A US Republican presidential contender called for Israel to be weaned off the $3.8 billion it receives from America every year, the Middle East Monitor reported Tuesday.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a 37-year-old entrepreneur, spoke about reshaping the US relationship with Israel and suggested that Washington should leverage the recent Middle East normalization agreements to phase out its annual aid to Israel gradually by 2028.
Speaking on Russell Brand’s “Stay Free” podcast, Ramaswamy argued that by encouraging Israel’s further integration within the Middle East through diplomatic and economic ties, the need for US aid after 2028 would become unnecessary.
This proposal stands in stark contrast to traditional Republican positions that are generally staunchly pro-Israel and critical of any attempts to reduce aid to the occupation state.
While the mainstream Republican stance emphasizes a close alliance with Israel, an emerging wing within the party supports revaluating the US-Israel relationship to ensure neither country becomes overly dependent on the other.
Some party members have even suggested employing military aid as leverage to dissuade Israel from deepening ties with China.
Ramaswamy’s proposal envisions an upgraded version of the Abraham Accords, which initially included the UAE, Bahrain and other countries but should, according to him, expand to encompass nations like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Indonesia.
The goal is to foster a more integrated Middle East, rendering excessive US aid to Israel redundant.
Addressing concerns that his stance might jeopardies Israel’s security, Ramaswamy explained:
“I want to get Israel to the place where it is negotiated back into the infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East. We should not be worried about holding one nation or one region hostage over one particular question relating to Palestine.”
Despite his atypical position within the Republican Party, Ramaswamy has been gaining support, with poll statistics indicating a growing preference for him over other potential presidential candidates such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Former US President Donald Trump, however, remains the current favourite to win the Republican nomination.
As the 2028 expiration of the Memorandum of Understanding gets closer – the MoU guarantees Israel $3.8 billion in annual aid until then – Ramaswamy’s proposal adds a fresh dimension to the debate over US aid to Israel.
The 2018 MoU remains the largest ever US military aid package to Israel.
Ramaswamy’s comments echo the recent remarks of two former US ambassadors to Israel who said that it is time to end the $3.8 billion given every year to the occupation state because it no longer serves US interests.