Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
To put it mildly, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s trip to Israel didn’t go over well with spokesmen for the Palestinians, the Obama administration and a number of columnists and commentators who echoed their criticisms.
The Palestinians were incensed by Gov. Romney’s failure to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his blaming “Palestinian culture” for the dismal state of Palestinian economic development without mentioning the impact of Israeli occupation. They also resented his praising of Israel’s culture as a basis for its remarkable economic progress.
Meanwhile, Obama administration officials say Gov. Romney’s Jerusalem remark was inconsistent with longstanding U.S. policy. Let’s look a little closer at the facts.
We can well understand that the Palestinians would rail against the Romney snub. But didn’t the president of the United States travel to Cairo to announce his game-changing outreach to the Muslim world and pointedly fail to visit nearby Israel?
As for the issue of Jerusalem, haven’t we all heard just about enough of the mantra that the Palestinians expect to get Jerusalem or part of it as the capital of a Palestinian state? But based on what? The UN Mandate declared all of Jerusalem to be an international city and it was only the 1948 invasion by Arab states that upset that plan as Jordan seized much of the city. Why is Arab conquest in a war of aggression more legitimate than Israel’s seizure in a war of self-defense?
And the Palestinian economy? The Palestinians pretty much share the same culture found among the various sovereign Arab states. Is any one of them a model of systemic growth? Where would they all be without the benefit of the ultimately artificial factor of oil? Aren’t they all characterized by economically and politically debilitating corruption? Why is it that not one of them has developed into a democracy? Are they all ruled by autocratic kings and dictators because Israel builds a few houses in Judea and Samaria and defends itself against murderous Palestinian thugs?
The Jerusalem Post reported Monday that folks in the White House were “scratching their heads” trying to figure out Mr. Romney’s Jerusalem remarks. In a speech on Sunday Romney said, “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” And in an interview a short time later with CNN he said, “My understanding is the policy of our nation has been a desire to move our embassy ultimately to the capital. That is something which I would agree with. But I would only want to do so and to select the timing in accordance with the government of Israel.”
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of Romney’s comments, “Well, our view is that that’s a different position than this administration holds. It’s the view of this administration that the capital is something that should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties.”
He added, “I’d remind you that that’s the position that’s been held by previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. So if Mr. Romney disagrees with that position, he’s also disagreeing with the position that was taken by Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.”
Since 1995, federal law has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995 provides that “(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected; (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and (3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”
To be sure, Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush invoked a “national security waiver” to postpone the move, though by its terms the waiver only applied to penalties for not moving the embassy, not the requirement to move the embassy. The waiver had to be renewed every six months, which both did. However, President Bush inserted language in his waiver statements over eight years which stated: My administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem.” President Obama, who has also issued waivers every six months, dropped that sentence each time.
Significantly, in their presidential campaigns Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry also spoke in favor of relocating the embassy to Jerusalem in line with the 1995 law as did candidate George W. Bush.
Moreover, we still remember presidential candidate Barack Obama declaring to AIPAC in June 2008 that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” So it does seem a little cheeky to call Gov. Romney out for saying the very same thing.
Yes, Mr. Obama soon backtracked after making that statement to AIPAC, saying, “The point we were simply making was [sic] is that we don’t want barbed wire running through Jerusalem, similar to the way it was prior to the ’67 war, that it is possible for us to create a Jerusalem that is cohesive and coherent.”
All right, but the fact is that candidate Obama, literally hours before his little flip-flop, did declare, as Gov. Romney did this week, that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel.”
So Mr. Romney seems to have the better of the argument about U.S. policy regarding Israel. To be sure, Mr. Obama, as we have noted, is not the first president to flout the Embassy Law. But at least President Bush was embarrassed when doing so. Not this president, who has lately made a habit of ignoring or unilaterally modifying Congressional enactments. And he is not above sending out his spokesmen to create an alternative reality to justify it.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program
At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel
“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”
Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.
Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed
Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?
To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists
Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
According to Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, France was the largest source of Jewish emigration to Israel last year and he believes as many as 15,000 French Jews may make aliyah in 2015.
Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.
One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.
In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-romney-uproar-in-perspective/2012/08/01/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: