Hogan for Maryland

Governor Hogan Addresses JCRC of Greater Washington on the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Governor Larry Hogan today addressed the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington on the importance of the United States-Israel relationship. Following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Full Text:

Thank you Ron. 

I want to thank you, the JCRC and Beth Sholom, for this invitation. It is a pleasure to be back here among so many friends. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you at this very challenging time for Israel, for Maryland’s Jewish community, and for Jews all across the world. 

This is the first time that I stand before you as a candidate for the United States Senate, however I’m no newcomer to this community. The people in this room have come to know me over the last eight years as we worked together to change Maryland for the better.

From day one, I made it clear that there would be no place for anti-semitism in the state of Maryland. We increased funding for security at schools, synagogues, and childcare centers at risk for hate crimes. We supported private schools including Jewish schools across the state by funding BOOST scholarships for thousands of children because I believe that every child in Maryland deserves a world-class education regardless of what community they happen to grow up in. And our BOOST scholarship program has helped us make that vision a reality for thousands of children. When the county executive here in Montgomery County ordered all the private schools, including Jewish schools, to close we immediately responded and took a stand for common sense demanding that these schools should have the right to make that determination for themselves.

For eight years, we worked tirelessly together with you to strengthen our already strong relationship with Israel. One of my first trade missions as governor was to Israel. Some of you accompanied us on that successful trip. I will never forget the incredibly moving experience as I was brought to tears laying the wreath at Yad Vashem in remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of unspeakable acts of evil. We deepened our economic partnerships with Israeli businesses and universities, especially in the fields of cybersecurity, biotechnology, the life sciences, and defense—including recruiting the Israeli company Elta, which produced technology for the Iron Dome, to locate its North American headquarters here in Maryland. 

We established a sister state relationship between Maryland and the Negev region. We made it strongly and repeatedly clear that Maryland would stand steadfast in solidarity with Israel against the BDS movement. I was the first governor in America to sign an executive order prohibiting all executive state agencies and departments from entering into any contracts with any business unless that business certified that they would not engage in BDS. And I grieved with you after the tragedy at the Tree of Life shooting. 

We have been through a lot together and I have always been proud to stand arm and arm with you. But the challenges we confront today are far greater than anything we faced over the past decade.

This is a moment when our leaders must be held accountable for their words and their actions. There are times in history when leaders must stand up for what is right regardless of party affiliation or personal interests. I learned this at a young age when my dad became the first Republican on the House Judiciary Committee to call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

In recent years, I have never hesitated or lacked the courage to stand up to my own party and to do the right thing for the country. I believe that the days and months following the horrific attacks of October 7th were one of these critical moments that represent a time for choosing.

Back in October, I was looking forward to doing two fellowships at Harvard University, one in the School of Public Health on our nation leading COVID response and another at the Kennedy School of Government to talk about how to fix the broken politics in America. As a guy who struggled to work his way through Florida State, I was honored to be offered these Harvard fellowships. But when I saw the university refusing to condemn the protests attempting to justify and celebrate Hamas terrorism, I stood up and immediately resigned from both those fellowships. 

Just after the greatest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, we saw demonstrations essentially blaming the innocent victims of the horrific attack who were murdered, kidnapped, and raped. They are attacking the legitimacy of the world’s only Jewish state and its right to defend itself.  Jews have been harassed and made to feel unsafe in their schools, synagogues, and everywhere they go.

These were not isolated incidents. Anti-semitic incidents in the United States rose by nearly 400 percent. We saw college presidents at some of our most prestigious universities refuse to answer to congress whether, calling for the genocide of Jews violated their campus policies. 

The lessons of history are crystal clear. We must all take a stand in the face of genocidal acts. There is no “both sides” when it comes to the murder, rape, and kidnapping of innocent women and children. There is no room for justification or equivocation for calls to kill all the Jews. This is not a partisan issue.

This is not about the differences between the right and the left. It’s about the difference between right and wrong. I have always had a great deal of respect for Senator Ben Cardin and I want to recognize and thank him for his many years of service. Though we may not have always agreed on every issue, we always worked together as Team Maryland. He should be commended for his consistent and strong support for Israel in the face of pressure from the loudest and angriest voices. 

I want you to know that if I have the honor of becoming your next Senator, that is exactly the kind of leadership that you will continue to see from me.

Sadly, this type of leadership has become far too rare in Washington. That is not what you are getting from Maryland’s Junior Senator, who has become one of the most hostile voices against Israel in the entire United States Senate. Just this week he signed an outrageous letter urging President Biden to cut off aid to Israel.

Both of my potential democratic opponents in this race have demanded that Israel enact an immediate and unilateral ceasefire and they have even compared Israel’s actions of self defense to the atrocities of October 7th. One of them was applauded by CAIR, whose national director said he was “happy to see” the atrocities of October 7th and whose Maryland director took to social media to glorify Hamas terrorists and to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

Of course none of us want to see death and suffering. We all want to see the violence come to an end. The way to solve this humanitarian crisis and achieve a ceasefire is for Hamas leaders to release every single one of the hostages, bring them home, and then they should surrender and be held accountable for their crimes of October 7th. 

I recognize that there are politicians who will say and do anything to win an election, but I think you know that I’m not one of them. Too many politicians are more interested in campaign slogans than real solutions. Too many without the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

A few weeks ago, we saw a bipartisan package to secure our Southern Border and to support Israel, Ukraine, and other key American allies fail because people were told to vote against a critical bill that they claimed to be for. It made me frustrated enough that I knew I had to step up and try to do something about it. 

That was the moment when I decided to run for the United States Senate. I don’t need another title. I wasn’t looking for a job. I have no interest in just being another Washington politician who spends all their time arguing and never getting anything done—and I never will be one of them. 

But the chaos, divisiveness, and dysfunction in Washington creates chaos, divisiveness, and dysfunction around the world. Our allies, like Israel and Ukraine, still believe in America but they worry that America is too divided to believe in itself. America needs to stand up for our allies and stand up to our enemies.

The best way to secure peace is through a strong America that supports its allies. The fight to support Israel and to confront the epidemic of anti-semitism in our society has only just begun. At this critical moment, Maryland needs a pro-Israel champion in the United States Senate who will stand up and fight for our closest and most important ally. 

If I have the honor of becoming your next Senator, that is exactly what I will be just like I was for eight years as your Governor. This isn’t just the typical fight between Democrats and Republicans. It’s more important than that. 

This is a fight for Maryland and America’s future and that is a fight worth fighting. I’m running for the United States Senate not to serve one party but to fix the broken politics in Washington and to fight for Maryland. That is what I did as your governor and it’s exactly how I’ll serve you in the United States Senate. 

Thank you.

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