Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Romney In Israel

U.S.-Israeli Relations

Romney at the Western Wall: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney places a prayer note as he visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Sunday. 
Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak, AP
SourceWashington Post

Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrived in Israel on Saturday evening, spending almost two days in the Jewish State before flying off to Poland on Monday—the last part of his three-nation trip. In Poland, he received the endorsement of Lech Walesa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of Poland.

In Israel, one of the first issues he discussed was Iran developing nuclear weapons and his unequivocal support for the Jewish State if it decides to take action on its own. Accusing Iran of having a "bloody and brutal record," Romney said: "We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions."

Romney's position is more clearly defined in support of Israel than that of President Barack Obama, his Democratic opponent in the November 6th presidential elections. As Mathew Kalman of the Globe & Mail writes;
Mr. Romney spent the day demonstrating his long friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, implicitly contrasting his warm reception with President Barack Obama’s often frosty relations with Mr. Netanyahu.
Mr. Romney also promised as president not to join critics of Israel, as Mr. Obama has on some issues. And he directly challenged White House policy by declaring Jerusalem “the capital of Israel.”
Mr. Romney’s message, delivered against the symbolic backdrop of the Old City of Jerusalem, ruled by Israel since 1967 and still disputed, was directed not at his Israeli hosts but at voters back home, designed to attract the tiny Jewish vote in swing states like Florida and Ohio. Mr. Obama made a similar trip to Israel as a candidate almost exactly four years ago, but has not returned as president.
The race for the White House is essentially a tie, according to recent polls. You would think that with the differences between the two candidates being clear and apparent, the choice would be easy. Yet, Jewish voters in the U.S, according to the latest polls, are committed to voting for Obama (68-25), in keeping with their long-standing ties to the Democratic Party.

It's unlikely that Romney will see significant gains nationally from the Jewish cohort, given its slavish devotion to the Democrats, but he might get enough votes in the key state of Florida to win it. While relationships are always important, elections ought to be decided on the merits of a candidate and his platform. Some Jews might be put off by Romney's Mormon or "Christian convictions"; they shouldn't be. In this case and in this election, voting Democrat would seem to go against the interests of the Jewish People.

You can read the rest of the article at [Globe & Mail].