Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson, Sr. is a retired neurosurgeon and author. In 1987, Carson was the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head with the help of a staff of 70. He is now running for the Republican nomination for presidency.
Here are his stances on a range of issues of importance to Israel:
During a December 2014 interview with The Jerusalem Post, Carson expressed his support for a two state solution as long as it does not put Israel’s population at risk. However, he added that he’s “not sure that makes a lot of sense” to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria due to its close proximity to population centers in Israel and past hostility in the region.
Carson has suggested pursuing an Egyptian option as an alternative.“I know that Egypt in the past has made some overtures in terms of providing a place for the Palestinians. That seems to me something worth exploring,” Carson said, presumably referring to an Egyptian offer last year to establish a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula.
Regarding settlements in Judea and Samaria, Carson claims the issue is “blown out of proportion.” After touring the area, Carson expressed, “Having been here, and having seen the housing going up, it certainly seems much more benign than what you hear about in the international press.”
Carson is a fierce critic of the recently signed nuclear deal signed with Iran. In an April 2015 CNN interview, Carson criticized US President Barack Obama for negotiating the deal without input from Congress, calling it a “slap in the face to the Founders.”
In a speech to Iowans last month, he warned the nuclear accord puts the “whole country in jeopardy” and that the deal is “a complete lack of common sense.”
“It [the deal] doesn’t disassemble the nuclear infrastructure of Iran,” explained Carson, who also condemned lifting economic sanctions, allowing arms dealing and the production of ballistic missiles, and for all inspections having to “go through a committee on which Iranians sit, and on which the Russians sit.”
About what would constitute a good deal, Carson explained in a statement that it would require “anywhere anytime surprise inspections, a full accounting of Iran’s past secret nuclear arms pursuits, elimination of Iran’s uranium stockpiles and the lifting of any sanctions only upon verification of Iranian compliance.”
During an interview with Newsmax in December, Carson blamed Obama for having damaged US relations with Israel. “I don’t really know what [Obama’s] motivations are or what his allegiances are,” he said, adding that the next US administration must “firmly state that we are behind Israel. Nobody should ever be guessing about that.”
Should he be elected president, “I would make it very clear that Israel and the United States have a long, cordial relationship, and I don’t think we should ever leave the Israelis in a position of wondering whether we support them… And that certainly is a question now,” he told the Associated Press in December.
Touching upon one of the many relationships Israel and the US shares, Carson praised the unique technology sharing initiatives between the allied nations.
“It is absolutely wonderful, and the relationship the United States has had with Israel in technology,” he told Newsmax. “[It] has been extremely useful to both of us. It’s one of the ways the Iron Dome was developed, for instance.”
Israel’s Right to Self-Defense/Security
While on a trip to Israel in December, Carson spoke strongly about America’s need to stand by Israel in its efforts to defend itself. “I would make sure that Israel knew that we had their back,” he told the Associated Press. “Because if their neighbors know that we’re backing them up, they’re not going to be anywhere near as aggressive.”
Regarding negotiations with Hamas, Carson opposes talks with the Gaza-based terror group on security grounds. “It is fairly difficult to come to an area of compromise with someone whose goal is to destroy you,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “You can negotiate – ‘Do you destroy me today or tomorrow, half of me today, half tomorrow?’ but these are not good negotiations.”