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Opposing New Jersey congressional candidates support U.S. aid to Israel

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Despite diverging views on the war in Gaza among Americans, the Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger for New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District both support continued military aid to Israel.

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas militants attacked communities in southern Israel. The militants raped civilians, killed over 1,400 non-combatants, and kidnapped over 240 Israeli civilians. Israel responded with a ground invasion in an attempt to destroy Hamas and its military infrastructure on Oct. 27.

Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Kean co-sponsored a bill providing $14.3 billion for military assistance for Israel and help to return home for impacted Americans.

“The United States must deliver support to Israel as they respond to the pure evil that Hamas has unleashed on their country. This funding is a crucial step,” Kean said in a news release. “Today the House sent a powerful message that we will stand strong with our ally Israel and its right to defend itself.”

On March 25, Kean’s Democratic challenger, Sue Altman, released a five-page position paper outlining her experience visiting Israel in 2010 and her current views on Israel and the war in Gaza.

“I support continued aid, without additional political conditions, in the framework of President [Barack] Obama’s Memo of Understanding with Israel, which represented the largest pledge of military aid in the history of the alliance and ensured that these funds are spent supporting U.S. industry,” Altman wrote.

The war in Gaza has led humanitarian crisis. Gaza is a dense urban area with high concentrations of civilians. Many of the Hamas militants are sheltered in an underground tunnel network beneath the Gaza Strip. In May 2024, senior UN officials described northern Gaza as being in a “full-blown famine.”

Altman’s position paper expressed her support for continued humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“As we continue to support Israel, we must do everything in our power to ensure that civilian casualties are minimized, and I support the Biden Administration in their efforts to ensure that Israel takes every feasible measure to minimize civilian casualties when fighting in Gaza. Israel must cooperate with world leaders, allies and United Nations efforts to maintain food and water for civilians and to provide safe passage for innocent civilians.”

Kean has not commented on humanitarian aid to Gaza following the war’s end.

Neither campaign responded to The Center Square’s request for comment.

Both candidates have approached the campus protests differently. After the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, protests erupted supporting Israel following the attacks and supporting Hamas for committing them.

College campuses became one of the centers for both protests. In October 2023, a group of Jewish students at Cooper Union were locked in the library for their safety from pro-Palestine protesters. College campuses have also used police to clear pro-Palestine encampments, escalating tensions. Columbia University’s president lost a no-confidence vote for her handling of the pro-Palestinian protests on her campus.

Kean co-sponsored a resolution in which the House of Representatives resolved to condemn “the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education, which may lead to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students, faculty, and staff; and urges the Secretary of Education to direct the Office for Civil Rights to investigate and, where appropriate, take action immediately.”

Altman hasn’t spoken publicly about the campus protests specifically. Instead, she’s publicly condemned antisemitism and also the shooting of three Palestinian college students in November 2023.

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