In AJC’s signature AJC Global Forum session, the Great Debate, Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Morgan Ortagus, former Spokeswoman for the Department of State under the Trump administration, engaged in a debate on the 2024 presidential election and its impact on the global Jewish community, Israel, and the future of democracy. Listen to this session, moderated by AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer Jason Isaacson, recorded live on the AJC Global Forum 2024 stage in Washington, D.C.

*The views and opinions expressed by guests do not necessarily reflect the views or position of AJC. AJC is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization and does not endorse political candidates for elective office.

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  • (0:40) Jason Isaacson, Morgan Ortagus, Halie Soifer

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Transcript of Debate with Morgan Ortagus and Halie Soifer:

Manya Brachear Pashman:

In AJC’s signature AJC Global Forum session, the Great Debate, Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Morgan Ortagus, former Spokeswoman for the Department of State under the Trump administration, engaged in a debate on the 2024 presidential election and its impact on the global Jewish community, Israel, and the future of democracy. 

Moderating the debate was AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer Jason Isaacson. Here’s Jason now to explain the format.

Jason Isaacson:  

We had a coin toss, and Morgan won the coin toss, and will go first. Each of them will have two minutes to provide opening statements. There will be the opportunity for a minute of rebuttal afterwards, then we'll plunge into a series of questions that I'll be posing to each of them. Morgan, you’re up.

Morgan Ortagus:  

Thank you so much for having me. I want to start this discussion today really telling a few stories from my time in the Trump administration, but also talking about this from a policy perspective. 

For those of you who don't know me, I've actually served in multiple administrations, including in the Obama administration, as well. And I say that to provide the context that I think the State of Israel cannot have a relationship with just one political party in the United States, just as we pray for the success of Israel. I pray for the success of our leaders, whomever wins in November. And I think no matter what happens today, in this debate in November, we must stand with our ally, we must stand with the State of Israel. 

You know, what's amazing is, I think about four years ago, I was standing in the Oval Office after many, many months of having worked with Secretary Pompeo, Jared Kushner, and the entire team on something that you all came to learn about called the Abraham Accords. And in that moment, I was pregnant with my daughter Adina Ann, this beautiful Jewish baby. And I thought to myself, the Middle East has entirely changed for her. This is going to be so radically different. 

Fast forward three and a half years later, to see October 7th and what happened that day, the worst killing of the Jewish people in any single day since the Holocaust. It felt like everything I had worked on in Abraham Accords had been shattered. But I am here to say that there is hope, with the right president, with the right policies. 

And that's what I really want to talk about today. With the right policies, we can get back to an era, not only have a strong America, a strong Israel, and a much stronger Middle East, happy to debate the policies. I'm not a campaign person. 

But I do believe that under the Trump administration, under Mike Pompeo, we had the right policies that were best for Israel, and best for the Middle East. So I guess as the famous song goes, all I'm here to say is give Trump a chance.

Jason Isaacson:  

Morgan, thank you. Halie Soifer.

Halie Soifer:  

Jason, Morgan, AJC, thank you for having me. And thank you for your efforts advocating for the Jewish people for Israel and defending democratic values. I'm grateful for your work, which has made a difference, and particularly grateful for the leadership of your CEO, my friend, Ted Deutch. 

This is the third time I've joined AJC's Great Debate in advance of an election with Joe Biden and Donald Trump on the ballot. The first was in 2019. The second was 2020. But 2024 is different for three reasons. First, the stakes of this election are higher. Second, the positions of the two candidates have never been more clear or divergent. And third, both candidates have been president before and can and should be judged on their records. 

Unlike the last debate, this is no longer a hypothetical in terms of what kind of President Joe Biden or Donald Trump would be. We know the answer. Joe Biden has sought to restore the soul of America by taking unprecedented steps to combat antisemitism and bigotry, while Donald Trump has emboldened, echoed and aligned with dangerous extremists and antisemites. 

Joe Biden is a self declared Zionist who has stood with Israel for more than five decades, including after October 7, when he pledged his staunch support of Israel and the Jewish people. While Donald Trump is a self declared dictator on day one, who marched Israel's leaders and praised Hezbollah after October 7. 

Best summarized by his former national security adviser John Bolton, who told the New York Times, Trump's support of Israel is not guaranteed in a second term. Joe Biden is an ardent defender of democracy, while Donald Trump incited a deadly insurrection in order to stop the peaceful transfer of power in the last election, and is preparing to weaponize the US government as an act of political retribution. If he wins the next one. And let's not forget, he's also a twice-impeached, 34-time convicted felon. So three times is clearly a charm. There's plenty to debate and I'm happy to be here. Thanks.

Jason Isaacson:  

Very good. Thank you, Halie. You can each rebut the others statements. Morgan, would you like to say a word? 

Morgan Ortagus:  

I think the only response I would have to that is do you feel safer as a Jew in America today than you did four years ago? That's it.

Jason Isaacson:  

Halie, would you like to say anything in response?

Halie Soifer:  

Sure. Four years ago, I mentioned I joined this debate. We did so via zoom, where we were in our home stuck for more than a year. It was an unprecedented pandemic that really epitomized Donald Trump's leadership. He was ignorant, chaotic or erratic, and demonstrated a reckless disregard for a fundamental Jewish value, pikuach nefesh--the sanctity of life. Since Joe Biden has become president, we emerged from this dark period, the economy has grown. Unemployment is at a 50 year low. And yes, antisemitism has risen, including after the horrific attacks perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, and our unequivocal condemnation of this violence and of rising antisemitism is something on which I'm sure we agree, Morgan, and you know, who else agrees with us, Joe Biden. On May 2, he said in response to the campus protests, there should be no place on any campus or any place in America for antisemitism. It's simply wrong.

Jason Isaacson:  

Thank you. Okay. Let's get into the questions if I could begin with you, Morgan. As you know, in election after election over the last century, a substantial majority of Jews have voted for Democratic presidential candidates over Republican candidates, the sharpest differences were under FDR in the 1940s and the Johnson Goldwater election of 1964, when Democrats were reported to have scored 90% of the Jewish vote, but Harry Truman, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama weren't far behind, and Joe Biden was reported to have led Donald Trump four years ago, according to Pew by 70%, to 27%. AJC's latest polling shows a somewhat narrower gap, but still has President Biden beating former President Trump by more than two to one among American Jews. If these numbers are predictive and accurate, how does the Republican Party break through that traditional Democratic predisposition among Jewish voters and why does it matter?

Morgan Ortagus:  

I think there's a couple ways to unpack that first, I think there's a big difference between saying the right thing and doing the right thing. There's no doubt that the Biden administration, the Biden-Harris administration is great on the rhetoric. But I would say that the policy is lacking. First of all, I think most Jewish voters care about Israel care about antisemitism in this country. But let me just also say that I think Jewish voters, Jewish moms and grandmas in this audience, Jewish parents, you care about things that I care about in Nashville, Tennessee, which is the price of groceries, which is filling up your car with gasoline, which is all of the things that matter to all of us as consumers. 

And it is not a good time in America for the American family. People are making real decisions, whether to fill up their gas tank or whether to fill up their cart full of groceries. That happens in real America in Nashville, Tennessee, where I live. I would also say that, you know, Lindsey Graham said this to me once and it really made me laugh. He said about Trump, I've never seen somebody so willing to cut off their own arm just to spite him. And he certainly incites a lot of heated emotion and passion. 

But again, I would get back to the question that I asked you, do you feel more safe as a Jew in America today than you did four years ago? Do you think our policies are stronger at protecting Israel, with standing with our ally than they were four years ago, I would argue that we have turned the Middle East on its head in the past four years by beginning at the beginning of this administration to spend the past three and a half years, chasing the Islamic Republic around the world, begging and cajoling and pleading with them to get back into a nuclear deal, giving them billions of dollars in sanctions relief by not enforcing those sanctions. That was three and a half years of policies that led to events like October 7. We also saw multiple times at the UN, including yesterday, ways in which that I think the Biden administration has sold Israel down the river. has not stood up for them at the United Nations or on the world stage. And so I'm quite simply argue that the Middle East is chaotic today, specifically from the policies of the past three years that were put in place by the Biden Administration. 

Jason Isaacson:  

Thank you, Morgan. Halie, you can respond if you wish. You have a minute. 

Halie Soifer:  

Well, as a Jewish mom, I can say I absolutely feel safer knowing that Joe Biden is in the White House because he shares our values, our fundamental values, our Jewish values, defending democracy, and of course, support of Israel. 

A lot of Republicans mentioned Donald Trump's move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017. Something we agree with–Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. What we don't mention enough is that in August of 2020, Donald Trump said he did that for the evangelicals, which demonstrates two things. 

One, Donald Trump's Israel policy has always been based on his self interests. His own former national security adviser has revealed that in an article in The New York Times in early April, and also it’s clear that Donald Trump has great animus toward the vast majority of Jewish Americans, those who vote for Democrats because of it.. He has called us disloyal. He has called us uninformed. He has said we hate Israel, we hate our religion, we should be ashamed of ourselves. We're loyal to our values, which is why the overwhelming majority of us support Democrats.

Jason Isaacson:  

Halie, I want to ask you a different version, or the pretty much the same version of the question that I asked Morgan at the beginning, why it matters where the Jewish vote is. Remembering that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz had a piece after the 2020 election, that maintained it was Jewish voters in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona who actually made the crucial difference in that tight race moving those swing states and their deciding Electoral College votes into the Biden column. Although polling and voting history is obviously on your side, there are signs of slippage for President Biden in our own polling and in other samples. Some of that may have to do with the President's being seen as inappropriately pushing the Israeli government in ways that didn't want to go in the conduct of the war against Hamas. And in a post conflict path to Palestinian statehood. Some of it may be factors that have nothing to do with Israel or with the Jewish community, but reflect attitudes in the general population. Why the slippage and how are you addressing it?

Halie Soifer:  

Well, Jason, you're right. The Jewish vote absolutely matters. The states you mentioned, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona determined the outcome of the 2020 election and may do so again in 2024. Joe Biden won those three states in total by just over 100,000 voters. And in those states the Jewish vote, and even more said the Jewish vote that supported Joe Biden was exponentially higher than the margin by which he won. So where are Jewish voters in 2024? Well, 74% of Jewish voters supported Democrats in our last election in the 2022 midterms. It's the same amount approximately three quarters who have supported Democrats historically, and it's the amount I predict will support Joe Biden in this election for two reasons. One, Joe Biden represents the vast majority of Jewish voters on every key issue, domestic policy, democracy, abortion, access, guns, climate change the economy, antisemitism, and foreign policy, Israel, Ukraine and defending democracy abroad. And too, Jewish voters overwhelmingly disapprove of and oppose Donald Trump in 2016, in 2020, and they're going to do it again in 2024. Because there's even more reasons to oppose him now, going into a potential second term. 

AJC's new poll only confirms this. The poll indicates that both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have essentially the same amount of support–61%/23%--among Jewish voters as they did among that same group of voters in 2020, when it was 64%/21%. Donald Trump has not broken 25%. It also shows that Jewish voters trust Biden more than Trump on Israel by a two to one margin and on antisemitism by three to one margin. 

So AJC is consistent in its polling, and it's consistent with what we've seen in other polling as well that Jewish voters will continue to overwhelmingly support Democrats and Joe Biden, especially with Donald Trump on the ballot.

Jason Isaacson:  

Morgan, you may respond.

Morgan Ortagus:  

Again, you know, I'd say there's a big difference between rhetoric and policy action. The truth is, the reality is, there has never been a more unsafe time in America, for Jews, especially young Jews on college campuses. Today, the antisemitism unveiled and unchecked during the Biden administration should scare all of us. The fact that Jewish students have to make decisions if they want to wear a yarmulke, if they want to wear a Star of David, if they want to openly embrace Judaism in the United States of America is a stain on the Biden administration. 

And something that I think that there has been no real action. In 2019, again, I'm going to keep going back to policy because when you have bad policy, you have to run on rhetoric. When you have good policy, you can talk about things that we did like the executive order to combat antisemitism in 2019. That executive order focused on criminalizing antisemitism, basically bringing it up to the level of any other persecution against, you know, sex, gender. We could go through everything in Title Six. That's incredibly important because we have real world ramifications for antisemitism that this administration has ignored. 

Jason Isaacson:  

Thank you, Morgan. Let me ask you another question. And I'm going to turn to a foreign policy issue again. Since President Trump in May 2018 pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, calling it a horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made. Iran has marched closer and closer to becoming a nuclear threshold state with a stockpile of enriched uranium calculated to be more than 6000 kilograms as of last month, more than 20 times the limit that was set in the nuclear deal. But enough of that uranium enriched to a near weapons grade level to fuel at least three atomic weapons. 

It's been said that the maximum pressure campaign waged in the last year and a half of the Trump administration had little effect on Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. How would you answer the charge that pulling the US out of an unsatisfactory nuclear deal actually made the problem worse? How would a second Trump administration approach this threat from Iran?

Morgan Ortagus:  

Thanks, now we're getting to my favorite subject. So you don't even have to listen to President Trump on this. You can look at Senator Schumer, Majority Leader at the time in his speech and his debate why he did not support the JCPOA. We know of course, that the JCPOA was never brought before the Senate because it was a bad deal that would never get passed, including by Democrats. Let's also remember that under the JCPOA, we left the deal in 2018 in the Trump administration, at the time and during the entire Trump administration. Iran never exceeded the 5% enrichment. In fact, it didn't happen until the Biden administration and under Biden, they've gone up to an 84% enrichment strategy with zero ramifications. That's enough material to get a bomb within eight months if we wanted to. 

More importantly, Americans and Israelis are dying at the hands of Iran. And why is that? Because once again, you have a Democratic administration who have not enforced sanctions, they got billions of dollars in sanctions relief. About three weeks before October 7, this administration negotiated a deal that I didn't think that could be worse than the JCPOA. But they actually managed to top themselves by promising to give Iran $6 billion for returning five American hostages home. Now, I love getting American hostages home. In fact, in the Trump administration, we got two American hostages home from Iran, guess how much we paid for those hostages, zero. And so there is a way to negotiate to be tough with Iran and to protect Americans. 

But Americans are dying in places like Jordan, from Iranian made drones. We know that American ships are being taxed on a daily basis, again, from material that is supplied to the Hussein's by Iran. And so whenever you reward enemies, like the Islamic Republic of Iran and punish friends like Israel, the Arab states, then you end up with a chaotic Middle East. So the Middle East is on fire today principally because of the appeasement of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran will likely get a nuclear weapon in the next administration, if it isn't stopped. President Trump will stop it. President Biden will just beg and plead them to stop.

Jason Isaacson:  

Thank you, Morgan. Halie, you may respond.

Halie Soifer:  

We talked a lot about, of course, the horrific acts of what happened on October 7. What I don't think we talked enough about is what happened on April 13, when Iran launched over 300 projectiles at Israel and an unprecedented direct attack. In the end, Israel survived that attack relatively unscathed. Miraculously, because Joe Biden had deployed two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean preparing for such attacks, and had encouraged a coalition, Arab partners, to stand with Israel and directly intercepted over 100 ballistic missiles. It was the first time the US military had been deployed to prevent a direct attack on Israel. 

Following the attack, Biden took steps to hold Iran accountable, including imposing new sanctions and exports control on Iran. The sanctions targeted leaders and entities connected to the IRGC, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps. During the Biden administration, the US has sanctioned over 600 individuals and entities including Iran and its proxies. And the President has directed the administration to continue to impose sanctions that further degrade Iran’s military. This is on top of the Trump era sanctions against Iran that Biden kept in place. So Joe Biden has demonstrated great strength in defending against the threat of Iran, especially as it relates to the threat posed by Israel.

Jason Isaacson:  

There are increasingly loud and influential voices in the Democratic Party, expressing harsh criticism of Israel's conduct of the war against Hamas in Gaza and among constituencies on which democratic election victories have often depended. There's opposition to Israel more generally, not just to the current war, but to the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

Over the last two years, according to Gallup sympathy for Israelis over Palestinians has slipped among Democrats from a majority to a minority position, although there is still a plurality with more favorable views of Israel versus Palestinian Authority. For comparison among Republicans sympathy for Israelis earlier this year was recorded by Gallup is more than 10 times that for Palestinians. How can President Biden and the party counter the critics and assure that US support for the Middle East's sole democracy remains bipartisan. And how do you respond to the charge that Trump criticism of Israel in progressive circles contributes to attacks on supporters of Israel and incidents of antisemitism? 

Halie Soifer:  

Antisemitic and anti-Israel views have been expressed by elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Neither party is homogenous in their view on either issue. When antisemitism and or anti-Israel views have emerged among Democrats in Congress, JDCA, our organization has condemned it, and in some cases endorsed a primary opponent to anti Israel, Democratic incumbents. 

There are two such primaries that we're engaged in right now as we speak in New York and in Missouri, to elect Democrats who share our values. There are some Democrats who have opposed or proposed conditioning aid to Israel, something which JDCA opposes. But House Republicans, including their entire leadership, recklessly delayed essential military aid for Israel that Joe Biden pledged in October for six months, at a time when it could not have been needed more. 

When it comes to antisemitism, there is a sharp difference between how it is handled by the two parties. The Democratic Party marginalizes those who have used antisemitic rhetoric, while the Republican Party has elevated extremists and antisemites, one of whom is at the top of the ticket in the past three election cycles, including this one. Leadership matters, and the words and actions of our leaders matter. 

When the American people were faced with the same choice for president in 2020, on the debate stage, President Biden implored Donald Trump to condemn white supremacy, we all remember it. Trump blatantly refused, he could not, would not condemn this insidious ideology that motivated the perpetrator of the worst massacre of Jewish Americans in our history two years earlier at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. What did he do instead, he incited dangerous right wing extremists, the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by from the debate stage. And less than four months later, they heated his call on January 6.

This election is a binary choice. There are two names on this ballot, two men vying to be leader of the free world. One has been a staunch friend and ally of the Jewish people in Israel, since he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. And the other who has always done and will continue to only do what is good for himself. 

Jason Isaacson:  

Morgan, I think you may want to respond.

Morgan Ortagus:  

You know, I will concede, I don't watch MSNBC. And maybe they're just not covering what I see going on in America on a daily basis, which is a Charlottesville every single day in this country, which is the calling for not only supporting Hamas and other terrorist organizations, but calling for the genocide and the extermination of the Jewish people blatantly and openly every single day in this country. You also see yesterday in New York City, while there was a memorial to what happened on October 7, people there openly demonstrating support for more October 7, support for more terrorism. 

And while that was happening, the United States was shamefully at the United Nations calling for a ceasefire resolution that made us look like we were Hamas’ personal lawyer. If you're a party that doesn't have the moral clarity, to stand by the Jewish faith to just stay defending itself against terrorism, how can you claim to have the moral clarity on anything. I was in Israel three weeks ago Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu told me that in fact, the Biden administration is slow walking military aid that he needs. Just last week in the Congress, the Biden administration was whipping votes against bipartisan ICC sanctions, which are undermining again the leadership of a democratic elected Jewish state. 

We’ll remember famously that after the attack that he talked about a few minutes ago from Iran, Biden famously told Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for Israel just to take the win essentially. At every turn, then not only tie one hand behind Israel's back, they tie both hands behind the back as they tried to defeat the terrorists that invaded them and by the way, killed Americans on October 7, and the last time I checked, we still have five Americans that are held captive eight months later by a terrorist organization behind enemy lines. Bring them home.

Jason Isaacson:  

Morgan, you're up. Your last question and President Trump and other leaders of your party had been harshly critical of a range of diversity and equity programs, affirmative action and college admissions and educational curricula that cast a negative light on aspects of American history. And these stances have earned the support and loyalty of among others, individuals and groups with extremist views on race and ethnicity. How do you answer critics, including President Biden, who charge that this so-called anti-woke agenda lends legitimacy and support to forces of intolerance? As you know, there are also accusations that divisive rhetoric can fuel antisemitism. And the example of Charlottesville, which we've been talking about is often cited. How do you counter that, in a minute, if you may.

Morgan Ortagus:  

I’ll be very quick and say that I agree with Halie that there is antisemitic problems that happen on both the left and the right, and we must be countering them. And every time it happens, again, I'm a foreign policy professional. I look at the policies. I don't necessarily get involved in domestic politics. But I will say that what we have seen, especially on college campuses, is that DEI and intersectionality are the parents of antisemitism and fostering intolerance. Can anybody look at our college campuses and say this isn't true. I don't think President Biden and vice president Harris are doing enough to rein in anti-Jewish Jewish violence in this country. 

Let's look at Biden's so-called efforts, is there more or less antisemitism in our universities? Are there fewer encampments? How about what's happening to the American flag? The last I've seen, the Iranian people have more respect for the American flag and the Israeli flag than liberals on university campuses today. Many students who had to start college online and COVID have gone back to going online because it's unsafe to be Jewish in America in an American university today.

Jason Isaacson:  

Thank you, Morgan. And Halie, we're not going to have rebuttals to these questions. 

Halie, your last question: the Iranian threats, foreign policy question. The Iranian threat isn't confined to its accelerated nuclear program. Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq firing missiles and drones at Israel sometimes with deadly effect. The Iranian supported Hutus in Yemen regularly attack ships in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. In recent years, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have come under attack from Iran or its proxies and vessels of many nations, including the US Navy, have been targeted or damaged or seized. Iranian agents abroad from the IRGC, Hezbollah, Hamas and other groups have been implicated in assassination plots, including in our own country. 

Critics charge the Biden administration, which yearned from day one to return to the 2015 nuclear deal has failed to confront Iran forcefully over these multiple threats. What's your response? In a minute, if you could? 

Halie Soifer:  

Ok, in order to answer this, you have to go back to May of 2018 when President Trump against the advice of many in the US intelligence community and Israeli security establishment, withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement. While the JCPOA was not a perfect agreement, Iran was in compliance with it. According to international observers and American intelligence officials. It was effectively verifying restrictions on Iran's nuclear development, as AJC itself said at the time in its own press release, despite our many reservations, we had hoped to see the deal fixed, not next. It was with the same objective. And given the fact that Iran was at that time weeks away from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. 

The Biden administration explored whether it was possible to reenter the JCPOA and reach a better deal if Iran came back into compliance. In the end, it wasn't possible because Joe Biden refuse to capitulate to Iranian demands, including lifting the terrorists designation on the IRGC, Joe Biden should be praised, not criticized, for working with our allies to explore whether the resumption of a multilateral deal that would contain Israel's nuclear aspirations was possible, and for standing up to Iran, not just by refusing to give in to their demands, but by continuing to implement sanctions against Iran. And as I mentioned, in an unprecedented act, defending Israel against an unprecedented direct attack by the Iranians on April 13.

Jason Isaacson:  

Halie, thank you. We're gonna go directly to closing statements and Morgan, having won the coin toss, you go first.

Morgan Ortagus:  

Okay. You know, Halie just talked about working with allies. How about last week at the IAEA, whenever the E three, the UK, France, Germany, had to actually go and beg and plead us to stand up against Iran at the IAEA which we didn't do. We just talked about the ICC in which bipartisan sanctions are before the Congress that the Biden administration is not only not supporting, they're whipping against and the multiple votes at the UN either abstaining or actually working on ceasefire, right. solutions that undermine the State of Israel. 

Listen, I would say there's a far big difference between bad rhetoric and bad policy. If you want pretty tweets, vote for Biden, if you don't want dead Israelis and dead Americans vote for Trump. When you look at the people that Biden has empowered in his administration look no further than his Iran envoy, Rob Malley, who was fired, who was under FBI investigation, and also the State Department inspector general investigation because of his leaking of classified information and potential ties to Hamas. 

These are not the people that we will promote and support in the Trump administration. President Trump will defend Israel, he will stand by Israel and things like October 7 won't happen under President Trump. You will have peace like under the Abraham Accords and you will have an Iran that is curtailed because we will actually stand up to them and we will stop them from getting a nuclear weapon.

Jason Isaacson:  

Morgan, thank you. Halie Soifer, your closing comment?

Halie Soifer:  

Well, you will soon hear from Joe Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, there is no stronger champion of the US Israel relationship. You will see that Maya Angelou famously said when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Whether it's acquainting Neo Nazis with peaceful protesters declaring very fine people on both sides as Donald Trump did after Charlottesville, dining with white supremacists, Nick Fuentes and Kanye West in Mar-a-Lago, quoting Hitler, and reportedly saying he did some good things. Donald Trump has shown us exactly who he is, time and time again. Don't believe me listen to his own words. As has President Biden. And the contrast could not be more stark. This past weekend, President Biden welcomed the heroic rescue of four Israeli hostages and pledged to not stop working until all the hostages are home. 

Donald Trump also mentioned those who he refers to as hostages. Are they the more than 100 Israelis and Americans and others being held by Hamas? No. He's referring to incarcerated January 6 insurrectionists. That's who he is. And the American people, the Jewish people, and Israel, deserve far better from a US president and we have far better. He's currently in the White House. President Biden recently said that democracy begins with each of us. He's right. It could also end with each of us. And we each have a responsibility to defend it at the ballot box in November.

Jason Isaacson:  

Halie, Morgan, thank you. That closes our great debate. Our community, our country have a big decision to make this November. AJC will continue to provide information on the issues that are at stake. And we thank you guys very much and we thank all of you for your attention to this important debate.