A senior adviser to Romney, Dan Senor (coauthor of the popular book about Israel Start-up Nation), also made a media wave when he said that if Israel had to “take action on its own” to stop Iran from going nuclear, Romney would “respect that decision.” If so—and it remains to be seen—it would contrast with the Obama administration’s relentless pressure on Israel not to take action, amid reassurances about talks with Iran that are plainly a sham and sanctions on Iran that are plainly ineffectual.
After meeting with Netanyahu, Romney met with President Shimon Peres and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz. In a speech in Jerusalem in the evening, Romney again implicitly criticized Obama for picking fights with Israel, stating: “Diplomatic distance that is public and critical emboldens Israel’s adversaries.” And he also said it was “a moving experience to be in Jerusalem” and that Jerusalem is “Israel’s capital”—clearly a stark and intended contrast with White House spokesman Jay Carney’s refusal last Thursday to grant that status to the focal point of Jewish life for three thousand years.
Obama, for his part, seems concerned.
On Friday, with conspicuous timing, he signed a bill—broadly supported by both Democrats and Republicans—allocating an additional $70 million to Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system. In doing so, Obama spoke of “the outstanding cooperation that we have seen…at an unprecedented level between our two countries to underscore our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security” and of “how committed all of us are, Republicans and Democrats, as Americans, to our friends and making sure that Israel is safe and secure.”
The problem with such airy, de rigueur bromides is that they won’t hold up to scrutiny. Not when Obama’s policy on Iran is a manifest failure as the Islamic Republic strides forward unimpeded toward the bomb; not when Obama’s own spokesman cannot identify Israel’s capital; not when a series of administration figures keep branding the presence of hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the West Bank as “illegitimate”; not when the administration coddles and promotes a dangerous anti-Israeli figure like Egypt’s new president Morsi, who has called Israeli leaders “vampires” and “killers” and represents a movement aiming to destroy the Jewish state and subjugate the West.
The more Mitt Romney can bring home such truths to Jewish and other American voters, the better.
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