The American presidential elections are upon us, and as with every four-year
cycle, each candidate and both parties try to convince voters in the US that
they are the true pro-Israel candidate.
In this election, those who want
what is truly best for Israel are presented with a starker choice than usual. On
one hand, there is Gov.
Mitt Romney, who is taking the time to visit us
at the moment, and who time and again has spoken out strongly for Israel’s
rights to safeguard our own interests.
On the other hand, incumbent
candidate US President Barack Obama has all but adopted the Palestinian negotiation
position and given Israel the cold shoulder on every possible
Romney has decided to visit us just three short months before
the most important election of his life.
By coming here, Romney is
indicating to his Israeli friends his deep commitment to the State of Israel and
the importance that he places on his friendship with the Jewish
Not only is the governor taking the time to visit the Jewish
state in the midst of his campaign, but he has also stated repeatedly that
should he win the presidency, his first official trip abroad would be to Israel.
It is these types of pledges – along with his steadfast statements affirming
Israel’s right to defend itself from all threats, both near and far – that is
convincing so many Democratic pro-Israel voters to switch sides and vote for the
Republican candidate in the upcoming election.
Obama, on the other hand,
has been anything but resolute in his support for Israel since he was elected in
2008. In his now infamous Cairo Speech, the president put the onus of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict squarely on the shoulders of what was once called
America’s only true ally in the Middle East.
When later pressuring Israel
into the ill-advised construction freeze, Obama was the main reason that for the
first time since the establishments of the State of Israel, that Jews were
outlawed from building homes in their historic homeland.
At the same
time, it was considered completely legitimate for the Palestinians to continue
building (legally and illegally) and creating their “facts on the ground”
throughout Judea and Samaria.
To add insult to injury, Obama was able to
find the time to visit many of Israel’s neighbors during his first term –
including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey – but he could not fit a quick stop to
Israel into his schedule to discuss these new policies with his Israeli
It is my belief that the State of Israel should not be
involved in our allies’ elections. We should, however, be ready to cooperate
with any candidate who supports our cause.
There are too many enemies in
our region and around the world who threaten our very existence to ignore such
friends as the United States.
That being said, we do have the right to
examine each candidate for who they truly are, and to state clearly when one is
a greater friend of Israel than the other.
Welcome to Israel, Gov.
Romney!The writer is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and chairman of World Likud.