GOP platform pledges to stand with Israel, deport ‘pro-Hamas radicals’ from US

Document promises ‘largest deportation in American history,’ declares plan to seek Mideast peace and replicate Iron Dome, though US doesn’t face cross-border rocket threat

Former US president Donald Trump walks to the stage after Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland, August 26, 2020. (AP/Andrew Harnik)
Former US president Donald Trump walks to the stage after Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland, August 26, 2020. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

The 2024 Republican Party platform pledges to fight antisemitism and to keep Israel safe. It promises to fight anti-Christian bias as well as “gender insanity.”


Parties traditionally publish platforms in election years ahead of their national conventions, as a statement of its values and a wish list of policies should their candidate win the White House.

The Republican platform, posted Monday and subject to a vote at next week’s convention in Milwaukee, is heavily influenced by the priorities and language of the nominee, former United States president Donald Trump — down to the capitalization style he’s favored in his social media posts. It also repeatedly attacks the Biden administration.

While quarrels over platforms have sometimes made waves among party insiders, they are largely symbolic, non-binding documents that have little practical implication.

The debate regarding language surrounding Israel in the Democratic Party’s document could be more intense, given the progressive wing’s increasingly hostile approach to the Israeli government. But with US President Joe Biden still in control of the party, those pushing for more critical rhetoric on Israel will likely be sidelined for at least one more election. Moreover, parley over the platform has largely been sidelined as the party focuses on deciding whether or not to stick with Biden as its nominee following his disastrous debate performance last month.

Border patrol agents watch as migrants cross the Rio Grande at the Texas-Mexico border, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. (AP/Eric Gay)

The 16-page GOP document, titled “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” is the Republicans’ first platform since Trump’s election victory in 2016. It includes proposals that would reverse domestic policies long embraced by Jewish Americans, including by enervating church-state separations and massively cracking down on immigration. Notably, it says that abortion should be left up to the states and promises to protect birth control and fertility treatments, which have been targeted by some Republicans.

Other policies, including pledges to fight antisemitism and to keep Israel secure, dovetail with the longstanding Republican ambition to erode the Democrats’ large historical advantage among Jewish voters.

The platform, echoing Trump’s campaign trail pledges, promises the “largest deportation in American history.” The plan — to deport “millions of illegal migrants” — would likely alarm the broad range of Jewish groups that have historically advocated on behalf of immigrants and decried such plans in the past, including the Anti-Defamation League, HIAS and the American Jewish Committee.

In particular, the platform says the party will bring back Trump’s travel ban, which banned entry to citizens of several Muslim-majority countries. In 2017, the ban was the rare domestic policy that drew criticism from all four major American Jewish denominations.

The platform pledges specifically to deport non-citizens who support terror, something long promoted by Trump’s top immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, who is Jewish. The platform includes that promise in its section on antisemitism.

“Republicans condemn antisemitism, and support revoking visas of foreign nationals who support terrorism and jihadism,” it says. “We will hold accountable those who perpetrate violence against Jewish people.”

Republicans in Congress have undertaken a number of investigations into universities where Jewish students have reported feeling unsafe and have drawn plaudits even from their liberal critics for fighting antisemitism.

The effort to claim the mantle of fighting antisemitism comes after years during which Trump’s Jewish critics have accused him of encouraging age-old antisemitic conspiracy theories and declining to condemn his antisemitic and extremist supporters. In 2022, he dined with Kanye West, the rapper who went on an antisemitic tirade, and Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust denier, although he later disavowed the men.

Rapper Kanye West shows US President Donald Trump a photograph of a hydrogen plane during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, October 11, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump’s Jewish supporters counter that he worked to bolster protections for Jews on campus, and elevated Jews in his administration — including his daughter and son-in-law. More than anything, they point to his fulfilling longstanding Israeli wishes — including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and facilitating normalization agreements with several Arab countries.

The new platform doubles down on that support for Israel.

“We will stand with Israel, and seek peace in the Middle East,” it says. “We will rebuild our alliance network in the region to ensure a future of peace, stability, and prosperity.”

In 2016, the GOP platform went further regarding Israel, pledging an “unequivocal” commitment to Israel — “an exceptional country that shares our most essential values.”

Another allusion to Israel comes in the pledge to replicate the Iron Dome missile defense system that Israel deploys to repel cross-border missile attacks. The platform says Iron Dome will be used as a means of protecting American borders. It is not clear what threat this is referring to, as Iron Dome is only capable of intercepting short-range rockets — not a danger the US has ever faced along its borders.

“We will invest in cutting-edge research and advanced technologies, including an Iron Dome missile defense shield, support our Troops with higher pay and get woke leftwing Democrats fired as soon as possible,” it says.

Other passages pledge to undercut the historical Jewish embrace of church-state separations, although the platform purports to embrace all faiths. In particular, the platform says the party “will champion the First Amendment right to pray and read the Bible in school” — values advanced recently by Republican-led states that have mandated displaying the Ten Commandments or teaching the Bible in public school classrooms.

Illustrative: An Iron dome anti-missile system near the border with Lebanon, in northern Israel, April 7, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

In addition, it wades into the culture-war debates that have roiled schools across the country — and which have sometimes ensnared books with Jewish themes, such as the diary of Anne Frank.


More broadly, the platform promises to fight bias against Christians.

“Our ranks include men and women from every faith and tradition, and we respect the right of every American to follow his or her deeply held beliefs,” it says. It immediately adds, “To protect religious liberty, Republicans support a new federal task Force on fighting anti-Christian bias that will investigate all forms of illegal discrimination, harassment, and persecution against Christians in America.”

Aside from antisemitism, bias against other faith groups is not mentioned.

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