the Jews had the crowd silent and restless.
He recited every war Israel has had to fight, which the crowd already knew. He took way too long to get to the meat of his message. He pointed out that 68 years of bloodshed could have been avoided had the Palestinians not rejected peace in 1948.
He insisted that the United States should not impose peace. It should enable the parties to reach lasting peace. Israel should remain a Jewish state. He spent far too much time talking about the problems of the two-state solution.
He even praised President Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an odd move given that FDR was no friend of the Jews.
Carson did correctly say that the Israeli conflict with Palestinians was a “red herring” in relation to other Middle East problems. He then went back into citing statistics about other conflicts.
“It is clear to me that the Obama administration has zero understanding of the conflict in this region.”
He cited Obama and Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of the Arab Spring.
Near the end of the speech Carson even conceded that he was saying things the audience already knew. Only near the end of the speech did he shift from history to policy, and only briefly.
He accurately noted that we do not have the tools to vet Syrian refugees. The proper course of action is to create safe havens in Syria for the refugees.
He then went back to history before finally offering some very brief non-Israel comments. He wants lower taxes and a strong military. We should not surrender Judeo-Christian values for the sake of political correctness.
Carson left no time for questions, and almost all of his entire speech was a history lesson. Carson’s supporters tout his thoughtfulness and decency. His critics point to his lack of fire and passion. With this speech, his supporters and critics were both right.