For pro-Israel voters, GOP candidate is the choice

President Obama began in 2009 by making it clear, publicly, that he saw Israel as the obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

August 1, 2012 22:16
3 minute read.
Mitt Romney delivers speech in Jerusalem

Mitt Romney delivers speech in Jerusalem 370 (R). (photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)

Four years ago, Alan Dershowitz and I debated in these pages whether Barack Obama or John McCain would be a better president for Israel. I urged my teacher, mentor and friend to “judge the candidates on their actions, not their words.”

Today, we can judge Obama on his record – and there is much that Dershowitz leaves out in his summary of why he has no “buyer’s remorse” for voting for Obama in 2008 – and again, apparently, in 2012.

President Obama began in 2009 by making it clear, publicly, that he saw Israel as the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. He “shut the door” on natural growth in Israeli settlements, creating a new excuse Palestinians could use to avoid talks. He appeared “to link American efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons to Israeli actions with regard to the settlements.” (I am quoting Dershowitz’s own criticisms from 2009).

Instead of confronting Iran, Obama has pursued a policy of sanctions that has failed to set back Iran’s nuclear program “one iota,” according to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Even those loophole-filled sanctions were too much for Obama, who had to be dragged into supporting them – raising concerns that Obama could be the US’s own “Neville Chamberlain” (I am quoting Dershowitz’s own criticism from 2010).

Worst of all were the public attacks by the Obama administration against construction in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. And who can forget when Obama said that Israel should negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis of the 1967 borders? President Obama “hurt the peace process gravely,” pushing the two sides “further away than ever before from negotiated peace.” (I am quoting Dershowitz again, from 2011.) IN 2008, Dershowitz based his support for Obama on the premise that “The election of Barack Obama – a liberal supporter of Israel – will enhance [the] weakening position among wavering liberals.” That has not happened – partly because the Obama administration has itself used radical proxy groups, such as J Street and Media Matters, to undermine support for Israel.

In February 2012, Dershowitz said that he “could not vote for any candidate who had anything to do with Media Matters.” Has Obama disowned them? Dershowitz gives Obama credit for opposing the Goldstone Report – a slander the administration was actually slow to condemn, just as it was slow to boycott the Durban racism conferences.

He also commends the president for security cooperation with Israel – cooperation that already had bipartisan support, and which has been undermined by the administration’s leaks about Israeli military plans against Iran.

Even by Obama’s own standards, he has been a failure, breaking his promise to AIPAC in 2008 that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

More reliable are the words Obama said to then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in March: “This is my election. After my election I have more flexibility.” We know where Obama’s “flexibility” may lead. Pro-Israel voters cannot take that chance.

OBAMA IS not the “pragmatic, centrist liberal” that Dershowitz describes. He is a man of the left who has set out to transform American society, often in direct contrast with the ideal of limited government established in our Constitution.

In international affairs, he has adopted an illiberal, “anti-colonial” approach – reaching out to America’s enemies while abandoning our allies, and often ignoring human rights concerns in the process.

For Israel to remain a bipartisan issue, both parties must show an equal commitment to Israel’s security and welfare. Many Democrats not only believe that Israeli policies are wrong, but that the US must pressure Israel to change them.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), whom I ran against in 2010 – with Dershowitz’s support – writes to defend Obama’s record in these pages. But she raised money with anti-Semite Helen Thomas, and backs J Street. Should we continue to let such radicals define US policy towards Israel? Mitt Romney is a personal friend of Netanyahu and a true friend of Israel. He supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran, considers Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and celebrates Israel’s entrepreneurial success.

Some liberal Jews may reject him for being pro-life. But for those who truly love Israel, Romney is the obvious choice.

The writer is the editor-in-chief of Breitbart News.

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