Governor Romney, the presumptive GOP Presidential candidate, had a good day on Tish B’Av in Jerusalem. His interaction with Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu reflected the long standing personal friendship between them established in the days when they were both at the Boston Consulting Group. It also helped to have Dan Senor, author of the Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracleas a political advisor to make the connection of Israel’s economic prowess in high tech with the Governor’s private equity experience at Bain Capital.
In a speech at the Jerusalem Foundation with the Citadel of Jerusalem as backdrop, Romney used the opportunity to contrast his views on Israel with those of President Obama. He referred to Israel, the Jewish State, as an ally of America virtually surrounded by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists seeking its destruction. He emphasized the shared national security concerns of both the US and Israel, a reference to the threat. of a nuclear Iran. The Obama Administration has all but distanced itself from Israel concentrating instead on patching together a coalition of Islamists composed of Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to supply arms and funds to support Sunni Arab supremacists in Syria as the post-Assad alternative There appears to be little interest from the Obama Administration in protecting the mosaic of minorities in Syria, Alawi, Kurds, Druze and Christians, in a federation composed of self governing autonomous regions. Nor, it appears, has any plan been fashioned with Israel to assure possible destruction of vast caches of Syria’s chemical and biological weapons and missile delivery systems to prevent them from falling into the hands of al Qaeda and terrorists groups operating next door.
The Administration has to be continually prodded by bi-partisan supporters of Israel -- and understanders, not misunderstanders, of Islam -- in Congress forcing it to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. That was apparent with the White House announcement of the appropriation of $70 millions in funds to extend the umbrella of protection under the effective anti-rocket and short-range missile Iron Dome system developed by Rafael Advanced Systems, Ltd. In Israel.
Mitt Romney, the all-but-official Republican presidential candidate, delivered a stem-winder of a speech to the Jerusalem Foundation today, packing emotional support with frank policy statements. The contrast with Obama could hardly be more dramatic. Indeed, one could go through the speech and note the many refutations of Obama. For example, the opening comment that "To step foot into Israel is to step foot into a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land" directly contrasts with Obama's crabbed statement in Cairo about "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland [being] rooted in a tragic history."
Also, in contrast to the nonsensical Obama administration stance on Jerusalem – sneaking in changes to captions that identified it as such and going through verbal gymnastics to avoid calling it that – Romney came out and plainly called Jerusalem "the capital of Israel."
Many of his statements are paeans to the Jewish state and its extraordinary ties to the United States. Some quotations, with my additions in italic on the key words in each quotation:
Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles. But for an American abroad, you can't get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel.
It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States.
We have seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again. It would be foolish not to take Iran's leaders at their word. They are, after all, the product of a radical theocracy. … We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions.
our alliance runs deeper than the designs of strategy or the weighing of interests. The story of how America – a nation still so new to the world by the standards of this ancient region – rose up to become the dear friend of the people of Israel is among the finest and most hopeful in our nation's history. Different as our paths have been, we see the same qualities in one another. Israel and America are in many respects reflections of one another.
. . . 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. … A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel.
By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization, will pry us apart. And as long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat we cannot overcome and very little that we cannot achieve.
But of the whole speech, it is the final words that most struck me: "May God bless America, and may He bless and protect the Nation of Israel." When last did a politician ask the Lord to protect another country and not his own?
Watch Governor Romney’s Jerusalem Foundation speech on this Fox News video. It could well be a game changer in Florida and other battle ground states with significant Jewish and Christian Zionist voters.