web analytics
July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Romney’s Remarks On Peace Prospects Draw Muted Response From Jewish Groups

Romney-092812

WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney’s less than optimistic take on Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects drew some media attention but not much noise from centrist Jewish groups.

Only groups on the right and the left ends of the communal spectrum issued statements in response to the revelations of Romney’s remarks, respectively praising and strongly condemning the Republican presidential nominee’s comments suggesting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be solved at present and the best that could be done was to “kick the ball down the field.”

Romney’s remarks were greeted quietly by the centrist organizations. But some centrist Jewish communal leaders stressed that the pursuit of peace should not be postponed, though they were not inclined to criticize Romney.

“To let it fester is not in the best interests of Israel,” said Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, adding that he believed Romney “meant well” in his remarks at a May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla.

Israel’s government “wants to pursue peace and they want to believe there is a partner,” Foxman said, citing the little noticed but successful ongoing security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. “It’s not in Israel’s interest to kick it down the road, not only in terms of self-interest but in terms of its relationship to the civilized world.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Committee declined to comment on Romney’s remarks.

Some have noted that the Republican nominee did not rule out the possibility of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace in the future. The initial portions of Romney’s remarks that were released by Mother Jones magazine, which had obtained the secretly recorded video from the Florida fundraiser, were truncated. The full video was released shortly thereafter and included what could be seen as Romney’s vision of how the U.S. can foster the conditions for an eventual peace by being a resolute ally of Israel.

“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, ‘There’s just no way,’ “ Romney said in the remarks as first released at the $50,000-a-plate dinner.

“And so what you do is you say, ‘You move things along the best way you can,’ “ he continued. “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

Left out of the original reporting was his conclusion to the thought: “So the only answer is show them strength. American strength, American resolve, and the Palestinians will some day reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them. Then it’s worth having the discussion. So until then, it’s just wishful thinking.”

Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive vice president, said he understood Romney not to mean that he was abandoning peacemaking, but that he was acknowledging other crises had superseded its importance in the Middle East.

“Events have pushed the issue to the outside,” said Mariaschin, citing Iran’s acceleration of its nuclear program and the unrest in much of the Arab world, particularly Syria. He noted renewed Palestinian plans to push for statehood recognition at the United Nations that have frustrated the Obama administration, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Romney’s remarks on the peace process were criticized by Democrats. “This guy wants to be president of the United States?” asked Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee who is retiring this year. “There are problems between Jews and Muslims and this Mormon throws a Hail Mary?”

In a series of interviews with media outlets, Dennis Ross, the former Middle East adviser to President Obama and the administration’s most frequent interlocutor with Israel, seemed to suggest that Romney’s remarks were not helpful.

“I’m a big believer in not creating a false set of expectations, but I’m also a believer in that if you think something is stuck, you come up with an approach and try to change the dynamic,” Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The Huffington Post. “If you basically just say it’s all hopeless, you just make hopelessness a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

But a fellow veteran U.S. Middle East negotiator, Aaron David Miller, struck a more sympathetic chord.

“To me, the idea that an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement may not be possible is simply an acknowledgement of reality,” Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told The Huffington Post. “In my view, the emperor has been seen to have no clothes on this issue for quite a number of years.”

Miller said he thought that Romney, if elected, would tend toward the low end in the spectrum of U.S. engagement with the issue, “what I would call benign neglect” – but that “even Romney would have to find some way of management.”

Americans for Peace Now and J Street, which have pushed for aggressive U.S. action to advance a two-state solution, were strongly critical of Romney’s comments.

“In dismissing the possibility of achieving peace and expressing readiness to simply sit back and wait for the conflict to resolve itself, Romney has articulated a view that is fundamentally anti-Israel,” APN’s president, Debra DeLee, said in a statement. “ ‘Pro-Israel’ means being committed to the achievement of peace for Israel, no matter how difficult it may be to achieve or how distant a solution may appear.”

But the Zionist Organization of America said it agreed with Romney’s premise.

“Governor Romney’s remarks indicate that were he to be elected president, he might be willing to do what President Obama and his predecessors, Republican and Democratic, have not done – to act on the realities of the Palestinian situation and apply real, sustained pressure on the Palestinian Authority to change its ways,” the ZOA’s national president, Morton Klein, said in a statement.

(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 “Romney’s Remarks On Peace Prospects Draw Muted Response From Jewish Groups”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.
CNN Promotes Old City on Verge of Extinction Due to ‘Political Tension’
Latest News Stories
John Kerry says in Vienna today what he said in Switzerland three months ago.

Reporter Laura Rozen: “How many ways can I say significant progress made but important differences remain?”

Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.

CNN put the UNESCO site at the top of the list, implied Israel it to blame for its being “endangered but failed to mention Jordan’s responsibility.

No eating today.

In three weeks, the Fast of the 9th of Av will be on the 10th of Av.

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen shaking hands with Shas leader Aryeh Deri in the Knesset.

Netanyahu falsely accused Bennett of signing a coalition agreement that returns more power to Hareidim.

US-led talks with Tehran appear to have reached a deal on sanctions relief: but what about access to Iranian nuclear sites?

Arab leaders realize the existential threat posed by ISIS: Tunisia is at a state of emergency; Egypt has declared “war.”

Six terror fugitives were arrested by IDF soldiers overnight in Judea and Samaria.

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick talks peace in Istanbul with a state official and on A9TV with Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar.

Yifat Shoham, one of the longest-running directors of Leumit HMO in Arad, has passed away. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Once again, rioting Arabs succeed in preventing Jews and other visitors from entering the Temple Mount.

Kerry spent the Fourth of July talking with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Thirty Policemen escorted a total of 21 neo-Nazi in the “anti-Jewification” protest that flopped.

ISIS released a video of a modern-day replay of the thirst for blood in ancient Roman amphitheaters.

The woman who once kissed Suha Arafat has a different attitude when it comes to funding her campaign for president.

A third Grad rocket was found in the Eshkol region on Saturday.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas
Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton. (archive)

Clinton derided perceptions that U.S.-Israel tensions had become tense under Obama.

“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text.”

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

“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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east/romneys-remarks-on-peace-prospects-draw-muted-response-from-jewish-groups/2012/09/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: