Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romney's Disconcerting Speech In Israel

After a rough visit to England, when he said that some aspects of its preparations for the Olympics were "disconcerting," Mitt Romney went to Israel and rallied in the special relationship department. Standing with the Old City behind him, dappled with the light of a Jerusalem sunset, Romney said:

I believe that the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world. America’s support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchstones. No country or organization or individual should ever doubt this basic truth: A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel.

All true. And this:

Hopefully, this new government understands that one true measure of democracy is how those elected by the majority respect the rights of those in the minority.
No, that wasn't Romney calling on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians. He was calling on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president to protect his political opponents. Romney didn't actually mention the Palestinians -- not a boilerplate line saying that his administration would support a peace agreement that guaranteed Israel's security or even a passing reference to the two-state solution, which has been explicitly endorsed by Presidents George W. Bush and Obama and was tacit U.S. policy for many years before that.

On the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, I see no problem with a paean to U.S.-Israel ties. But Fox News and Romney's other supporters called this a major foreign policy address. Let's hope they're wrong, since ignoring the peace process and an entire people living under military occupation would be dangerously radical and destabilizing in a substantive speech. Let's just call it a play for Jewish votes and go back to watching the exquisitely-run London Olympics.

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