Commentary on Political Economy

Sunday 17 March 2024


Larry Hogan: The U.S. Senate Needs Pro-Israel Voices


Larry Hogan

March 17, 2024 11:08 am ET

Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) speaks at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee bipartisan press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 17. Photo: Bryan Olin Dozier/Zuma Press

The Democratic Party is splintering over Israel. Although it isn’t clear what America’s future partnership with our closest ally will look like, the outcome of the race to succeed Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) could signal the direction. Mr. Cardin has been one of Israel’s most important supporters. When he retires next January, the world will be watching to see who picks up his mantle. One reason I am running for this seat is because we need pro-Israel champions in the Senate who will stand up to the loudest, angriest voices.

Though we belong to different parties, Mr. Cardin and I have worked together to do what is best for Maryland. I commend him for being a consistent supporter of Israel. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has worked to protect aid to Israel and to promote a strong U.S.-Israel partnership.

His approach is becoming far too rare in his party. Maryland’s junior senator, Democrat Chris Van Hollen, has become one of the chamber’s most hostile anti-Israel voices. He signed an outrageous letter on March 11 urging President Biden to offer Israel an ultimatum: Expand humanitarian-aid access in Gaza or else lose military assistance.


Both my potential Democratic opponents in this race—Rep. David Trone and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrook—have similarly demonstrated that they wouldn’t adequately support Israel. Each has demanded a cease-fire. Pushing for an immediate cease-fire is tantamount to urging Israel’s surrender, as it would leave Hamas intact to attack again in the future. The Council on American-Islamic Relations—whose executive director said he was “happy to see” the atrocities of Oct. 7 and whose Maryland director has compared Israel to Nazi Germany—applauded Mr. Trone’s call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

By contrast, my stance is this: We all want the violence to end, but the way to do so is to force Hamas terrorists to release every hostage, to surrender and to be held accountable for their crimes. As governor, I faithfully stood with Israel, including by signing an executive order prohibiting agencies and departments from entering into contracts with any business that boycotts Israel.

Following the Oct. 7 massacre, I also withdrew from two fellowships at Harvard when I saw that the university refused to condemn the protests that justified and celebrated Hamas’s terrorism. That is the kind of leadership I will take to the Senate.

History’s lessons are clear: In the face of genocidal acts, we must all stand up to our enemies and for our allies. This isn’t just theoretical; Jews across our country and world are experiencing threats and harassment. Some politicians will say and do whatever seems popular to win an election, but I won’t join them. America’s relationships with our closest allies are too important to toss around as another partisan football.

Mr. Hogan, a Republican, served as Maryland’s governor, 2015-23, and is a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Journal Editorial Report: Paul Gigot interviews WSJ editorial-page writer Elliot Kaufman. Images: Reuters/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly


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