Well, that sure didn’t take long.
Just three days after presumptive
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney left the country, a conservative
pro-Israel advocacy group called the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) had a
30-second pro-Romney advertisement prepared and ready for broadcast this weekend
in Florida – a key battleground state with a relatively large percentage of
And, of course, footage of Romney delivering a speech
Sunday in front of the Old City walls, and his visit to the Western Wall,
But the Romney advertisement was not out there
alone. The office of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv had a
three-minute video on YouTube within 24 hours of Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta’s departure from Israel, emphasizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak lauding Israeli-American security
The ECI ad, which the organization announced would air
hundreds of times in the coming days in Florida, begins with a deep voiced
announcer asking, “What’s the capital of Israel? President [Barack] Obama is
embarrassed to say.”
The ad then shows a White House spokesman fumbling
over the question of what is Israel’s capital, followed by a shot of Romney, at
his speech Sunday, saying: “It is a deeply moving experience being in Jerusalem,
the capital of Israel.”
“Next year President Mitt Romney in Jerusalem,
the capital of Israel,” the ad concludes, as a picture of Romney, eyes closed,
is seen touching the Western Wall.
Those quick to wring their hands over
this advertisement would do well to look at the very professional video uploaded
on Thursday by the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
The video, which begins with
dramatic music and shots of Panetta stepping off a US Air Force jet, is titled
“Rock Solid Commitment – US Secretary of Defense Panetta’s Visit to
It shows him reviewing an honor guard with Barak, and then
saying, “We are friends, we are partners, we have – as the defense minister
pointed out – probably the strongest US-Israel defense relationship that we have
had in history.”
It also shows Panetta warmly shaking hands with
Netanyahu, and the prime minister saying that he wanted to “use this opportunity
to thank you, President Obama, and the American Congress for enhancing the
strategic relationship between our two countries. In this time of great
instability in our region, the strong, bipartisan message of support for Israel
is deeply appreciated.”
The video also features footage of Panetta’s
visit Wednesday to the Iron Dome battery near Ashkelon, where he said “The
Israeli people should know that the United States stands with them in this fight
and the fight to ensure peace in this region, and that we have a rock solid
commitment to Israel’s security and to the security of its citizens.”
a related development, Romney on Thursday launched the Jewish Americans for
Romney coalition and defended his citation earlier this week in Jerusalem of
“culture” to explain the economic disparity between Israelis and
“The Jewish community has made contributions to American
society that stand in amazing disproportion to its numbers, and I am genuinely
honored to have so many of its leading thinkers, diplomats and political leaders
support my campaign,” Romney said in an announcement released Tuesday through
his presidential campaign.
In a separate release, Romney continued to
defend his comment during his Jerusalem trip that culture is the reason Israel
is more prosperous than the Palestinian areas.
Romney’s remarks as racist and as willfully ignoring the limitations imposed
upon them by Israel’s occupation.
“Like the United States, the State of
Israel has a culture that is based upon individual freedom and the rule of law,”
Romney said in the release. “It is a democracy that has embraced liberty, both
political and economic.
This embrace has created conditions that have
enabled innovators and entrepreneurs to make the desert bloom. In the face of
improbable odds, Israel today is a world leader in fields ranging from medicine
to information technology.”
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JTA contributed to this report.