Romney on Israel: What is doing the 'opposite' of Obama?

President Obama has stood up for Israel time and time again, to ensure that the bond between Israel and the US is truly unbreakable.

July 29, 2012 18:37
3 minute read.
President Peres, US President Obama toast

President Peres, US President Obama toast 370. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)


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Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney boldly declares that, if elected to the most powerful office in the world, he will do the opposite of US President Barack Obama on Israel.

Speaking by satellite last month to the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference of Christian conservatives, meeting in Washington DC, Gov. Romney said he would represent “the opposite” of what President Obama is doing on US relations with Israel and Iran.

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I have fought for Israel during my tenure in Congress and throughout my entire life. I care very deeply about the Jewish State of Israel and have always fought for a strong US-Israel relationship. I have seen many US presidents – and many candidates for the White House – come and go, but Governor Romney’s proclamation stands out as either foolish partisan rhetoric that needs to be corrected or seriously dangerous for the safety and security of Israel.

By saying that he’s going to do the opposite, does Governor Romney mean that he will refuse to defend Israel every time its legitimacy is on the line at the United Nations? That would certainly be the opposite of President Obama, who has voted with Israel at the UN one hundred percent of the time – an unparalleled voting record among US presidents. The Obama Administration has vocally stood up against delegitimization attempts at the UN. After standing up against Palestinian unilateral action at the UN, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally thanked the president, calling the speech a “badge of honor.”

THE OBAMA Administration has given more the $3 billion per year to help Israel’s military to ensure it has the most up-to-date technologies and weapons available. Even under the tightest of budget restraints, and in addition to the billions in dollars of foreign aid, President Obama provided hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel for Iron Dome, which has protected countless Israeli lives from ballistic missiles. He has held true to his guarantee that the “commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad.” Would Governor Romney cut this vital aid to Israel and pull US funding for Iron Dome? Because that would be doing the opposite.

Would Governor Romney ease sanctions on Iran and refuse to stand up to the authoritarian regime when Israel is in need? This would surely be another example of “doing the opposite.” President Obama has put into place the toughest-ever sanctions regime against Iran and has used some of the most powerful tools of the US government to make sure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons. With the Iranian financial system hurting and the value of Iranian currency plummeting, let there be no doubt: These sanctions have been crippling. Furthermore, in order to hold true to the President’s promise that he will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, he continues to firmly declare that all options are on the table.

Would Governor Romney not have personally gotten involved when the Israeli embassy in Cairo was under attack? Would he not have done everything possible to help Israeli citizens during the Carmel fire?

How exactly is Governor Romney proposing to “do the opposite?” Defense Minister Ehud Barak doesn’t want the opposite of Obama on Israel, either. Barak, also a former Israeli prime minister, has said that under the Obama Administration, Israel and the US’s bonds are “stronger and deeper than ever.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, said that Israel has not had “a better friend than President Obama.” And President Shimon Peres, who has continually referred to Obama as a “friend,” says that the US President has an “unwavering commitment to the peace and security of our land.”

What does Gov. Romney’s promise to “do the opposite” of that even mean?

President Obama has stood up for Israel time and time again, to ensure that the bond between Israel and the US is truly unbreakable. For one to say that he wants to do the opposite of Obama on Israel is not only baffling, but a cause for great concern to Israel’s friends in America and around the world. Gov. Romney ought to know better.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives from Illionois.

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