VP Choice Pence Reaffirms Israel Devotion

Donald Trump may alarm Washington’s foreign policy establishment with his “America First” rhetoric but Mike Pence, Trump’s VP choice, reaffirms a commitment to the traditional “Israel First” doctrine, as Sam Husseini shows.

By Sam Husseini

Indiana Gov. (and Republican vice presidential nominee) Mike Pence addressed the Republican Convention on Wednesday night and declared: “And if the world knows nothing else, it will know this: America stands with Israel.”  

I’ve heard him say that before. Being a journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area, I try to ask tough questions of political figures when I can. Perhaps my favorite question is some variation of “do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons?” I’ve asked this of many political figures and virtually no one has given me a straightforward response. 

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

 

But the most surreal — almost comical — response came from Donald Trump’s VP pick in 2011. At the time, he was a congressman and vice-chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia: 

Question: You’ve also served on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Do you know that Israel has nuclear weapons? 

Pence: [long pause, looks down] I’m — I am aware that Israel is our most cherished ally. And I strongly support Israel’s right of self defense and to take such actions as are necessary to secure their homeland as much as we take actions to secure ours.

Question: Do you think it increases or decreases U.S. credibility around the world when U.S. government officials can’t even acknowledge that Israel has a massive nuclear arsenal?  

Pence: The American people support Israel. I call Israel our most cherished ally and I will continue to stand — without apology — for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and strong cooperation with our most cherished ally in a very volatile part of the world.

He was utterly incapable of engaging on the issue of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. His passionate attachment to Israel has become a mantra and no inconvenient facts need enter the equation. 

Since my questioning of Pence and others U.S. leaders — shown in The Absurd U.S. Stance on Israel’s Nukes: A Video Sampling of Denial” — information has come out about gag orders on the subject.

As Grant Smith of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy wrote in 2015: “Under two known gag orders — punishable by imprisonment — U.S. security-cleared government agency employees and contractors may not disclose that Israel has a nuclear weapons program. GEN-16 is a ‘no-comment’ regulation on ‘classified information in the public domain.’ ‘DOE Classification Bulletin WPN-136 on Foreign Nuclear Capabilities’ forbids stating what 63.9 percent of Americans already know — that Israel has a nuclear arsenal.'”

Thanks to Matt Bradley and Chris Belcher for help with the Washington Stakeout project, which questioning Pence was a part of: @dcstakeout and on YouTube

Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of votepact.org, which urges left-right cooperation. Follow him on twitter: @samhusseini.

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12 comments for “VP Choice Pence Reaffirms Israel Devotion

  1. Zachary Smith
    July 21, 2016 at 11:35 am

    And this man is supposed to be one heartbeat from becoming president?

    Though it’s difficult to make the likes of Hillary appear reasonable by comparison, it appears Trump and his carefully chosen sidekick Pence are working very hard towards making that happen.

    My thanks to Mr. Husseini for the information about the gag orders protecting the open secret of Israel’s nuclear weapons. It’s something I hadn’t known about before now.

    Pence is even more of a joke than I’d suspected. A very bad joke, I might add.

    Washington – How safe is Baghdad, and are Americans getting the real picture? One Hoosier lawmaker got a first-hand look over the weekend.

    In Iraq, another day brings more explosion and death. Thirteen people were killed, including school children, when a suicide truck bomber hit a police station in the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk. In Baghdad, a parked car exploded, leaving three dead and ten others wounded. But Republican lawmakers said those pictures don’t show the whole story of what is happening in Iraq.

    “We moved and mingled among some of the warmest, and most welcoming people that I’ve ever met on the face of the earth,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana).

    Indiana’s Mike Pence toured a Baghdad market with Arizona Senator John McCain. Military photos show the delegation wearing body armor, surrounded by soldiers, as helicopters and gunships hovered overhead.

    Still, Pence talked of moving freely, comparing it to a scene from back home.

    “I candidly was not prepared to find a marketplace where thousands and thousands of Iraqis were moving about in regular everyday life like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,” said Pence.

    http://www.wthr.com/global/story.asp?s=6314683&ClientType=Printable

    I repeat, this man is supposed to be one heartbeat from becoming president?

  2. John P
    July 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

    That’s Israel’s aim, to destabilize those around them, divide them all up against one another so they can proceed with their illegal take over of Palestinian land and perhaps others. They tried to take southern Lebanon from the Litani river south but over many years were turfed out, but I’m sure it is still on their agenda. And they use American to do some of the heavy lifting and they finish off with their inhuman mop ups.

  3. Ol' Hippy
    July 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I suppose Israel can rest easier now that Pence is #2 for the vaunted chair because Trump for a time was a bit more moderate towards our Zionist buds. With that out of the way, I’m still wondering why so many of the US’s troubles in the middle east can be directly traced to Israel’s concerns or demands. This even more so since the cold war ended over 25 years ago. I still believe Israel will continue being an ever larger burden as the world runs out of the only resource in the middle east, the almighty oil which is the lifeblood of the USA. What will happen to all those desperate hoards when there’s no oil left to sell to buy food? The ones that Israel has pissed on for all these years. Will this force Israel to then the heard with their nukes? The ones no one will acknowledge exists, or even the known number of weapons in the stockpile? I’m under the view that there are some darker times ahead when our Arab friends are left with little in the way for buying food because their masters have squandered their wealth living in absurd luxury while their subjects toiled away in the oil fields and Israel pissed off the rest with their Zionist dreams.
    So we maybe should plan a bit toward the future and reevaluate our whole stance toward Israel and the looming trouble on the very near horizon. And instead of fanning the flames even more, step back and take a good look at policy as now it is before we have a situation we cant reverse.

  4. F. G. Sanford
    July 21, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb…

    Cherish is the word Pence used to describe,
    All the nukes his lobby donors wish to hide,
    You don’t know how many times they promised contributions,
    You don’t know how many times they paid for resolutions,
    You don’t know how many times they bribed and threatened
    They could swing elections to
    Enhance their secret lobby plan…and they can…

    Nightmarish is the word the that more than applies,
    Elections rigged to favor crazy fascist allies,
    That mideast potentates control our politicians,
    That they can undermine the best of our traditions
    That they can make us get in bed with those
    Positions that could start atomic wars-
    And cherish what the saner world abhors…

    Oh sure they say we’re friends, they share our fond desires,
    They say the words we want to hear but then abuse us…
    They quote the bible, but every peace initiative expires,
    The Samson Option could come next-
    We’ve got to be out of our minds!

    Oh you could say we need them, but you don’t realize,
    They will condemn you, with what their lobby money buys,
    They’ll say they love you, but that’s another pack of lies,
    All they want is full control of stolen land they occupy,
    They don’t intend to ever compromise!

    Cherish is the word Pence sold for a bribe,
    He’s just another lackey George Seldes might describe,
    Just don’t forget that all the the prophets tried to warn you,
    With friends like Pence, Sebastian Haffner would implore you,
    If you still failed to heed then Shirer might advise you
    That the price of fascist policy is war,
    Genocide and nothing more,

    And they do…cherish that
    Yes they do…cherish that
    Cherish is the word…

    The Association, ‘Cherish’, 1969
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD94tZgPuvc

    • Jerry
      July 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      I love it. This is your best one yet.

    • Zachary Smith
      July 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      He’s just another lackey George Seldes might describe,

      Could that be the same George Seldes who wrote the book “The Great Quotations” sitting beside my computer desk? Sure was! That man got a lot done in his 104 years.

  5. July 22, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Figured it was bad enough Trump attending the AIPAC clique enclave and gushing to the Jews attending about his daughter being a Jew (converted one that is) then to add injury to insult to please the Jews he had to go even one better and Pick this clown Mike Pence as Vice President. Trump may have gained the Jews but the blowback is, he in return has lost a lot of others.

    • Zachary Smith
      July 23, 2016 at 1:38 am

      Trump picking Pence effectively cut off any chance of Sanders supporters voting for Trump.

      In my opinion that freed up Hillary to pick Kaine. That Senator’s support for the TPP treaty and Hillary’s stomping down a platform plank opposing the same treaty puts the icing on the cake – Hillary will start loving TPP again right after getting elected.

      Like, what am I and other Sanders supporters going to do about it – vote for Trump?

  6. Henry S.
    July 24, 2016 at 12:50 am

    It is probably useless to point out to the previous bloggers that Israel is the only bastion of democracy in the middle east where basic human rights are recognized. The obvious anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment expressed by the previous bloggers is a badge of shame with which they brand themselves and contrary to the principles of our American democracy. Shame on all of you.
    As to Sam Husseini making a big to do over his asking a question to which he did not get the answer he wanted: What is his agenda??What is he trying to prove?? Is it not the height of nonsense ?

    • Zachary Smith
      July 24, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      It is probably useless to point out to the previous bloggers that Israel is the only bastion of democracy in the middle east where basic human rights are recognized.

      If the ongoing tragedy in the murderous and thieving little shithole of an apartheid state wasn’t so dreadful, your claim would be a thigh-slapping good joke.

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