Mitt Romney is in Israel, on the second leg of his foreign tour after that first disastrous touchdown in England. Following his Olympics opening attendance, he exited that country on Friday amid a flurry of criticism and bad press for his negative comments on security at said games. One newspaper even dubbed him "Mitt the Twit." After Israel, the GOP presumptive nominee will travel to Poland, all part of his foreign policy courtship during this election.
Seeking to avoid another faux pas, the press was reportedly barred from one of his addresses in the "Holy Land," but that only served to garner more negative coverage--bolstering the criticism that he doesn't give the press sufficient access and is now adding censorship to the mix. Poor Romney is surrounded by Catch 22s.
Despite the press black-out at his fundraiser dinner where he reportedly collected a cool $1 million, word of some of what he said has filtered through, causing more controversy. Romney allegedly told his dinner donors that 'their culture was part of what allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians.' No wonder he wanted a closed-to-the-press affair, for this statement is blatantly bias, prejudicial, highly inflamable and downright ignorant. If Romney expects the Palestinians' economy to be on par with the Israeli under the extremely restrictive and apatheid-like conditions imposed on them by Israel, then he doesn't deserve to teach history at the Middle School level, let alone run for president.
The Palestinians are reportedly now in an uproar over this. So far Romney's tour to boost his foreign policy creds has been a disaster. He has angered the Brits and stirred up the Middle East some more, something than is bound to impact negatively on future talks if he ever becomes President. Read more on this here:
However, his speech at the Wailing Wall was allowed full coverage. The Western Wall, located in the old city of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of The Temple Mount, is the most sacred place to Jews worldwide (besides the Temple itself).
So with this powerful backdrop to set the tone, Romney delivered a highly pro-Israel monologue seen Sunday on CNN, aimed at stressing just how strong of an ally he would be, as opposed to that other guy currently in the White House.
Saying things like, "Israel and America are reflections of each other," and sticking to his promise of no negative rhetoric towards Obama's foreign policy while abroad, he did not mention the president by name. But we can read between the lines.
His offer of unwavering support of Israel claiming Jerusalem as their capital, knowing the deep divide this causes with the Palestinian people and how it is the source of much of the bloodshed, speaks volumes. In fact such a bold and controversial statement can only set whatever shambles of a peace talks that exists back considerably.
Romney also offered a blistering verbal attack on Iran, promising Israel he would unequivocally support whatever actions were needed to protect their sovereignty, which includes preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilitites. Whatever it took to get the job done with nothing off the table. Does this kind of verbal aggression only inflame an already combustible situation in that region?
Which begs the question: Is Romney pandering to the Jewish voters here at home through his bravado blustering in their homeland? Is his talk of no "option off-limit," simply war-mongering in an attempt to use Israel as his "swing state"--another U.S. voting block to be won?
His speech completely ignored the Palestinian side of that complex equation, choosing instead to stroke Israel on every and all decisions made thus far in the turmoil raging between them and the Palestinian people. The two state solution, brokered by all peace initiatives, was also sidestepped as Romney offered condolences on Israel's losses over the years.
If Romney becomes president, how can he broker peace in the Middle East by completely ignoring the other side? Past administrations support of Israel to the point of never denouncing them when they do wrong has not fostered peace. Does being an ally mean they can do no wrong or that when they do, it will be blatantly swept under the rug? We chastise our children, family members and let our spouses have it if they deserve it so why are countries considered allies never scolded when they err?
Everyone deserves a sovereign home, and that includes the Palestinian people. Israel also has a right to want to survive and protect its citizens. Palestinian children deserve the same right to grow up in a land they can call their own and not exist in what amounts to a life of bondage, dictated and controlled by Israel and the backing of allies with America's miltary might.
The region needs some common ground not more wars. The human collateral damage is too high. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "There is never a good war or a bad peace."
The situation is complex and military domination is clearly not the answer. America is currently in two extended wars. I say two, for though we have "successfully" withdrawn from Iraq, the killings continue daily and that country is still racked by intense turmoil. Afghanistan is a walking, bloody contradiction and a decade of mounting loss both in lives and resources has not tamed the "beast" in that land.
Now Romney is offering support for "any and all options" to bring Iran to its knees. Have we not learned anything from our war-mongering foreign policies?
Instead of talking peace and Obama's U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Pact signed last Thursday, which will give Israel $70 million for its Iron Dome Program, among other things--he is talking of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to there. Looks more like an attempt to undermine peace than to broker it--all geared at grandstanding for the Jewish vote?
Read more on U.S.-Israel security pact here: Obama Signs U.S.-Israel Security Pact
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