Pence Accused of Pushing 'Jewish Supremacy' Over Palestinians on Israel Trip

Mike Pence Far-Right Extremism Israel Jewish Supremacy
Former Vice President Mike Pence is under fire after being spotted with members of Israel's far-right Otzma Yehudit, or "Jewish Power" party, in photos posted to social media on Wednesday. Above, Pence is pictured delivering a speech at Stanford University on February 17, 2022. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Former Vice President Mike Pence was accused of promoting "Jewish Supremacy" after meeting with far-right leaders during a visit to Israel.

Pictures appearing in social media posts on Wednesday showed Pence in the West Bank city of Hebron alongside Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israel Knesset's lone member of the far-right Otzma Yehudit, or "Jewish Power" party. They were joined by fellow Otzma Yehudit member Baruch Marzel, who was banned from a Knesset run in 2019 for inciting racism against Arabs. Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War.

"Today I saw Mike Pence in Hebron⁩ with Baruch Marzel, and Itamar Ben Gvir of the Jewish Power party," tweeted Benzion Sanders of the Israeli non-governmental organization Breaking the Silence.

"Pence's cars drove past empty Palestinian shops and homes next to expanding Jewish settlements empowering Jewish Supremacy the same way he empowers White Supremacy," he added.

A tweet from the Breaking the Silence Twitter account accused Pence of having "no shame to meet with Kahanists," referring to the far-right Jewish ideology espoused by Otzma Yehudit members. Kahanism advocates making Israel a Jewish theocracy that would view Arabs as enemies of the state, while stripping non-Jews of political power.

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), compared the party to U.S.-based right-wing extremist groups, tweeting that Pence's meeting would be "like a foreign leader coming to the US and hanging out with the Proud Boys."

The biblical city of Hebron has long been a flashpoint between Jewish settlers and Palestinians, who seek a state in the West Bank and other territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Palestinians and much of the international community view the Jewish settlements as illegal under international law. Israel disputes this.

The former vice president has not used his visit to exclusively meet with members of the far-right. He also met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday. Lapid is Israel's alternate prime minister and the founder of the liberal Yesh Atid Party.

Pence began his Israel trip with a visit that hinted at a potential 2024 presidential run, journeying to Jerusalem on Monday to meet with Miriam Adelson, the billionaire widow of Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

An NBC News opinion article recently penned by Tara Setmayer, a senior adviser for the conservative group The Lincoln Project, argued that Pence's political career was on the "ash heap" due to his recent comments admonishing former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

"Let's be honest, my cat, Tiki, has a better chance of becoming president than Pence," Setmayer wrote. "Why? He committed a cardinal sin by today's GOP standards: He rebuked Trump and did so publicly."

Newsweek reached out to Pence's office for comment.