web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Visit To Israel Gives Romney Chance To Shore Up Foreign Policy Credibility


WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney’s announced trip to Israel, at the height of his campaign to wrest the presidency from Barack Obama, could be a twofer, drawing closer two critical constituencies: evangelicals and foreign policy hawks.

A Romney campaign official confirmed to JTA a New York Times story this week that Romney would travel to Israel later this summer to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The official would not elaborate on the plans, but experts said such a trip could bridge perceived gaps between the former Massachusetts governor and two constituencies whose wariness have dogged his campaign.

Geoff Skelley, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said recent polls show that evangelicals are still concerned about Romney’s Mormon faith and his moderate gubernatorial record in a liberal Northeastern state.

“Evangelical Christians have a problem with Mormonism and that could create a shortfall,” he said. “And another way of looking at this is that it’s an opportunity to show himself in the role of a statesman – there have been articles written about his lack of foreign policy experience.”

Romney in recent days appeared eager to push back against those who question his foreign policy gravitas. At a retreat for Romney campaign fundraisers late last month, he made a point of dropping in on a session on U.S.-Israel relations and announced that he had just had an in-depth chat on Israel, Iran, Syria and Egypt with Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.

Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said to expect more of the same in the coming weeks.

“I think clearly you will see a number of events over the coming weeks from the Romney people to demonstrate not only his capacity and ability to lead in the foreign policy arena but also the depth of his knowledge, Israel being one of those points,” Brooks said. Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations, said that Israel was a natural area for Romney to distinguish himself from Obama.

Miller, however, said that the two candidates differed little on Iran, the pressing Middle East issue of the day, each emphasizing the urgency of keeping the Islamic Republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Obama’s aggressive anti-terrorist policies make the traditional GOP ploy of depicting Democrats as weak on defense a nonstarter, he said.

“There’s not much different substantively on war and peace between Romney and Obama, and Romney cannot find a way in,” Miller said. “The notion that Romney’s predator drone is bigger than Obama’s predator drone doesn’t fly.”

But Miller said that Romney had an advantage because of his years of closeness to the Jewish state, stretching back to a friendship forged in the mid-1970s with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when both men were investment advisers in the same office in Boston.

“There is a divide on the issue of how Obama has reacted to Israel,” Miller said, referring to open tensions between Obama and Netanyahu over issues like negotiations with the Palestinians and settlement expansion. Obama “is cold and detached on many issues, deliberate and analytical, he doesn’t convey the depth of the emotional bond. I suspect Romney has detected that as an opportunity where he is instinctively more of a natural.”

It is an opportunity Republicans are already exploiting. “This upcoming visit to Israel illustrates once again the stark difference between Gov. Romney and President Obama, who has yet to visit Israel during his term in office, despite having visited a number of nearby nations not friendly to Israel, including Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia,” the Republican Jewish Coalition said in a statement.

Few presidents have visited Israel in their first term, Democrats point out, and the fact of such a visit does not necessarily portend friendliness – Jimmy Carter visited Israel in his first and only term.

David Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that Obama’s increase in defense assistance for Israel and what Israelis acknowledge as unprecedented closeness in defense cooperation, speaks for itself.

Harris noted the upcoming October joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile exercise, the biggest ever. “I’m confident that while in Israel, Gov. Romney will see first hand the unprecedented security cooperation that Barack Obama has brought to the U.S.-Israel relationship,” he said. He also noted that Obama visited Israel as a candidate in 2008. (Romney also visited Israel during that previous election cycle, participating in the 2007 Herzliya Conference.)

Israelis seemed eager to welcome Romney. The New York Times quoted Ron Dermer, a top adviser to Netanyahu, as saying that Romney is a “strong friend of Israel and we’ll be happy to meet with him.”

Romney’s visit could prove important in his efforts to appeal to Jews and pro-Israel evangelicals, said William Daroff, the Washington director for the Jewish Federations of North America and a former GOP operative.

“There is a definite perception that the Jewish vote and the pro-Israel vote are in play this election cycle,” Daroff said in an email.

Polls have suggested, however, that to the degree Jews have grown disenchanted with Obama – his Jewish approval ratings are now in the low 60s as opposed to the low 80s at the outset of his presidency – it is because of the economy.

It is among evangelicals where Romney’s visit might resonate, said David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel. “Its no mistake when conservative candidates want to appeal to the Christian base, Israel is the top issue to speak on,” Brog said.

Michael Hines, the media director for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, a Nashville-based group that conducts pro-Israel outreach among evangelicals, said a visit to Israel could help cement Romney’s relationship with the community.

“In the primaries…there was a certain reticence in the evangelical community,” Hines said. “Now that everyone has coalesced, or at least Republican evangelicals have coalesced, they see him as a contrast to Obama and there is a widespread view” among evangelicals “that Obama has not been the best friend of Israel.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Visit To Israel Gives Romney Chance To Shore Up Foreign Policy Credibility”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Broken headstones and monuments in the Mount of Olives cemetery.
Arabs Desecrate Mount of Olives Cemetery Again
Latest News Stories

Israel’s ambassador to Jordan suggested that King Abdullah’s recent rants against Israel stems from pressure by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

On Saturday, fighting between the Lebanon Army and ISIS-affiliated terrorists in the Lebanese city of Tripoli left at least 14 dead and dozens wounded.

Liberman and Ariel

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman (L) speaks with Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel during a cornerstone laying ceremony for a new Synagogue in the community of Nokdim in Eastern Gush Etzion, on October 23, 2014. Nokdim is Liberman’s home town. This is what we think they spoke about.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency Saturday after terrorists carried out a deadly assault in the northern Sinai, killing 33 Egyptian troops. Al-Sisi charged that “this operation had a foreign fund to execute” he attack against the Egyptian army… to break the back of Egypt and Egyptians.” A car bomb […]

Arab youth are trying to spark a widespread intifada but so far have failed.

Jewish headstones and monuments were smashed, broken and knocked over. Firebombs were thrown into the cemetery.

The Galil Medical Center has treated 408 wounded Syrians to date.

At least 14 people have been killed in Tripoli battles.

India has chosen to purchase Israel’s Spike anti-tank missiles after rejecting a competing offer for US Lockheed Martin’s Javelin missiles.

The US sends its “condolences” and urges “all parties…to avoid escalating tensions.”

Kerry snubs Ya’alon, but the Israeli D.M. gets great press coverage in leading U.S. newspaper.

The first of 2 nurses to contract Ebola in Texas has been cured. NY and NJ have begun quarantining health-care workers returning from West Africa.

“Mourning” a terrorist means carrying the torch of terror.

Israel changes it clocks Sunday morning at 2 AM.

Terrorist attack in NYC and in Canada came after ISIS urged Muslims in the West to strike police and soldiers.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

Capital-Bldg-091214

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

The disagreements don’t seem to have gone away, despite a cease-fire that appears to be firmly in place.

“On the Hill and with some people with whom I have spoken who are robust Israel supporters, people are concerned if not angry,” one of the staffers, a Democrat, told JTA

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/visit-to-israel-gives-romney-chance-to-shore-up-foreign-policy-credibility/2012/07/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: