Bibi's Delicate Dance With
By: Abraham Tirosh Translated from Maariv (Israel).
Just short of fasting on Tisha b’Av [Jewish yearly fast and introspective day], sitting on the floor, lamenting and bewailing the destruction of the Temple, the republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did almost everything he could to show his solidarity with Israel and Judaism during his visit. And Jerusalem “rejoiced [and was glad,” to quote from the Book of Esther].
About This Article
The warm reception Mitt Romney received in Israel could ultimately be costly, writes Abraham Tirosh. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be careful who he throws his weight behind before we know who will be the president of the United States come November.Publisher: Maariv (Israel)
Author: Abraham Tirosh
First Published: August 1, 2012
Posted on: August 2 2012
Translated by: Simon Pompan
Categories : Israel
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, he declared. Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is a moral imperative and striking its nuclear reactors is indeed an option, Romney stated. An Israeli military operation under his presidency would certainly get American backing, he continued. Israel’s security means security for the United States. When he takes office, there will be no disputes with Jerusalem. Those declarations sounded mellifluous to his Israeli listeners. He lavished accolades on Jewish culture and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership. Requiting with a warm embrace, the Israeli premier praised Romney’s positions. An idyllic affair.
So here I am to be a wet blanket. Romney, to be sure, has voiced pro-Israeli positions in the past. Unquestionably, he is the Prime Minister [Benjamin Nethyahu’s] friend. It is also true that by comparison to President Obama, he could pass off as member of the World Zionist Organization. But let’s not forget that his visit to Israel is part of an election campaign, and his demonstrative solidarity occurs when he is not yet the president. If elected, he might very well play a different tune, as the cliché goes: What people see from there people do not see from here” [Famous song of the popular Israeli singer Yehudit Ravitz]. In connection with Iran, for example.
This is known to have happened before. Almost all American presidential nominees in recent decades, Republicans and Democrats alike, have voiced unequivocal pro-Israeli statements during their election campaigns. They all tried to curry favor with the Jewish voters. However, upon stepping into the Oval office, things take on a different course. And that’s true even with presidents that were “good for the Jews,” such as George W. Bush. Invariably, presidents have historically supported Israel in terms of its security. Even if they were not admittedly staunch supporters of either Israel or the Jewish people, they nevertheless came to its rescue in times of trouble. For example, President Richard Nixon, who by all accounts was not pro-Israel, launched an air lift [of military equipment to Israel’s aid] during the Yom Kippur War . Yet many promises made during an election campaign vanish into thin air. Reviewing statements made by presidential candidates over the decades, you would think that the American embassy was long ago established in Jerusalem. In reality, however, the White House spokesperson struggles with the words: “Jerusalem, the capital of Israel”.
The future, as promised by Romney, does look rosier compared to the attitude of President Obama toward Israel and particularly his mistrust of Netanyahu. However, the incumbent president has not compromised Israel’s security. So it would be well advised to wait and see if Romney gets elected and not get carried away in premature celebrations. Only if he takes office will we know what Romney’s positions and attitude vis-à-vis Israel truly are.
Now I have a “small” question: Why does this great friend of Israel not say a word about Jonathan Pollard who has been serving a sentence which is much longer than he deserves, despite the fact that many former prominent American officials have called for his release? Is it a tactical silence? Perhaps. So let’s see what happens if he does become president. We already had one “Zionist” president, George W. Bush. We had high hopes for him in the Pollard case but were bitterly disappointed, especially during his second term when he had more latitude to make the decision. This brings me to another thought. When an Israeli official, to wit Netanyahu, overtly demonstrates enthusiastic support of Romney, this may entail a great deal of risk. If he does not get elected, Israel could pay dearly. In his second term in office, President Obama will not forget the “Romney celebrations.” Unbridled from all reelection constraints, he could ratchet up his already unfavorable stance toward Israel, and particularly toward Netanyahu. This may herald a serious problem for Israel, and clawing its way out could prove difficult. Perish the thought.
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