Israel Political Brief May 14, 2012: GOP Urges Mitt Romney to ‘Shame’ President Obama by Visiting Israel

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GOP Urges Romney to ‘Shame’ Obama by Visiting Israel

Republican Congressmen urge Romney to hurry up and visit Israel to ”shame” Obama, who has not visited as president.

Source: Israel National News, 5-14-12

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney
Reuters

Republican Congressmen are urging Mitt Romney to hurry up and visit Israel to ”shame” President Barack Obama, who has not visited as president, according to the Washington-based The Hill website.

“It would be a good visit for him,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions.

President Obama visited Israel, highlighted by praying at the Western Wall, during his 2008 campaign. He has hinted that he will come again this year before the November elections, but he may face a problem concerning the Western Wall in the wake of his acceptance of the Palestinian Authority’s demands for sovereignty over all areas, including the Western Wall, restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Romney faces no such problem because his Mormon faith casts him as a strong backer of Israel and the rights of Jews in all of the Land of Israel. The former Massachusetts governor has harshly criticized President Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus.’

Romney has had a friendly relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for years and immediately sent him condolences after his father passed away last month. President Barack Obama did not send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu until a few hours after Arutz Sheva asked the Prime Minister’s spokesmen whether the president had done so.

A visit to Israel by Romney also would sharpen his image regarding foreign policy, while highlighting the fact that during his term in office, President Obama has visited 30 countries, but not Israel.

Romney “can go there and reiterate his record, build some confidence in the Israeli people and send a message to Americans [about] what kind of a relationship he would have and what kind of policy he would have towards Israel,”  Iowa Rep. Steve King told The Hill.READ MORE

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Israel Political Brief April 15, 2012: GOP Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Backs Jerusalem as Capital

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Ron Paul Backs Jerusalem as Capital

Texas Republican Ron Paul, known for wanting to cut aid to Israel and other nations, says Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
 A sign for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul

A sign for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul
Reuters

Texas Republican Ron Paul, known for wanting to cut aid to Israel and other countries, has backed recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The real issue here is not what America wants, but what does Israel want,” Paul said, according to a transcript of a meeting with evangelical leaders obtained by Business Insider. “If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that.”

The former presidential hopeful was considered by many Israeli supporters as being against the country because of his favoring curbing foreign aid to Israel. However, his view actually is the same to other countries, a policy that might leave Israel more independent of political pressure from the American government.

In his meeting with evangelical leaders, he was asked if he would sign, as president, an order carrying out the Congressional law that the American embassy be moved to Jerusalem. The law contains a waiver, exercised by presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, that moving the embassy can be postponed for “national security reasons.”

“How would we like it if some other nation said, ‘We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there?'” he added.

Paul’s senior advisor Doug Wead told Business Insider. “We were floored” by his position on Jerusalem. “It sounds like pure Ron Paul, but it still caught us off guard…If someone would have asked him that in a national debate, I suppose it would have popped right out, but nobody did.”…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 9, 2012: Rick Santorum’s New York Daily News Op-ed ‘Jerusalem is the capital of Israel’

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Jerusalem is the capital of Israel

The following Op-Ed by Rick Santorum first appeared in the New York Daily News on April 9, 2012: 

There is, sadly, a huge divide between the Obama administration’s position and that of the government of Israel with regard to Jerusalem.For thousands of years, at the end of the Passover Seder as well as at the end of Yom Kippur, Jews around the world conclude their holiday by reciting, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

To Jews, Jerusalem is the holiest city, and has the holiest site, the Temple Mount, which includes the Western Wall. Jews praying outside of Jerusalem face toward Jerusalem. When Israel became a state more than 60 years ago, Jerusalem, though it was divided at the time and the Western Wall was in Jordanian hands, was declared Israel’s capital.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case brought by an American Jewish family, the Zivotofskys, whose child was born in West Jerusalem in 2002. The Obama administration, following the Bush administration’s policy, opposed listing “Jerusalem, Israel” as the birthplace on the child’s American passport — despite a U.S. law requiring such a listing.

The U.S. Supreme Court, by an 8-1 margin, decided that the State Department could not wantonly break such a law and prevent the judiciary from reviewing that breach. I agree with that decision.

Even more startling than this refusal to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as the birthplace on an American passport was an exchange at a March 2012 Obama State Department press briefing. In an exchange with Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, the spokeswoman made it clear that even Jerusalem’s western part, the Jewish side of the city, controlled by Israel since 1949, is not recognized as part of Israel.

The question was asked repeatedly:

Q: “What is the capital of Israel?”

A: “Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is that it has to be solved through negotiations. That’s all I have to say on this issue.”

The conversation continued:

Q: “Is it your — is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final-status issue, or do you think — or is it just East Jerusalem?”

A: “Matt, I don’t have anything further to what I’ve said 17 times on that subject. Okay?”

And again:

Q: “All right. So hold on. So I just want to make sure. You’re saying that all of Jerusalem, not just East Jerusalem, is a final-status issue.”

A: “Matt, I don’t have anything further on Jerusalem to what I’ve already said.”

The Obama administration is thus saying that it does not even recognize Israel within its indefensible 1949 borders but that somehow it will protect Israel’s security?

It has been longstanding U.S. policy not to officially recognize any part of Jerusalem as part of Israel — and it is dead wrong.

Never has Israel ever offered Western Jerusalem in a negotiation, so why would the administration keep this totally Jewish section of the city in question?

The Israeli Gaza withdrawal and the missiles that are launching from there into Israeli cities demonstrates that any Israeli withdrawal from any part of Jerusalem would leave Israel without defensible borders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, as have other Israeli prime ministers, that he will never divide Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that my opponent for the Republican Presidential nomination has a different position from that of the President. He has not expressed his opinion about the Obama administration’s position on Jerusalem.

When asked about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving our embassy there, Mitt Romney is undecided, and said he would consult with the government of Israel. He has been running for President for six years, and I think that is long enough for him to get up to speed on foreign policy and make a decision on this crucial issue.

There is no daylight between my position and the government of Israel’s on the issue of Jerusalem. I voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, I support recognizing a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and I will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in compliance with that act.

It is actually not well known that the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 made it U.S. law to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that the waiver provision of the act only applied to moving the embassy to Jerusalem. A letter to President Bill Clinton — signed by 84 U.S. senators, including me — articulated this point.

We know the Obama administration is not complying with U.S. law. We do not know what a potential Romney administration would do. A Santorum administration would mean that next year, there will be a Passover Seder at the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem — and when Jews say, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” that will actually be the case for the U.S. Embassy.

Israel Political Brief March 14, 2012: Rick Santorum’s Southern sweep mars Mitt Romney’s front-runner status

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Santorum’s Southern sweep mars Romney’s front-runner status

Source: JTA, 3-14-12

Rick Santorum swept two Southern states in Republican primaries, complicating Mitt Romney’s status as front-runner and all but burying Newt Gingrich’s chance for the nomination.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who emerged from last place in polling as recently as December to become the conservative challenger to Romney, scored 33 percent of the vote in Mississippi and nearly 35 percent in Alabama. Gingrich, the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker, finished second in both states, with 31 percent in Mississippi and 29 percent in Alabama. Romney was third with 30 percent in Mississippi and 29 percent in Alabama.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) came in a distant fourth in both races after barely campaigning in either state.

Romney, who during the campaign has tried to shuck his reputation as a moderate, had campaigned hard in a bid to prove he could win in conservative Southern states. The former Massachusetts governor is leading substantially in delegates, but his path to the nomination has been far from smooth as conservative candidates continue to mount substantive challenges….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 7, 2012: It’s Romney v. Santorum on Super Tuesday — Super Tuesday GOP / Republican Presidential Primaries Results Recap

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It’s Romney v. Santorum on Super Tuesday

Source: JTA, 3-7-12

Super Tuesday Republican primaries were a race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Republicans selected a Jewish veteran for Ohio’s Senate run, and Dennis Kucinich lost his bid for reelection.

Ten states went to the polls Tuesday in what is the biggest election day of primary season.

“Super Tuesday” usually helps determine a frontrunner, but Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, won decisively in important southern states Oklahoma and Tennessee and appeared headed for a tie with Romney in Ohio. Santorum also picked up North Dakota.

Romney won his home state of Massachusetts and its neighbor, Vermont and as well as Idaho and Virginia.

The former Massachusetts governor faced only Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on the Virgina ballot; Santorum and Newt Gingrich failed to place on the ballot…READ MORE

Campaign Buzz March 6-7, 2012: Super Tuesday GOP / Republican Presidential Primaries Results Recap — 10 States at Stake — Mitt Romney Wins 6, Rick Santorum wins 3, Newt Gingrich wins Georgia

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012


Mitt Romney greeted supporters in Massachusetts, one of the states he won on Tuesday night.

IN FOCUS: SUPER TUESDAY GOP / REPUBLICAN PRIMARY RESULTS

Super Tuesday represents the biggest day in the race for the Republican nomination so far, with 419 total delegates at stake in 10 states — more delegates than have been awarded in all of the previous nominating contests combined. – CBS News

 

  • Updates on Super Tuesday Races: Mitt Romney picked up early victories in the Republicans’ Super Tuesday primary contests, but Rick Santorum won in Tennessee and Oklahoma and Newt Gingrich took his home state of Georgia…. – NYT, 3-6-12Live blog: Romney wins six Super Tuesday states — Santorum wins three states: We’re live-blogging results from Super Tuesday, where voters in 10 states cast ballots in the GOP presidential race… – USA Today, 3-6-12 Breaking News: Romney wins Alaska caucuses, AP reports: Mitt Romney won the Alaska Republican presidential caucuses on Tuesday, his sixth victory on Super Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Ron Paul came in second.
    Earlier, Romney won a narrow victory in Ohio, beating Rick Santorum. Romney also added Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia and Idaho to his column on the 10-contest night…. – WaPo, 3-6-12
  • Romney takes 6 Super Tuesday states, Santorum nets 3: CBS News projects that Mitt Romney will win Ohio’s key primary contest Tuesday, after a neck-and-neck race with rival Rick Santorum to eke out a victory in the pivotal battleground state.
    With 96 percent reporting in Ohio, Romney has 38 percent support to Santorum’s 37 percent. Newt Gingrich is in third place with 15 percent and Ron Paul follows with 9 percent.
    Mitt Romney has also won primaries in Virginia, Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as the Idaho caucuses. Rick Santorum won primaries in Tennessee and Oklahoma, and in the North Dakota caucuses. In Georgia, Gingrich clinched his first primary victory since South Carolina’s January 21 primary contest.
    Ron Paul did not win any contests on Tuesday, but he did finish second in four states: Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota and Virginia.
    The Associated Press reports that Romney also won Alaska’s Super Tuesday caucuses. According to the AP’s tally, Santorum came in a close second, followed by Ron Paul and then Newt Gingrich. The state’s 24 delegates are allocated proportionally…. – CBS News, 3-7-12Mitt Romney wins Ohio primary: Mitt Romney won Super Tuesday’s grand prize, the Ohio presidential primary, beating out Rick Santorum in a hard-fought battle for the Rust Belt state’s 66 delegates.
    The victory was Romney’s fifth of the night, and promised to give him the lion’s share of delegates overall after 10 states went to the polls Tuesday. The win should cement his status as the man to beat in the Republican presidential contest.
    Santorum’s victories of the night were Oklahoma, North Dakota and Tennessee; Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia. Results in the final state that voted on Super Tuesday, Alaska, are due later this morning…. – WaPo, 3-6-12
  • AP, Networks Call Ohio for Romney: Mitt Romney appears to have won the Ohio primary by a razor-thin margin, according to the Associated Press and television networks, barely staving off an embarrassing loss at the hands of his chief rival, Rick Santorum.
    After trailing for much of the night, Mr. Romney moved into the lead in Ohio with a surge of support from the big cities of Cincinnati and Cleveland and their suburbs.
    As night turned to early morning, Mr. Romney extended his lead to more than 12,000 votes, leading the AP to finally call the race at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning…. – NYT, 3-7-12
  • Super Tuesday: Romney starts fast, Santorum hangs tough: Mitt Romney chalked up Super Tuesday wins in Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts, seeking to fasten his grip on the GOP nomination by dominating the single biggest day of balloting in the hard-fought … – LAT, 3-6-12Super Tuesday: Washington Post covers Republican primary results: … tweeters, columnists and bloggers to help readers make sense of Super Tuesday – the biggest single day in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. More than a half dozen reporters have spread out across the key primary and caucus … – WaPo, 3-6-12
  • Ohio primary results: Too close to call: Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are headed toward an extremely close finish in the race for the ultimate Super Tuesday battleground, Ohio, after the two candidates divided up Republican primary votes and traded victories in states across the nation…. – WaPo, 3-6-12Mitt Romney takes Idaho, his fourth win of night: Mitt Romney has won the Idaho caucuses, his fourth victory of the night, AP reports.
    Romney was considered the clear favorite, thanks to the state’s heavy Mormon population as well as to the goodwill he earned across the Rocky Mountain region from his work running the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
    The 32 delegates in the state are likely to be awarded winner-takes-all.
    As of 11:45, the only two states that hadn’t picked a winner were Alaska, which didn’t expect results until early morning, and Ohio, which remained locked in a fierce battle between Romney and Rick Santorum. WaPo, 3-6-12
    Santorum claims third win in North Dakota: Rick Santorum has earned his third victory of the night in the North Dakota caucuses, according to the AP.
    Ron Paul had hoped to post his first win in the Republican presidential race with a strong grass-roots effort in the state, but was trailing Santorum in early returns, with Mitt Romney in third place.
    No winner has been declared in Idaho, Alaska or the battleground state of Ohio, where Santorum and Romney were locked in a battle that was still too close to call…. – WaPo, 3-6-12

    Rick Santorum wins GOP primary in Oklahoma: Rick Santorum has won the Republican primary in Oklahoma, according to exit polls, his second victory of the night after Tennessee.
    Oklahoma is a key win over well-funded rival Mitt Romney, signaling that the GOP race is likely to extend long beyond this Super Tuesday. WaPo, 3-6-12

    Rick Santorum wins GOP primary in Tennessee: Rick Santorum has won the Tennessee Republican primary, according to the AP, his first victory of the night.
    The race in this Super Tuesday’s most important battleground state — Ohio — remains too close to call…. – WaPo, 3-6-12

    Mitt Romney wins Massachusetts GOP primary: Mitt Romney has won the Republican primary in Massachusetts, his third victory of this Super Tuesday in the state where he served as governor.
    Romney’s win in Massachusetts, where he has lived for 40 years, followed earlier victories in Virginia and Vermont.
    The only other candidate to win a state so far is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who won his own home state of Georgia. WaPo, 3-6-12

    Mitt Romney wins GOP primary in Vermont: Mitt Romney has won the Republican primary in Vermont, according to the AP.
    Vermont is the second win of the night for the former Massachusetts governor after he claimed victory in Virginia…. – WaPo, 3-6-12

    Mitt Romney wins GOP primary in Virginia: Mitt Romney has won the Republican primary in Virginia, according to the AP.
    Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul were the only candidates on the ballot…. – WaPo, 3-6-12

    Exit polls: Gingrich wins home state of Georgia: Newt Gingrich has won the Georgia primary, taking his home state and winning his second state in the 2012 presidential campaign, according to exit polls.
    Gingrich’s win ends a losing streak that lasted a month and a half. His last and only win came in South Carolina’s primary on Jan. 21…. – WaPo, 3-6-12

  • Romney Appears the Ohio Winner; Santorum Strong: Mitt Romney appeared to pull off a narrow victory in Ohio on Super Tuesday but lost several other states to Rick Santorum, a split verdict that overshadowed Mr. Romney’s claim of collecting the most delegates and all but ensured another round of … – NYT, 3-7-12
  • Romney takes 5 of 10 Super Tuesday contests: Mitt Romney won five of 10 Super Tuesday contests including crucial Ohio, advancing his claim on the Republican presidential nomination without ending questions about the breadth of his appeal within the party…. – USA Today, 3-7-12
  • Super Tuesday: Romney edges Santorum in key Ohio battle: Mitt Romney has won a narrow victory over Rick Santorum in the marquee Super Tuesday battle of Ohio, according to a projection by the Associated Press. Ohio’s primary proved to be the tightest battle of the 2012 Republican … – LAT, 3-7-12
  • Santorum and Romney Split Victories: Mitt Romney extended his lead in delegates on Super Tuesday but voters failed to deliver a decisive victory that could have brought a swift end to the Republican presidential contest…. – WSJ, 3-6-12
  • Super Tuesday impossibly close for Romney, Santorum: Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have three states as they wait for results from Ohio to come in. With 91 percent of the Ohio votes tallied, Romney only has a 5000 vote lead out of the 1.1 million votes that have been counted…. – CS Monitor, 3-6-12
  • Romney adds to delegate lead with Super Tuesday wins; Gingrich, Santorum slip: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney padded his lead in the race for delegates Tuesday by winning Republican presidential primaries in Virginia, Massachusetts and Vermont. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum added delegates by winning … – WaPo, 3-6-12
  • GOP race takes toll on front-runner Romney: Super Tuesday confirmed anew that Mitt Romney remains the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, but his slow, unsteady march is coming at a steep price. As he advances toward victory in the primaries, he is losing ground in the … – WaPo, 3-6-12
  • Romney gains in GOP race, but Ohio still too close: Mitt Romney won five of 10 Super Tuesday contests including crucial Ohio, advancing his claim on the Republican presidential nomination without ending questions about the breadth of his appeal within the party…. – USA Today, 3-6-12
  • Romney vows to clinch the nomination: Though there was no winner yet in the crucial state of Ohio, Mitt Romney took the stage in Boston on Tuesday night to claim his victories, including his home state of Massachusetts. “There are three states now tonight under our belt and … – LAT, 3-6-12
  • Romney and Santorum Locked in Ohio Battle With Much at Stake: Once again Ohio lived up to its reputation as a state of deeply divided political passions. Just a week ago, Rick Santorum had a comfortable lead in the polls here, but a victory by Mitt Romney in Michigan last week seemed to give … – NYT, 3-6-12
  • Santorum: We’re winning across the nation: With at least two Super Tuesday victories under his belt, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum boasted of his campaign’s wide geographical appeal while taking sharp aim at his main GOP rival Mitt Romney.
    “We have won in the West, the Midwest and the South, and we’re ready to win across this country,” Santorum said from Steubenville, Ohio.
    In Tennessee, with 1,733 of 2,141 precincts reporting, Santorum carried 37 percent of the vote, while Romney had 28 percent and Newt Gingrich took 24 percent.
    And with 1,778 of 1,961 precincts reporting in Oklahoma, Santorum is leading with 34 percent while Romney takes 28 percent and Gingrich 27 percent. Later in the evening, Santorum was declared the winner in the North Dakota caucuses…. – CBS News, 3-6-12
  • Newt Gingrich wins Georgia, but will it help?: A resurgent Newt Gingrich, fresh off a resounding win in his home state, touted “the power of large solutions and big ideas” during a victory speech at his primary night headquarters…. – USA Today, 3-6-12
  • Super Tuesday: Newt Gingrich says he’s a survivor: Newt Gingrich, racking up a Super Tuesday win in the state where he launched his extraordinary political rise, predicted he would win the GOP nomination despite opposition from the nation’s elites because “people power” will trump … – LAT, 3-6-12

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidates slam President Barack Obama on Iran in AIPAC Speeches

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Republican White House hopefuls slam Obama on Iran

Source: AFP, 3-6-12

Republican White House hopefuls told Israel’s supporters Tuesday that they would take tougher steps than US President Barack Obama to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Frontrunner Mitt Romney suggested he would be more willing than Obama to consider using military force while Rick Santorum backed an ultimatum demanding Iran stop nuclear production to avoid action by the US to “tear down” its facilities.

Newt Gingrich, a long-shot for president, told the Washington gathering he would back everything short of war to “undermine and replace” the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…. READ MORE

Prior to the Republican speeches, US Democratic Senator Carl Levin warned AIPAC delegates against those who might use the issue of how to provide security to Israel, the top US ally in the Middle East, for partisan gain.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s Speech / Remarks to AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference 2012 — Transcript

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Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks to AIPAC Policy Conference

Source: Mitt Romney, 3-6-12

romney-2012-blog-photo-mitt-speech-podium.jpg
Thank you for the opportunity to address the AIPAC Policy Conference. And thanks to Teddy and Ed, who have been great friends, supporters, and teachers over the years.
I regret that my Super Tuesday travel schedule prevents me from being with you in person. But while I can’t be with you, I stand with you. I share your commitment to a strong and secure Israel. And I salute your tireless work to strengthen our alliance.
This year, we are gathering at a dangerous time for Israel and for America. Not since the dark days of 1967 and 1973 has the Middle East faced peril as it does today. This is a critical moment. America must not – and, if I am President, it will not – fail this defining test of history.
The current administration has distanced itself from Israel and visibly warmed to the Palestinian cause. It has emboldened the Palestinians. They are convinced that they can do better at the UN – and better with America – than they can at the bargaining table with Israel.
As President, I will treat our allies and friends like friends and allies.
In recent days and weeks, we’ve heard a lot of words from the administration. Its clear message has been to warn Israel to consider the costs of military action against Iran. I do not believe that we should be issuing public warnings that create distance between the United States and Israel. Israel does not need public lectures about how to weigh decisions of war and peace. It needs our support.
Israel’s democratically elected leaders will always be welcomed and respected by my administration. Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend; he’s an old friend. We worked together over 30 years ago at the Boston Consulting Group. He is a leader whose intellect and courage I admire – and whose family’s sacrifice I profoundly respect. In a Romney administration, there will be no gap between our nations or between our leaders.
I have seen Israel by land and by air. I have seen its narrow waist, and its vulnerability to positions on the Golan Heights. I have spent time with families in Sderot who have been terrorized by rocket barrages from Gaza. I have walked the streets of Jerusalem, seen schools pocked by rifle rounds fired from the foreboding hills that nearly surround it. I would never call for a return to the ’67 lines because I understand that in Israel, geography is security.
I have studied the writings and speeches of the jihadists. They argue for a one-state solution—one all-dominating radical Islamist state, that is. Their objective is not freedom, not prosperity, not a Palestinian state, but the destruction of Israel. And negotiating and placating such jihadists will never, ever yield peace in the Middle East.
I recognize in the ayatollahs of Iran the zealot refrain of dominion. Their passion for the martyrdom of Arab youth is matched only by their cowardice in avoiding it for themselves. Nuclear ambition is pursued by Iran to dominate, to subjugate, and to obliterate. A nuclear Iran is not only a problem for Israel; it is also a problem for America and the world.
We may not know when Iran will secure sufficient fissile material to threaten the world, but the IAEA warns that that the hour is fast approaching.
In the Gulf, Iran prepares to close the Strait of Hormuz, to hold hostage 20 percent of the world’s oil. In their nuclear laboratories, they prepare the means to hold hostage the entire planet.
Iran has long engaged in terrorism around the world, most recently in Georgia and in Thailand. In Washington, DC, Iran plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador by bombing a Georgetown restaurant. Iran has deployed Hezbollah and Hamas and armed the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan, killing our sons and daughters. They war against America.
Yet, the current administration has promoted a policy of engagement with Iran. The President offered to sit down with Ahmadinejad during his first year in office without preconditions. He sat silent as Iranian dissidents took to the streets of Tehran, not wanting to disrupt the potential opportunity for dialogue with Iran’s fanatical tyrants. This President not only dawdled in imposing crippling sanctions, he has opposed them.
Hope is not a foreign policy. The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.
Of course, the administration’s naïve outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most. It gave them time. Whatever sanctions they may now belatedly impose, Iran has already gained three invaluable years.
There are some in this administration who argue that Iran’s leaders are “rational,” and that we can do business with them. The President speaks of common interests. Let me be clear: we do not have common interests with a terrorist regime. Their interest is in the destruction of Israel and the domination of the Middle East. It is profoundly irrational to suggest that the ayatollahs think the way we do or share our values. They do not.
I will bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end. I will not delay in imposing further crippling sanctions, and I will not hesitate to fully implement the ones we currently have. I will make sure Iran knows of the very real peril that awaits if it becomes nuclear. I will engage Iran’s neighbors. I will station multiple carriers and warships at Iran’s door. I will stand with the Syrian people who are being mercilessly slaughtered. I know that the fall of Assad would not only be an important victory for liberty, but also a strategic blow to Tehran.
As President, I will be ready to engage in diplomacy. But I will be just as ready to engage our military might. Israel will know that America stands at its side, in all conditions and in all consequence.
Of course, American strength abroad depends upon our strength at home. My economic plans will buttress our capacity to project power. And as President, I will repair and strengthen our military. President Obama wants to shrink our Navy, our Air Force, and our contingent of fighting men and women. I will expand them. A military in retreat invites adventurism by the world’s worst actors, just as we are seeing today. A strong and superior military is the best ally peace has ever known. I do not seek military superiority solely for the purpose of winning wars. I seek it to prevent wars.
As President, peace will be my solemn goal. A peace based not on empty assurances, but on true security and defensible borders. This will require American strength, and a demonstration of our resolve. That’s why, as President, my first foreign trip will not be to Cairo or Riyadh or Ankara. It will be to Jerusalem.
We will make clear to the world that Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state is a vital national interest of the United States.
I believe the right course is what Ronald Reagan called “peace through strength.” There is a reason why the Iranians released the hostages on the same day and at the same hour that Reagan was sworn into office. As President, I will offer that kind of clarity, strength, and resolve.
In a Romney administration, the world will know that the bond between Israel and America is unbreakable – and that our opposition to a nuclear Iran is absolute. We must not allow Iran to have the bomb or the capacity to make a bomb. Our enemies should never doubt our resolve and our allies should never doubt our commitment.
This is a critical time, and AIPAC has a vital voice. Together, let’s achieve peace for the region and ensure a secure future for Israel – and America.
God bless America, and God bless our friendship with Israel.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Newt Gingrich to President Barack Obama in AIPAC Speech: Deliver ‘Red Line’ Ultimatum to Iran

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Gingrich to Obama: Deliver ‘Red Line’ Ultimatum to Iran

Source: WSJ, 3-6-12

Newt Gingrich joined other Republican presidential candidates Tuesday in attacking President Barack Obama’s policy toward Iran, suggesting the president has not delivered a sufficient “red line” ultimatum to Iran’s leaders.

Newt Gingrich, appearing via satellite, speaks before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“The red line is not the morning the bomb goes off, or the morning our intelligence committee tells us they’ve failed once again,” Mr. Gingrich said. “The red line is now. Because the Iranians now are deepening their fortifications …deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons, while we talk.”

In a characteristic flourish, Mr. Gingrich also made the broader case to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby, that the Obama administration, along with the entire State Department and intelligence community, completely miss the scope and nature of Islamic radicalism.

“We need a fundamental reassessment of our entire understanding of the threat of radical Islam,” Mr. Gingrich told the AIPAC convention in Washington. “We need an administration with the courage to use the words ‘radical Islam.’ ”

He added, “We need to be clear that the teaching of hatred, the recruitment of martyrs, the anticipation that children will grow up to be martyrs are not patterns compatible with a peace process.”…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum’s Speech / Remarks to AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference 2012 — Transcript Excerpts

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Rick Santorum delivers remarks at the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference (AFP, Karen Bleier)

Santorum at AIPAC: “If Iran Doesn’t Get Rid of Nuclear Facilities, We’ll Tear Them Down Ourselves”

Source: Rick Santorum, 3-6-12

On this all-important Super Tuesday, Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum stepped away from the campaign trail to personally address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, DC regarding the vital national security threat facing both the United States and Israel.

In his speech, Santorum said:

“This is a somewhat important day in my life today, but I wanted to come off the campaign trail to come here, because one of the reasons that I decided to run for president is because of the grave concern I have about the security of our country.”

“A nuclear Iran with a nuclear shield to project terror around the world is a nightmare for all freedom-loving people in the world.

“If Iran doesn’t get rid of nuclear facilities, we will tear down them ourselves.”

“This is not bellicosity and warmongering, this is preventing the most radical regime in the world from having a weapon that could fundamentally change the security posture” of “all freedom-loving people in the world.”

“Under a Santorum Administration, we would find no gap between Israel and the United States because our interests are united.”

“I’ve seen a president who has been reticent, he says he has Israel’s back. From everything I’ve seen from the conduct of this administration, he has turned his back on the people of Israel.”

Israel Political Brief February 29, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Arizona Primary — Narrowly Beats Rick Santorum in Michigan Primary

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Romney wins in Michigan, Arizona

Source: JTA, 2-29-12

Mitt Romney won Republican primary contests in Arizona and Michigan, maintaining his front-runner status.

In Michigan, the state his father governed and where he was raised, Romney beat back a challenge Tuesday by Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, 41 percent to 38 percent, with nearly all of the vote counted.

But Santorum’s strong challenge forecasts a long and difficult fight for Romney to win the nomination for president. The former Massachusetts governor had to outspend Santorum in a state that just weeks ago he had been expected to win handily.

Romney won handily in Arizona, defeating Santorum by 47 percent to 27 percent….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief February 28, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidates on the issues: GOP hopefuls on Israel, Iran, abortion, Social Security and more

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ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

On the issues: GOP hopefuls on Israel, Iran, abortion, Social Security and more

Source: JTA, 2-28-12

In advance of Super Tuesday, JTA takes a look at the stances of the four Republican presidential candidates on some issues of Jewish interest….Read More »

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 10, 2011: Iowa GOP Debate Transcript — Republican Presidential Candidates Rebuke Newt Gingrich on the Palestinians as an “invented people” Comment & Israel Position

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Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Newt, Palestinians and the GOP debate: Transcript & commentary

Source: JTA, 12-10-11

Newt Gingrich’s description of the Palestinians as an “invented people” grabbed some attention at Saturday night’s GOP debate. While most of the GOP field is usually eager to side with Israel, on this point Gingrich got some pushback — from Ron Paul (no surprise), but also from Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:02:29:00 I wanna change subjects now because– (APPLAUSE) foreign policy was– Speaker Gingrich caused something of a stir overnight in the Middle East with comments he made in interview with the Jewish channel in which he called the Palestinians an invented people. And– I just wondered– G– Congressman Paul, if I can start with you: Do you agree with that characterization, that the Palestinians are an invented people?

CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL:
22:02:52:00 N– no, I don’t agree with that. And that’s just stirrin’ up trouble. And I– I believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy. I don’t think we should get in the middle of these squabbles. But to go out of our way and say that so-and-so is not a real people? Technically and historically, yes– you know, under the Ottoman Empire, the Palestinians didn’t have a state, but neither did Israel have a state then too.

22:03:13:00 But this is how we get involved in so many messes. And I think it just fails on the side of– practicing a little bit of diplomacy, getting ourselves (LAUGH) into trouble mentioning things that are unnecessary. The people in those regions should be dealing with these problems; we shouldn’t be dealing with these things.

22:03:30:00 But– historically, it– it– you know, under the Ottoman Empire, that i– that is– technically– correct. But to make these decisions in deciding what the settlement’s going to be should be the people that are involved. This idea that we can be the policemen of the world and settle all these disputes, I mean, soon we’ll have to quit because we’re flat out broke. But we– we cannot continue to get into these issues like this and– and– and– and getting ourselves into more trouble.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:04:00:00 Speaker Gingrich, as I’ve said, this has caused quite a reaction in– in the Middle East. The chief Palestinian negotiator, Sa– Saeb Erekat, said, “Mark my words: These statements of Gingrich will be the ammunition and weapons of the bin Ladens and the extremists for a long, long time.”

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH:
22:04:13:00 How would he know the difference? Look from historic, George, simply. Is– is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes. Are we in a situation where every day, rockets are fired into Israel while the United States, the current administration, tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process?

22:04:33:00 Hamas does not admit the– the right of Israel to exist, and says publicly, “Not a single Jew will remain.” The Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month, “There is no difference between Fatah and Hamas. We both agree Israel has no right to exist.”

22:04:50:00 Somebody oughta have the courage to tell the truth: These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, “If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?” We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. It’s fundamentally– time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, “Enough lying about the Middle East.”

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:05:09:00 Governor Romney, (APPLAUSE) you just heard the Speaker say he was just telling the truth. Do you take any issue with that characterization of the Palestinians as an invented people?

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:05:22:00 I– I happen to agree with– with most of what the speaker said, except by going down and saying the Palestinians are an invented people. That I think was a mistake on the speaker’s part. I– I think– you– you– I think the speaker would probably suggest that as well. I– I don’t think we want to–

22:05:35:00 (SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: UNINTEL)

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:05:37:00 Maybe not. I– (LAUGHTER) I think we’re very wise to stand with our friends, Israel, and not get out ahead of them. This president decided he was gonna try and negotiate for Israel by sayin’, “Let’s go back to the ’67 borders.” That’s not what Israel wanted to h– hear.

22:05:51:00 They– Israel does not want us to make it more difficult for them to sit down with the Palestinians. Ultimately, the Palestinians and the Israelis are gonna have to agree on how they’re gonna settle the– the differences between them. And the United States–

22:06:02:00 (OVERTALK)

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:06:03:00 –and the– and the United States of America should not jump ahead of Bibi Netanyahu and say something that makes it more difficult for him to– to do his job. My view is this: We stand with the Israeli people. We link arms with them. If we disagree with them, like this president has time and time again, we don’t do it in public like he’s done it, we do it in private.

22:06:21:00 And we let the Israeli leadership describe what they believe the right course is going forward. We don’t negotiate for the Israeli people. We stand with the Israeli people, stand with our friends, and make it very clear: We are gonna t– we’re gonna tell the truth, but we’re not gonna throw incendiary words into a– a place which is– a boiling pot when our friends the Israelis would probably say, “What in the world are you doin’?”

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:06:43:00 So there you have it, Mr. Speaker. He says this is gonna make life more difficult for the Israelis.

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH:
22:06:47:00 The Israelis are getting rocketed every day. The– we’re not making life more difficult. The Obama administration’s making life more difficult. The fact is, the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story. Somebody oughta have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland, point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and “Palestinian” did not become a common term until after 1977. This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage. And we refuse to tell the truth when the other side lies. And you’re not gonna win the long run if you’re afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth.

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:07:25:00 Of course you s– of course you stand firm, and stand for the truth. But you don’t speak for Israel.

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH:
22:07:30:00 I didn’t.

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:07:30:00 If– if– if– if Bibi Netanyahu wants to say what you said, let him say it. But our ally, b– the– the people of Israel, should be able to take their own positions and not have us negotiate for them.

DIANE SAWYER:
22:07:41:00 I want to turn, if I can, to–

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH:
22:07:42:00 But can– can I just say one last thing? Because I didn’t speak for the people of Israel. I spoke as a historian who’s looked at the world stage for a very long time. I’ve known Bibi since 1984. I feel quite confident an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of and the casualties they’re taking and the people who surround them who say, “You do not have the right to exist, and we want to destroy you.”

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:08:04:00 I– I’ve known– I’ve– (APPLAUSE) I’ve also known Bibi Netanyahu for a long time. We worked together at– at Boston Consulting Group. And the last thing Bibi Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who’s an historian, but somebody who is also running for president of the United States, stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in– in his neighborhood.

DIANE SAWYER:
22:08:29:00 Congresswoman–

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:08:29:00 And I’m president of the United States, I will exercise sobriety, care, stability. And make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can affect a place with– with rockets going in, with people dying, I don’t do anything that would harm that– that process.

22:08:47:00 And therefore, before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, “Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do? Let’s work together, because we’re partners.” I’m not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally.

DIANE SAWYER:
22:09:00:00 Under the rules, we need– your response. (APPLAUSE)

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH:
22:09:05:00 I think sometimes it is helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, just as was Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world. I am a Reaganite, I’m proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid.

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY:
22:09:32:00 I think it’s important (APPLAUSE)–

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:09:37:00 Who’s got the better of this argument, Congresswoman Bachmann? Who’s got the better of this argument?

CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN:
22:09:41:00 Who has the better of this argument?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:09:42:00 Yeah. (LAUGHTER)

CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN:
22:09:46:00 In 1974, I went to Israel for the first time and I worked on a kibbutz for the summer. And I saw a brand new nation that had begun in 1948 and was making its way into the modernization that we know today. They’re a first world nation. I was able to return as a member of Congress multiple times, and I also met with Fayad in Ramallah in the very room that Arafat used as his conference room. When I was in there, I– I had asked Fayad about the issue that we were very concerned about, and that’s how the Palestinians teach their children to hate the Jews and call them pigs and swine and descendants from Hades.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:10:24:00 Okay, but do you think–

CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN:
22:10:24:00 And I– and let me finish–

22:10:25:00 (OVERTALK)

CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN:
22:10:26:00 And I have asked him about this very important issues, because how do you find peace when you continue to teach your children hatred? And asked Fayad about this issue, and he said, “Oh, tha– we don’t do that anymore. Our textbooks aren’t filled with that.”

22:10:38:00 And I said, “Oh really?” I pulled out a manila envelope that I’d brought with me, and I pulled out the pages that I’d photocopied out of current books that were being used that clearly showed that. And he said, “Oh, but these are old textbooks.” And he said– I said, “Really? Well, then why don’t you send me the new textbooks that no longer say that and compare them with the old?” And I checked my mailbox today; he still hasn’t me those textbooks. That’s what needs to change.

DIANE SAWYER:
22:11:06:00 Senator Santorum, let me put to you George’s question. Who’s got the better of the argument?

SENATOR RICK SANTORUM:
22:11:11:00 Well, I– I think you have to speak the truth– but you have to do so with prudence. I mean, it’s– it’s a combination. Th– and, you know, I– I– I sat there and I listened to both of ’em; I thought they both had– made excellent points.

22:11:23:00 But we’re in a real-life situation. This isn’t an academic exercise. We’ve got– we have a– we have an ally, and the policy of this country should be to stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally. And– we– we didn’t have an ally in the Soviet Union. The only allies we had were sitting in gulags, and they desperately needed to hear the truth. And Ronald Reagan provided that truth.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:11:44:00 So– so do we–

SENATOR RICK SANTORUM:
22:11:44:00 Here, we have–

22:11:45:00 (OVERTALK)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS:
22:11:45:00 –with prudence, would that be saying (NOISE) Palestinians are invented or not?

SENATOR RICK SANTORUM:
22:11:50:00 If I can finish my s– comment, I’ll get to that, George. (LAUGHTER) That– that we– we have an ally here that we have to work closely with. And I think Mitt’s point was– was the correct one. We need to be working with the Israelis to find out, you know what? Is this a wise thing for us to do, to step forward and to engage this issue? Maybe it is.

22:12:10:00 My guess is, at this point in time, it’s not. Not that we shouldn’t tell the truth, but we should be talking to our allies. It’s their fight. We are to be their ally, we’re to be– supporting them. And I’m– I– I’ve been out here very publicly– that the Israelis have the right to determine what happens in their land. And all of Israel, including the quote– you know, West Bank, is Israeli land. And we need to work with them as to the solution that works best for our ally.

DIANE SAWYER:
22:12:36:00 Governor Perry, close this–

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY:
22:12:37:00 Let me–

DIANE SAWYER:
22:12:37:00 –please.

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY:
22:12:38:00 –just say that I think this is a minor issue– that the media is blowing– way out of proportion. We have a president of the United States who has put the most muddled foreign policy in place that is causing the problems in the Middle East. Whether it goes back to two thousand and– and– nine when we had an opportunity to impact Iran, whether it has been the way that– he stood back in Egypt and did not try to negotiate people who would come in that w– could work with us, and now we have radical Islamists as the head of Egypt, whether it was leading from the rear, if you will, in — in Libya.

22:13:18:00 The idea that this president now, with Iran getting one of our predator drones in their possession, and he had two opportunities– well, he didn’t have two opportunities, he had two choices– actually, he had three. And he chose the worst.

22:13:33:00 And those two opportunities he had was to either retrieve that drone, or to destroy it, and he did the worst of the three and he did absolutely nothing. And the Russians and the Chinese will have our highly technical equipment now. This president is the problem, not something that Newt Gingrich said. (APPLAUSE)

Israel Political Brief December 9, 2011: US GOP Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich says Palestinians are an ‘invented’ people in Jewish Channel Interview

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Gingrich says Palestinians are an ‘invented’ people

The Jewish Channel Exclusive Interview With Newt Gingrich Excerpt: “Invented Palestinian People” — YouTube

Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich said in a cable television interview that Palestininans are an “invented” people with no apparent right to their own state, a rejection of a decade of bipartisan U.S. foreign policy calling for an independent Palestinian state.


House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum December 7, 2011 at Ronald Reagan Building and International Center in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong – GETTY IMAGES)

The interview, which was taped in Washington Wednesday and will be broadcast on The Jewish Channel Monday, was first reported by Politico.

In the interview, Gingrich was asked if he is a Zionist, and he responded:

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people, and they had the chance to go many places.”

“For a variety of political reasons,” Gingrich continued, “we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and I think it’s tragic.”

Gingrich’s comments are sure to inflame Arabs but may also have repercussions among Jews who support the policy, begun by former president George W. Bush and continued by President Obama, of calling for a separate Palestinian state.

“It was definitely a surprise,” said Steven I. Weiss, who conducted the interview with Gingrich for The Jewish Channel. “It’s a comment I’ve heard before because I’ve covered the far right in the Jewish community and the pro-Israel community. But I was surprised to hear a mainstream Republican figure say it, and I’ve tried to research to find other mainstream Republican figures who said it. I’ve yet to find that.”

Gingrich’s remarks may also feed into a longstanding narrative about him that includes the idea that he says provocative things that excite some of his supporters but leave others worried that he is too volatile to muster the rhetorical discipline to survive the rigors of a presidential campaign.

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 7, 2011: GOP Candidates Speeches at Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates Forum — Transcripts

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LIVE BLOG: U.S. presidential candidates speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition

Haaretz’s minute-by-minute updates as Republican presidential hopefuls talk about Israel, American Jews, the economy and the Iranian threat.

Source: Haaretz, 12-7-11

Hundreds of people convened Wednesday on a rainy morning in the Ronald Reagan building at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington. Unlike the presidential debates, this time the candidates took stage one by one, offering to answer the audience’s questions.

There was one candidate missing, though. The organizers have decided not invite Rep. Ron Paul, saying that even though the decision seems “ill advised,” there is no reason “to allow Paul to pretend he is anything but an extremist who is far outside of the mainstream, especially when it comes to issues concerning the U.S.-Israel alliance.”….

C-SPAN full video coverage

Video: Newt Speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Candidate Forum

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Newt discusses his support of Israel and his plan to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s chosen capital of Jerusalem…. Read Full Story

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks to Republican Jewish Coalition

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Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C. The following remarks were prepared for delivery.
I am grateful to the Republican Jewish Coalition for hosting this forum.
Thank you Chairman Flaum and Matt Brooks for your leadership.
And, of course, I join you in honoring the service of Ambassador Sam Fox.  Ambassador Fox has contributed in extraordinary ways to our economy, to our communities, to our nation, and to Israel.
Today, we gather as Republicans, Americans, and friends of Israel.  For us, the last three years have held a lot of change, but haven’t offered much hope.
Our debt is too high and opportunities are too few.  Almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus and trillions more in deficits have left millions of Americans out of work.
The unemployment rate has been over 8% for 34 months.  Over the last four years, the median American income has fallen by 10%, even as the costs of food and fuel and healthcare have risen. Americans are suffering. The poor have a safety net and the rich are doing just fine, but middle-income Americans have never seen things so bad.
Internationally, we have witnessed a weakening of our military and a decline in our standing in the world.
President Obama’s troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan were based upon electoral expediency, not military requirement.
He has bowed to foreign dictators.  And when the opportunity arose to defend freedom, he’s either been late to the game or failed to show up at all.
President Obama rushed to apologize for America, but he has hesitated to speak up for democracy and freedom.
He has visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iraq.  He even offered to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yet in three years, he has not found it in his interest to visit Israel, our ally, our friend, the sole Middle East nation that fully shares our values, the nation in President Truman’s words, that is an “embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”
No, over the past three years, President Obama has instead chastened Israel.  In his inaugural address to the United Nations, the President chastised Israel, but said little about the thousands of Hamas rockets raining into its skies. He’s publicly proposed that Israel adopt indefensible borders. He’s insulted its Prime Minister. And he’s been timid and weak in the face of the existential threat of a nuclear Iran.
These actions have emboldened Palestinian hard-liners who now are poised to form a unity government with terrorist Hamas and feel they can bypass Israel at the bargaining table. President Obama has immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East.
As President, my policies will be very different. I will travel to Israel on my first foreign trip. I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I want the world to know that the bonds between Israel and the United States are unshakable. I want every country in the region that harbors aggressive designs against Israel to understand that their ambition is futile and that pursuing it will cost them dearly.
I would not meet with Ahmadinejad. He should be excluded from diplomatic society. He should be indicted for the crime of incitement to genocide under Article III of the Genocide Convention. Iran’s ayatollahs will not be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons on my watch. A nuclear-armed Iran is not only a threat to Israel, it is a threat to the entire world.  Our friends must never fear that we will not stand by them in an hour of need. Our enemies should never doubt our resolve.
Today, you will hear from several of my fellow Republicans. Like me, each will acknowledge President Obama’s failings toward Israel. Like me, each will assure you of our friendship and commitment to Israel. We are not distinguished from one another by our opposition to President Obama … or even by our support for Israel.  What distinguishes us is our experience, our perspective, and our judgment.
I spent 25 years in business.  I’ve signed the front and the back of a paycheck.  I’ve helped businesses, like the Sports Authority and Staples, to grow from start-ups to international enterprises.  I’ve served as governor of a state and the steward of the Olympics.
My perspective is informed by those experiences and by the defining constants in my life: my 42-year marriage to my wife, Ann; the life we’ve built with our five sons; and the faith that sustains us.  My family, my faith, and our freedom – these are enduring truths in my life. My commitments are firm, and they do not falter.
When I was young, I had the opportunity to live abroad.  I recognized that the greatest advantage my parents had given me was being born in America.  I am passionate about the principles that have made this nation the land of opportunity and a shining city on a hill.
I believe in America. I believe it is the greatest nation in the history of the earth.  I believe that the next century must be an American century. Our highest priority must be to maintain a people, an economy, and a military so strong that no nation would ever risk challenging it.
My faith in America stems both from my faith in the American people, and from the principles that have made our people strong. We are a people from all parts of the world and all walks of life, but we are strengthened by our nation’s unique founding principles. It is not accident or luck that made America the greatest nation in the world – it is the power of our values and beliefs.
We weathered a Great Depression.  We emerged victorious from two world wars.  We faced down an Evil Empire.
Today, as we face new challenges and threats, I have every conviction that the American people, edified by American principles, will rise to the occasion again, securing our safety, our prosperity, and our peace.
One of these principles is a merit-based society.  In a merit-based society, people achieve success and rewards through hard work, education, risk taking, and even a little luck. The founders considered this principle to be one endowed by our Creator, and called it the “pursuit of happiness.” We call it opportunity, or we call it the freedom to choose our course in life.
A merit-based, opportunity society gathers and creates a citizenry that pioneers, that invents, that builds and creates.  And as these people exert the effort and take the risks inherent in invention and creation, they employ and lift the rest of us, creating prosperity for us all. The rewards they earn do not make the rest of us poorer, they make us better off.
American prosperity is fully dependent upon our opportunity society. I don’t think President Obama understands that. I don’t think he understands why our economy is the most successful in the world. I don’t think he understands America.
He seeks to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society.  In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing—the government.
Entitlement societies are praised in academic circles, far removed from the reality of a competitive world. Opportunity is replaced by the certainty that everyone in an entitlement society will enjoy nearly the same rewards. But there is another certainty: they will be poor.
In an entitlement society, the invigorating pursuit of happiness is replaced by the deadening reality that there is no prospect of a better tomorrow. Risk-taking disappears, innovation withers, and small business is replaced by large, government enterprises.  And the result is a nation that stagnates, that declines, that cannot defend itself.
I am convinced that this is where President Obama’s “fundamental change” is leading America. And it informs aspects of his foreign policy. Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. Appeasement betrays a lack of faith in America, in American strength, and in America’s future.
Like others among the Washington elite, he believes that America’s role as the leader of the world is a thing of the past; that this will be a post-American century, perhaps an Asian century. American strength, he imagines, will eventually or possibly be eclipsed. And so, President Obama seeks to appease those he believes will balance us or challenge our leadership.
This appeasement by this Administration has taken many forms.  It includes offers to engage with the world’s most despicable dictators. It consists of concessions to Russia to remove our missile defense sites from Poland and to exclude tactical nuclear weapons from the new, remarkably one-sided, New START treaty. President Obama even looks the other way as China employs unfair trade tactics that endanger our economy and kill jobs.
This President appears more generous to our enemies than he is to our friends. Such is the natural tendency of someone who is unsure of America’s strength – or of America’s rightful place in the world. The course of appeasement and accommodation has long been the path chosen by the weak and the timid. And history shows it is a path that nation’s choose at their own peril.
The President promised that he would fundamentally change America. He is doing just that. At home, he is changing us from an opportunity nation to an entitlement nation. He is building a government so large that feeding it consumes a greater and greater share of the people’s production. And it is a government so intrusive that it can command free people and free enterprises according to its bureaucratic will.
Abroad, he is weakening America, shrinking our military, shrinking our commitments to our friends, accommodating our foes, and appeasing the competing forces that are vying for global leadership.
This election is not only a referendum on President Obama’s failures on employment, on income growth, on housing, on recovery, or on a nuclear-intent Iran, on an emboldened China and on friends like Israel being put at greater risk. This election will decide what kind of America we will be. It is defining.
Will we remain an opportunity nation or become an entitlement nation? Will we remain the leader of the free world, or become a follower in a more dangerous world?  Will America be transformed by Barack Obama, or will America be restored with the founding principles that have made this the greatest nation history has ever known?
Many think that because of his staggering failures, President Obama will be easily defeated. But an incumbent is rarely turned out of the White House, and his resort to class warfare and demagoguery are powerful political weapons.
In less than a year, Americans will be asked to make a choice about the kind of country they want to live in and the kind of future they will bequeath to their children.
It will be a choice between entitlement and merit, between appeasement and resolve.
Our party must offer a candidate who can make the case for freedom, opportunity and strength.  Our nominee must offer Americans more than just a chance to vote against President Obama; our nominee must give Americans an opportunity to vote for a different path and a better future.  A path dictated not by government, but determined by a free people.  A path marked by the virtues of merit, not by the slow decline of entitlement.  A path that achieves prosperity through opportunity, and peace through strength.
This is what Americans deserve.  This is what the moment demands.  And this is what I will deliver, with your help.
Join me. Join me, and I will lead our Party and our Nation through these difficult times to a brighter future.
America has been a shining city on a hill. That light is dimming. But together, we will reignite the spirit of American greatness.
We have wandered and drifted. I will lead us to a better place.  Join me, and together we will reclaim and rebuild the America we love.
I believe in America. Our fight starts today. Join me.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.

Rick Santorum: National security could trump economy in 2012 election

Source: LAT, 12-7-11Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum Dec. 7, 2011 at Ronald Reagan Building and International Center in Washington. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said there’s good reason why he’s talking a lot more about foreign policy than other Republican candidates.

“Because I believe that there’s a very good chance that by next election day, the national security issues in this country will be of higher priority in the eyes of the American people than the economy,” he said Wednesday morning in Washington.

Santorum was the first of six Republican presidential candidates — and one potential vice presidential nominee — to speak at a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Invoking the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the former Pennsylvania senator slammed President Obama for a policy of “appeasement” with regard to Iran that has allowed that nation to become a much bigger threat.

“I know people in this country are tired of war. But our Pearl Harbor already happened,” he said.

Iran has grown stronger because of Obama’s indifference, he argued. The so-called Arab spring should have begun in Iran in 2009, but Obama failed to support democratic uprisings there. And yet he threw an ally of the United States and Israel — Egypt — “under the bus” in the face of demonstrations that included the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The president, for every thug and hooligan, for every radical Islamist, has had nothing but appeasement,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, learn from history.”

Jon Huntsman, who spoke next, was a marked contrast in tone, focusing his remarks on the economy, and a larger sense in the nation that there is no longer trust in its leaders.

“We are in a deep funk as a people,” he said. “And we are crazy in this country if we don’t find the kind of leadership that we so desperately need.”

Jon Huntsman: My foreign policy is focused on economy

Source: CBS News, 12-7-11

Unlike other GOP presidential candidates who moved to paint themselves as the greatest potential allies to Israel at a gathering of Republican Jewish voters in Washington on Wednesday, Jon Huntsman focused his remarks almost exclusively on the economy.

The former Utah governor said he wanted a foreign policy determined “first and foremost by economics,” and went on to deliver his standard call to reduce the national debt and bring down joblessness. He got mostly tepid applause from the audience at the forum, where all six candidates are scheduled to speak today.

Huntsman did finally get to the topic of Israel during the last few minutes of his speech.

“What matters to me is our commitment to Israel, that there be no blue sky between us,” Huntsman said. “There is some sense today that we are not together. Those days under my administration will be gone.”

Prodded to elaborate on his Middle East policy in the question and answer session with the audience, Huntsman said that he will not stand for a nuclear Iran and that in containing the Iranian threat, “all options are on the table.”

TRANSCRIPT: Michele Bachmann Delivers Remarks At Republican Jewish Coalition Forum

Source: Yeshiva World, 12-7-11

“I’m honored to be here today in the company of so many friends. Thank you Dan for that kind introduction. Like this organization, I have been a long-time advocate for the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. My love for Israel and its people deepened while I worked on a kibbutz just after graduating from high school.

“Today, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that fateful day a 19-year-old Minnesotan on board a submarine patrol in the waters outside of Pearl Harbor reported sighting a Japanese submarine, but the warning sign of the bigger calamity to come was all but ignored. The same is true today with Iran and other dangerous actors in the world. We are ignoring the warning signs, and I worry what other ‘Pearl Harbors’ might be in our future.

“It seems as if lately, our president has forgotten the importance of Israel to America and thinks of our relationship only in terms of what we do for Israel. The president is more concerned about Israel building homes on its own land than the threats that Israel and America face in the region.

“The president was right to promise to veto the Palestinians‘ bid for statehood in the U.N. Security Council. But in large part it is the president’s weakness in the Middle East that has emboldened the Palestinians to attempt to achieve statehood through the U.N. rather than at the legitimate negotiation table with Israel. Our policy has confused engagement with appeasement and has inspired Israel’s enemies.

“The Palestinians must recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence against Israel in order to become a serious partner in peace with Israel.

“My administration’s policy will be that, the Palestinian Authority’s compliance with its prior agreements is the first step that must be taken to assure peace in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority must meet its existing written obligations to collect illegal weapons; pursue terrorists; cooperate with Israeli security forces; change the Fatah Constitution which still calls for the complete eradication of the State of Israel; and to stop inciting terrorism.

“I stand with Israel. And aid to Israel now more than ever, is a necessity–they are our most trusted ally and the only real democracy in the Middle East. But if we are to continue to provide assistance to Israel, we must get our own fiscal house in order.

“A vocal minority, called Occupy Wall Street, otherwise known as the Obama re-election team, believes that the economic problems we face are capitalism or free markets. They’re not. The problem is government doing what both the constitution and decent morality prohibit, that is cronyism capitalism, or forcefully taking your money for the purpose of paying off a politician’s political friends. The problem is one set of standards for individual Americans and another set of standards for those who make political donations to candidates.

“The problem is an individual tax code with 3.8 million words that’s too complicated for the average American to understand and a corporate tax code that makes America hopelessly uncompetitive at almost 40 percent when you add the federal and state taxes. And a tax code that contains loopholes that are exploited by companies large enough to hire an army of lawyers. As Investor’s Business Daily wrote, in 1981 the entire developed world had high corporate tax rates, averaging 47 percent. Then capital became mobile and rates plummeted to 25 percent and haven’t stopped falling. The United States remains stuck since 1986 in an out of date high corporate tax rate that sent companies fleeing America for a more competitive tax climate. Just ask any number of companies why they left America and they’ll tell you that between the high tax and unreasonable regulatory burden in America, other nations are now a more profitable place to do business. For your sake and your future, America, and Occupy Wall Street in particular, needs to wake up and stop blaming job creators for the failures created by selfish politicians who wink at their political donors.

“Politicians assure their friends that with government’s financial backing, their businesses will never fail.

“It happens every day, and it has to stop. After all, we’re not a Banana Republic; we’re the United States of America and we need to act like it.

“We need a system that forces large, well connected corporations to play by the same rules as small businesses and individual Americans and that protects and provides fair competition in free markets.

“You see, there’s a reason our Founding Fathers decided to establish our political capital in a different city than our financial capital. It’s time for us to reaffirm the wisdom of that decision by getting Washington D.C. out of free markets. I’m running for president because I understand the difference between free markets and Bernie Madoff style government.

“My administration will stop the Obama administration’s dangerous policies and delegitimization of Israel. Obama has delegitimized Israel by wrongly describing Israel as a 60-years long occupation, which displaced and caused Palestinian suffering, and by wrongly blaming Israel and settlements for the lack of peace in the Middle East.

“Obama abandoned prior U.S. policy and U.N. Resolution 242’s insistence that Israel is entitled to defensible borders. The Obama administration also abrogated former President Bush’s commitments in Bush’s 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon. Bush’s letter and subsequent Congressional resolutions committed the U.S. to the policy that Israel will retain large West Bank settlement blocks, that there will be no right of return to Israel for ‘Palestinian’ refugees, and that the Palestinian Authority’s compliance with its obligations, including the Palestinian Authority’s obligation to stop inciting terror, is the first step that must be taken towards Middle East peace.

“Instead, Obama improperly calls for Israel to retreat to indefensible 1949 armistice lines with swaps, and to then still face further demands to divide Jerusalem and allow a Palestinian ‘right of return’ to overrun the entire State of Israel. The Obama administration has also unconditionally given the Palestinians unprecedented amounts of U.S. foreign aid, and opposed Congressional efforts to condition aid on the real steps that would bring about peace.

“The so-called Palestinian ‘right of return,’ would demographically destroy Israel by swamping it with millions of Arabs who never lived in Israel, thereby turning the world’s only Jewish state into the world’s 23rd Arab state.

“Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently once again publicly displayed this administrations disdain for Israel putting Israel on the same footing as the Palestinians and declaring that they ‘get to the damn table’ to resume peace talks. And the president derisively said Israel’s Prime Minister was someone ‘he had to deal with everyday.’ But the president’s ambassador to Belgium went even further and justified anti-Semitism because of Israel’s actions toward the Palestinians, and the president should fire him for those irresponsible remarks.

“Instead of defaming Israel, as the Obama administration has done, my administration will recognize that, in the words of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Israel is a country that ‘is based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets,’ and which has ‘safeguard[ed] the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions.’

“And like Israel’s Declaration of Independence, my administration will similarly call upon Israel’s neighbors to cooperate with the Jewish nation and return to the ways of peace for the common good of all.

“While the president demands Israel give back land necessary to protect their existence, he has taken his eye off of the most serious threat to Middle East security, a nuclear Iran. Some 80 years ago the world saw evil rising. A mad man spoke, but the world did not listen and the world sank into an enormous conflict and millions of Jews lost their lives.

“Today a mad man again speaks and once again it seems as if the world isn’t really listening though Iran’s president has made his intentions for Israel clear. He intends to wipe Israel from the face of the earth once he obtains nuclear weapons, and he will seek to use them against the United States shortly after achieving his first goal.

“Consider the Iranian constitution, which states that Iran’s Army and Revolutionary Guard ‘will be responsible…for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world.’

“And Iran has made good on that promise over the last 30 years from the bombing of the United States Marine base in Beirut to being the leading supplier of arms to kill Americans in Iraq. Iran is at the heart of much of Israel’s problems.

“Two principles must guide U.S. policy toward Iran. First, we must never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. And second, we must realize that this is as much a threat to U.S. national security as it is to Israel’s and should not outsource U.S. national security to the United Nations. This is the moment for clarity in standing with Israel and against Iran.

“We can’t afford to wait until the election to change course, the president must make it the policy of the United States now to support the dissidents of the current regime in Iran to bring down the terrorist leaders and replace it with a democratic government at peace with the U.S., Israel and the free world.

“The U.S. must be clear that it is the policy of the United States to stop Iran from building and deploying nuclear weapons. In leading from behind the president has been ambiguous with Iran and has given them the luxury of time to advance their nuclear weapons program without real punishment as we learned from the IAEA report last week.

“The U.S. should develop and deploy comprehensive ballistic missile systems on land, at sea, in the air, and in space to protect the American people and our allies from the threat of ballistic missiles. Iran, with the help of the Chinese has obtained missile delivery systems for nuclear weapons that pose a threat to Israel, to the region and potentially the United States.

“While the United States does not buy oil from Iran, Iran is a major player in the oil market and affects its price, which directly affects the United States. We need to legalize American energy production to free us from Iran’s influence through oil.

“The U.S. must immediately end appeasement and weakness towards Iran and pursue decisive, common sense strategies ignored or rejected by the current administration.

“We need Secretaries of State and Defense who fully support a pro-freedom and security policy towards Iran, and we need them to replace those in the bureaucracy — especially at State — who will not fully support this policy.

“We need crushing economic sanctions on Iran, including on the central bank and the oil and gas industries. We must hurt the Iranian economy more severely by doing damage to their oil revenues and their central bank.

“The president stands with Occupy Wall Street, but he doesn’t stand with Israel. When Israel looks at President Obama, they don’t see a friend. The State Department should regularly expose the atrocious activities of the Iranian regime that are arresting, imprisoning, torturing and murdering innocent Iranian citizens.

“We must accelerate covert operations and cyber operations in Iran and order the CIA Director to take all means necessary to stop Iran from getting the Bomb before it is too late. The Pentagon should prepare a war plan, as a last resort, should all else fail in preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

“But the president’s lack of leadership and the failure of the Supercommittee this week will lead to, in Defense Secretary Panetta’s words, ‘devastating cuts that will seriously damage readiness’ making a military response more difficult. President Obama has seriously damaged the security of Israel by decreasing our status as a military superpower.

“Part of that plan should be to direct the Navy to make preparations for a possible blockade of Iran’s ports from all oil and gas imports and exports to cut off critical petroleum revenues from going to the regime in Tehran.

“We should continue comprehensive missile defense development while moving additional Aegis and Patriot missile defense systems into the Middle East to protect U.S. citizens and assets, Israel and our allies. We must sell Israel the additional fighter jets, bunker buster bombs, refueling tankers and other materials they need to defend themselves.

“A Bachmann administration will recognize that Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, a vibrant democracy and America’s staunch ally. My administration will fully recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, and will be the first administration to finally implement the laws passed by Congress requiring the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. My administration will also recognize Israel’s 1980 annexation of the Golan Heights and any settlements, which Israel, as a sovereign state, chooses to annex. Simply put, my administration will accord Israel the respect to which sovereign, democratic nations are entitled.

“On the day of my inauguration as president I will announce that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “I do not take lightly the prospect of committing U.S. troops in an effort to stop Iran. Only a fool wishes for war. But we must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to stop the Iranians from obtaining a nuclear weapon and massively destabilizing the region by attacking our ally Israel, and supplying those weapons to even more radical regimes or individuals that would use them to do harm to America and its way of life. I recognize that the security of America is intertwined with the security of Israel.

“Hitler once famously said in justification of his order to murder millions of Jews, ‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’ Ahmadinejad is counting on the same collective memory today as he marches toward a second holocaust.

“We must send him the message that – we will never forget!

“God bless you and God bless Israel and God bless the United States of America.”

Israel Political Brief December 7, 2011: GOP Candidates Speak out in Support of Israel at Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates Forum

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

From left: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum address the Republican Jewish Coalition. | AP Photos
Speaking to the RJC, the candidates all promised to strengthen the alliance with Israel. | AP Photos

IN FOCUS: REPUBLICAN JEWISH COALITION 2012 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FORUM

Live Twitting from the RJC Forum @ #RJC2012

“You’ll see some very strong, clear, unequivocal contrast between the vision of Republicans running and the current president as it relates to Israel, a turbulent Middle East and pushing back on the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons.” — Matthew Brooks, RJC’s Executive Director

“This one-sided continuing pressure that says it’s always Israel’s fault no matter how bad the other side is has to stop.” — Newt Gingrich

“We will send the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I will ask [former Bush 43 administration U.N. ambassador] John Bolton to be secretary of State!” — Newt Gingrich

“I will travel to Israel on my first foreign trip. I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I want the world to know that the bonds between Israel and the United States are unshakable.” — Mitt Romney

“Three years in office and [President Obama] hasn’t found time to visit Israel, our friend, our ally, the nation in the region that shares our values… throwing Israel under the bus…. Over the last three years, Obama has instead chastened Israel” — Mitt Romney

“I already have secured a donor who said they will personally pay for the ambassador’s home to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Like you, my commitment is unequivocal and unchanging. We stand with Israel. Millions of Jews lost their lives. Today, a madman is speaking and once again it seems as if the world isn’t really listening.” — Michele Bachmann

“This torrent of hostility toward Israel, it doesn’t seem to be coordinated. It seems to be a natural expression of this administration’s attitude toward Israel.” — Rick Perry

“If you can’t live with a nuclear Iran, and I can’t, then you have to say all options are on the table.” — Jon Huntsman

Republican candidates rattle sabers against Iran: Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday rattled sabers against Iran and accused President Barack Obama of being soft in his support for Israel as they vied for the backing of Jewish Republicans.
One by one, the major contenders for the Republican nomination to face the Democratic president in 2012 told the Republican Jewish Coalition conference they would strengthen ties with Israel and not let Iran develop a nuclear weapon.
Candidates took time out from criss-crossing Iowa, New Hampshire and other early voting states to seek Jewish support, hoping to make inroads into a traditionally Democratic voting bloc.
A theme throughout the speeches was the Republican desire to strengthen the U.S. commitment to Israel and ensure it remains a democratic bulwark in an unstable region threatened by the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon…. – Reuters, 12-7-11

  • G.O.P. Candidates, at Jewish Coalition, Pledge to Be Israel’s Best Friends: The leading Republican candidates drew enthusiastic applause from Republican Jewish leaders here on Wednesday after accusing President Obama of falling short in his support of Israel while coddling its adversaries. But it remained to be seen how far those arguments will carry them, especially given the candidates’ rightward tilt on other issues that have traditionally been important to American Jews.
    The speeches to the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum suggested that the candidates would differ substantially from previous Democratic and Republican administrations on critical elements of the Middle East peace process. Some indicated they would put less pressure on Israel on issues like the contours of an independent Palestinian state…. – NYT, 12-8-11
  • Gingrich: ‘We need a dramatically rethought strategy for the Middle East’: Newt Gingrich offered up a sweeping critique of American policy toward the Islamic world during his appearance at today’s Republican Jewish Coalition presidential candidates’ forum.
    “We need a dramatically rethought strategy for the Middle East,” the former House speaker and current Republican frontrunner told the gathering on Wednesday afternoon.
    In comments that he acknowledged at the outset were not politically correct, Gingrich expressed concern about America’s stance toward “radical Islam,” saying it was currently based on lies and appeasement.
    He reiterated his criticism of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent speech at the Saban Forum about Israel, calling it “outrageous.”
    “This one-sided continuing pressure that says it’s always Israel’s fault no matter how bad the other side is has to stop,” Gingrich said.
    He also reiterated his vow to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to great applause.
    Gingrich connected his criticisms of President Obama’s policies toward Israel to his broader criticisms of the president’s approach toward the Islamic world….. – Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich, the RJC crowd-pleaser: Per Summers, Gingrich said he would make John Bolton, a former potential candidate, his secretary of state.
    As for the current one, he said, to great effect, “The fact that Secretary [Hillary] Clinton could talk about discrimination against women in Israel and then meet with Saudis?”
    He also said he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a huge applause line (despite how difficult it actually would be to do, as all candidates who pledge it and then take office learn)…. – Politico, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich Sees Growing Radical Islamist Threat: Newt Gingrich on Wednesday equated the United States’ understanding of what will be a “long struggle with radical Islam” to where the country stood with the Soviet Union just after World War II, on the eve of a cold war that would dominate American foreign policy for more than four decades.
    The country is “about where we were in 1946, when we were trying to understand the Soviet Union,” Mr. Gingrich said. “We had not yet had George Kennan’s long telegram explaining the source of Soviet power.”
    The stark comments by Mr. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who is now leading polls of the Republican field, came during a well-received speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington…. – NYT, 12-7-11
  • The Politics of Israel: Campaign 2012: Presidential hopeful and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney speaks to the Jewish Republican Coalition’s 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington.
    In American presidential politics wrapping yourself in the Israeli flag is a no-brainer. Stalwart support for Israel is important for many American-Jewish voters, an important source of campaign donations, and a potential swing vote in key battleground states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Fealty to Israel plays well with evangelical Christians who back the Jewish state largely out of theology, and who can make the difference in early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina. Strong backing of Israel is viewed as a litmus test for powerful lobby groups in Washington, D.C.
    Especially for a field of Republican presidential candidates who are almost uniformly attacking Barack Obama’s foreign policy from the neoconservative right, the temptation has proven irresistible to use the president’s failed attempts at peacemaking in the Middle East, and frosty relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a cudgel…. – National Journal, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich and Bachmann Would Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich said on Wednesday that as president he would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a proposal designed to appeal to American Jewish voters. It also escalated the jockeying among the GOP candidates to be viewed as the most pro-Israel choice.
    Rival candidate Michele Bachmann, a House member from Minnesota, said on Wednesday that she too would insist on moving the embassy. Bachmann and Gingrich were among six GOP candidates who spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidates’ forum in Washington.
    Jerusalem is the declared capital of Israel, but that fact is not internationally recognized because of the long-standing territorial disputes with the Palestinians…. – National Journal, 12-7-11
  • Newt Gingrich Rips Panetta’s Israel Policy Speech: And today, the major candidates—except for Ron Paul, who believes the United States should cut aid to Israel and let it handle its own affairs—are expressing their take at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates Forum … – U.S. News & World Report, 12-7-11
  • US politics live blog: GOP candidates at Republican Jewish CoalitionThe Guardian UK, 12-7-11
  • GOP 2012 presidential rivals target Obama’s Israel record at Jewish forumChicago Sun-Times, 12-7-11
  • GOP hopefuls scold Obama on ‘timid’ Israel supportBoston Globe, 12-7-11
  • Romney says Obama has ‘chastened’ Israel; he would visit nation in first trip as PresidentWaPo, 12-7-11
  • Romney Gets Enthusiastic Reception at Republican Jewish ForumWSJ, 12-7-11
  • Romney: My first visit as US President would be to the Jewish state of Israel: “I want the world to know that the bonds between the US and Israel are unshakable,” he said. “I wouldn’t meet with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. … – Ha’aretz, 12-7-11
  • Romney: Why I’d be better for Israel than Obama: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reaffirmed his commitment to Israel as America’s partner in the Middle East while accusing President Barack Obama of hindering peace in the region, during his speech Wednesday before the Republican Jewish Coalition.
    The former Massachusetts governor took the president to task for criticizing Israel, not saying enough about the thousands of Hamas rockets fired into the country and his support for Israel to adopt “indefensible borders.”… – CNN, 12-7-11
  • Republicans Decry Obama Israel Policy in Bid for Jewish Vote: Romney was one of six Republican presidential candidates scheduled to address the Republican Jewish Coalition at the day- long forum hosted by the group…. – BusinessWeek, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich says he’d name John Bolton as secretary of state: Newt Gingrich received a standing ovation from the audience at a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting on Wednesday for promising to appoint John Bolton to be secretary of state if elected president. … – MSNBC, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich vows to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: Newt Gingrich worked to one-up Mitt Romney and the other Republican presidential hopefuls in his approach to relations with Israel, pledging to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. … – The Hill, 12-7-11
  • Republicans talk tough on Iran, vie for Jewish vote: Republican unity and a wall-to-wall turnout packed the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2012 Presidential candidates forum as would-be commanders-in-chief offered up tough talk Tuesday on Iran and against US President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. … – Jerusalem Post, 12-7-11
  • Republican Candidates Aim at Obama Foreign Policy: The Republicans are expected to press this case on Wednesday at a Republican Jewish Coalition forum in Washington, just as they have stepped up attacks in recent days, demanding that Howard Gutman, the ambassador to Belgium, be recalled after he said … – NYT, 12-6-11
  • Gingrich says Obama should ‘renounce anti-Israel remarks’ from admin officials: “I’m confident this will be the most comprehensive effort in presidential campaign history.” Republican presidential candidates will meet Wednesday in Washington at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Candidate Forum…. – The Hill, 12-6-11
  • The Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum: In addition to the traditional debates, Mike Huckabee and Jim Demint have already held presidential forums. Donald Trump is hosting a debate. Yet one event that demands attention is the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) 2012 Candidates Forum…. – Washington Times, 12-6-11
  • Gingrich: ‘We need a dramatically rethought strategy for the Middle East’: Newt Gingrich offered up a sweeping critique of American policy toward the Islamic world during his appearance at today’s Republican Jewish Coalition presidential candidates’ forum.
    “We need a dramatically rethought strategy for the Middle East,” the former House speaker and current Republican frontrunner told the gathering on Wednesday afternoon.
    In comments that he acknowledged at the outset were not politically correct, Gingrich expressed concern about America’s stance toward “radical Islam,” saying it was currently based on lies and appeasement.
    He reiterated his criticism of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent speech at the Saban Forum about Israel, calling it “outrageous.”
    “This one-sided continuing pressure that says it’s always Israel’s fault no matter how bad the other side is has to stop,” Gingrich said.
    He also reiterated his vow to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to great applause.
    Gingrich connected his criticisms of President Obama’s policies toward Israel to his broader criticisms of the president’s approach toward the Islamic world….. – Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich, the RJC crowd-pleaser: Per Summers, Gingrich said he would make John Bolton, a former potential candidate, his secretary of state.
    As for the current one, he said, to great effect, “The fact that Secretary [Hillary] Clinton could talk about discrimination against women in Israel and then meet with Saudis?”
    He also said he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a huge applause line (despite how difficult it actually would be to do, as all candidates who pledge it and then take office learn)…. – Politico, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich Sees Growing Radical Islamist Threat: Newt Gingrich on Wednesday equated the United States’ understanding of what will be a “long struggle with radical Islam” to where the country stood with the Soviet Union just after World War II, on the eve of a cold war that would dominate American foreign policy for more than four decades.
    The country is “about where we were in 1946, when we were trying to understand the Soviet Union,” Mr. Gingrich said. “We had not yet had George Kennan’s long telegram explaining the source of Soviet power.”
    The stark comments by Mr. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who is now leading polls of the Republican field, came during a well-received speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington…. – NYT, 12-7-11
  • The Politics of Israel: Campaign 2012: Presidential hopeful and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney speaks to the Jewish Republican Coalition’s 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington.
    In American presidential politics wrapping yourself in the Israeli flag is a no-brainer. Stalwart support for Israel is important for many American-Jewish voters, an important source of campaign donations, and a potential swing vote in key battleground states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Fealty to Israel plays well with evangelical Christians who back the Jewish state largely out of theology, and who can make the difference in early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina. Strong backing of Israel is viewed as a litmus test for powerful lobby groups in Washington, D.C.
    Especially for a field of Republican presidential candidates who are almost uniformly attacking Barack Obama’s foreign policy from the neoconservative right, the temptation has proven irresistible to use the president’s failed attempts at peacemaking in the Middle East, and frosty relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a cudgel…. – National Journal, 12-7-11
  • Gingrich and Bachmann Would Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich said on Wednesday that as president he would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a proposal designed to appeal to American Jewish voters. It also escalated the jockeying among the GOP candidates to be viewed as the most pro-Israel choice.
    Rival candidate Michele Bachmann, a House member from Minnesota, said on Wednesday that she too would insist on moving the embassy. Bachmann and Gingrich were among six GOP candidates who spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidates’ forum in Washington.
    Jerusalem is the declared capital of Israel, but that fact is not internationally recognized because of the long-standing territorial disputes with the Palestinians…. – National Journal, 12-7-11
  • Newt Gingrich Rips Panetta’s Israel Policy Speech: And today, the major candidates—except for Ron Paul, who believes the United States should cut aid to Israel and let it handle its own affairs—are expressing their take at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates Forum … – U.S. News & World Report, 12-7-11
  • US politics live blog: GOP candidates at Republican Jewish CoalitionThe Guardian UK, 12-7-11
  • GOP 2012 presidential rivals target Obama’s Israel record at Jewish forumChicago Sun-Times, 12-7-11
  • GOP hopefuls scold Obama on ‘timid’ Israel supportBoston Globe, 12-7-11
  • Romney says Obama has ‘chastened’ Israel; he would visit nation in first trip as PresidentWaPo, 12-7-11
  • Romney Gets Enthusiastic Reception at Republican Jewish ForumWSJ, 12-7-11
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Israel Political Brief December 6, 2011: Remarks on Israel by three U.S. officials Clinton, Panetta & Gutman spark furor among Jewish community

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Remarks on Israel by three U.S. officials spark furor

Source: JTA, 12-6-11

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke at the 2011 Saban Forum in Washington on Dec. 2, 2011. (Brookings Institution)
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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke at the 2011 Saban Forum in Washington on Dec. 2, 2011. (Brookings Institution)

The Obama administration is reaping a whirlwind of criticism in the wake of pointed remarks about Israel by several U.S. officials over three days.

The U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, caused an uproar when he suggested on Dec. 1 that hostility among European Arabs and Muslims toward Jews was rooted in anger over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and should be distinguished from traditional forms of anti-Semitism. Jewish groups condemned his remarks, which drew calls for his dismissal from Republican presidential front-runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

The following day, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stirred controversy when he told an audience at the Saban Forum, an annual Washington conclave for American and Israeli policymakers, that Israel needs to “get to the damn table” to negotiate with the Palestinians and “mend fences” with its neighbors. The Anti-Defamation League expressed “surprise and dismay” at a speech that it said “disproportionately put the onus on Israel to overcome its isolation.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made waves a day later at the Saban Forum when she reportedly expressed some concerns about the state of Israeli democracy.

The confluence of controversies has added up to a headache for the Obama administration’s Jewish supporters and given fodder to its critics.

“This is the worst weekend we’ve had in a while,” said a Jewish Democratic activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, referring to the outcry over the remarks.

Each set of remarks share a common theme, said the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman.

They’re “putting all of the onus on Israel, and that’s with Panetta, with Hillary and with the ambassador,” he said. “It’s something that we’ve had a problem with this administration.”…READ MORE

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