After the tension witnessed during the second presidential debate, viewers were left wondering if the third and final presidential debate would end with one, or both of the candidates throwing punches. That didn’t happen. And not much new information came out, either.
On university campuses, students have for the most part remained stalwart supporters of their original candidate, and the debates have merely informed and educated student voters. Still, it appears that many Zionist students are unforgiving of President Obama’s foreign policies, and demand that immediate action be taken in attending to Iran’s nuclear program.
Neena Klein of San Antonio is a junior at Texas State University, and is particularly disconcerted by the President’s foreign policies, especially after the Benghazi cover up.
“The cover up demonstrates President Obama’s lack of concern for our embassies as well as our allies,” Klein said. “He is simply not pushing hard enough for sanctions on Iranian nuclear weaponry.”
For Ian A. Cummings, a junior at Franklin & Marshall College and a resident of Linwood, New Jersey, the choice is clear that come Nov. 6, he will be voting for Mitt Romney.
“As an American Jew, I’ve witnessed the continual ‘throwing-under-the-bus’ of Israel by Obama the last four years,” said Cummings. “Obama has left Israel out to dry, whether it was snubbing Prime Minister Netanyahu, conducting secret negotiations with Iran to undercut U.S. support for an Israeli airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities or publicly criticizing Israel settlement policy. The Obama administration is the most anti-Israel of any in my lifetime—it makes me concerned for Israel’s future.”
The debates and election campaigning as a whole have been filled with fact checking, inconsistent positions on various policies, and many angry accusations.
One student, junior Tal Ben-Maimon of Vanderbilt University, is frustrated and discouraged by this year’s election campaigning, and has little faith in either candidate to restore the economy.
Ben-Maimon has grown impatient, and strongly believes that the United States’ economic and unemployment problems must be the foremost concern of both candidates.
“This election is plagued with pointless areas of debate,” Ben-Maimon said. “There is a lot of fuss around social and foreign policy, and a vast spectrum of opinions as to how these policies should be interpreted or changed, but now is not the time. The issue this election needs to centralize around is economics, so that we can pull this country out of its state of perpetual stagnant growth. If we deal with our economic situation now, we can deal with everything else in the future.”
Jacob Couzens, a Yeshiva University sophomore and native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, has also been frustrated by the superfluity and unnecessary arguing during the debates, but believes Romney has shown far greater support of Israel than has President Obama. Couzens was disappointed in the second debates’ absence of matters and policies pertaining directly to Israel, which he considers one of, if not the most important issue, in determining his vote.
“While there are a number of issues I hold in high regard, (economy, government spending, social security) one of the issues held dearest to my heart is the U.S.A’s foreign policy towards Israel and the Middle East in general,” Couzens said. “In the past few years, President Obama has time and again lacked the stalwart support for what is one of the only established free democracies in the vast Middle Eastern region. He has called for Israel’s pre-1967 borders, and also conveniently left Jerusalem being the capital of Israel out of his political platform. His relationship (or lack thereof) with Prime Minister Netanyahu is disappointing.”
President Obama appears to many to be increasingly less supportive of Israel and the decisions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In addition to refusing to state he would provide support for Israel in the event of military action against Iran, Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu last month, claiming that his schedule was simply too busy. While Governor Romney has already made the trip to Israel, some believe that this was done solely for the purpose of gaining Jewish and Israeli support.
Many students are strong and unwavering in their beliefs, yet others are more confident in both the candidates to support and value Israel as an ally and friend of the U.S.
University of Texas junior Caroline Mendelsohn hails from Washington D.C., but will be voting in Texas this November. She trusts that either candidate will do what is in America’s best interest, and continue to keep ties strong with Israel, though Romney would do so in a more traditional sense.
“Both Obama and Romney support Israel,” said Mendelsohn. “Perhaps they do so, or plan to do so in different ways, but when it comes down to it, the President and Governor Romney understand that support for Israel is in America’s best interest. I agree with many that Obama’s positions on Jerusalem and certain border questions are not as clear or defined as they should be, and therefore not seen as pro-Israel, but during Obama’s term as President, Israel has benefitted from consistent support from the U.S. House and Senate, passing information legislation regarding the Iron Dome Missile Defense System, tough sanctions against a nuclear Iran, and the continuation of foreign aid and joint military cooperation.”
One thing that seems to be universally agreed upon is that Iran’s nuclear program must be taken care of. The support for Israel will likely be present regardless of who is in office, yet it is quite clear that for President Obama, costly mistakes were made in his foreign policy with the Benghazi cover up, his dismissal of Netanyahu during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the U.S., and his call for Israel’s reversion to the pre-1967 lines.
Though Romney’s foreign policy is far from perfect, it seems to students that he is making fewer mistakes, and that if elected, he and the U.S. will act as the bulwark that Israel needs and deserves.Jonathan Asher Pressman
About the Author: Jonathan Pressman is a junior at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
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