It should come as no surprise to readers that The Jewish Press endorses Governor Mitt Romney in the November 6 presidential election. We’ve regularly expressed serious concerns about Barack Obama’s views on the Middle East in general and the Arab-Israeli situation in particular from the onset of his 2008 presidential campaign through his four years in the White House.
We recognize that there are those who can and do point to several pro-Israel actions President Obama has taken as being indicative of fundamental support for the Jewish state on his part. Indeed, some of those actions are unprecedented. However, we believe it is clear that Mr. Obama came into office determined to significantly alter downward the decades-long special relationship between the U.S. and Israel – as we discuss below, he indicated as much – but that he was forced to put his intentions on hold following serious pushback from Jewish leaders and Democratic Party allies.
We fear that once he is freed from reelection concerns, the president in a second term will resume the tough talk to Israel and the disturbing policies of his earlier months in office that, if implemented, would result in a truncated and weakened Israel and an empowered Muslim world.
On the other hand, from everything we have heard from Mr. Romney it appears he not only believes in the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel but is intent on enhancing it.
Of course, separate and apart from the issue of Israel there should be a healthy skepticism when it comes to most of President Obama’s claims of accomplishment.
On the domestic front, the economy remains listless, the unemployment rate is a national disgrace, and the national debt is spiraling out of control.
Mr. Obama’s recent dissembling over the Benghazi disaster is only the latest in a series of foreign policy mishaps that taken together only serve to increase our unease. He claims to have referred to the incident as a “terror attack” in a speech the next day. The transcript does indeed show that he used the phrase, but in context he appeared to be making a broad generalization rather than specifically affixing the terror appellation to Benghazi.
Moreover, for days afterward his vice president, UN ambassador and several other administration spokesmen maintained either that they still didn’t know whether the attack was the work of terrorists or that it was a spontaneous, violent reaction to an anti-Muhammad video – the latter a notion that has now been discredited. In running as fast as they could from using the word “terrorism,” they claimed to have been relying on the intelligence information that was available at the time. What intelligence, then, was the president – assuming he really was, as he claims, referring to Benghazi – relying on the day after the attack?
Also contributing to our dismay with the administration were the unprecedented threats to the Supreme Court over Obamacare, the open violation of our immigration laws respecting the deportation of illegal aliens, and the leaking of classified information to burnish the president’s foreign policy credentials.
Getting back to Israel, despite the above-mentioned positive actions taken by Mr. Obama – which have included supporting Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system; backing Israel during the controversies over the Goldstone Report and the Gaza flotilla fiasco; and opposing the Palestinians’ efforts at the UN for a unilateral declaration of statehood – we believe our skepticism is well-founded. Mr. Obama has set forth his fundamental beliefs regarding the Middle East in both word and action and they are decidedly not pro-Israel by any calculation.
During the 2008 campaign we were disturbed by Mr. Obama’s close ties to the virulently anti-Israel and anti-U.S. Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose church the Obamas attended for years. The claim by the president that he was conveniently absent whenever Rev. Wright gave his notorious sermons is hard to take seriously. After all, Rev. Wright officiated at his wedding and other family events and indeed mentored him.
Mr. Obama’s close association in his formative years with several anti-Israel leftists rang some alarm bells. Also ringing bells was his comment during the 2008 campaign that “There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel.”