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Right Turn
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 09/23/2011

The GOP and Israel

It has been true for some time now, but this week it became clear just how supportive the Republican Party is of the Jewish state. The GOP certainly has every right not to be. It’s not like Jews as a group vote for Republicans. But the vast majority of Republicans for a range of reasons — including religious faith, admiration, common values and contempt for the Jewish state’s Third-World, anti-West enemies on the left — are viscerally pro-Israel. Put it this way, it’s easier to be pro-choice than anti-Israel in the GOP.

We saw this in full view this week. Both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney bashed President Obama for his Israel policy. Perry gave a fiery defense of the Jewish state to a New York Jewish gathering. During the debate Romney had this to say:

QUESTION: As president, how would you approach the new reality in the Middle East, specifically with regards to our ally, Israel, and the existential threats it faces from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and now the Palestinian Authority?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: Very simple. You start off by saying that you don’t allow an inch of space to exist between you and your friends and your allies.
(APPLAUSE)
The president went about this all wrong. He went around the world and apologized for America. He — he addressed the United Nations in his inaugural address and chastised our friend, Israel, for building settlements and said nothing about Hamas launching thousands of rockets into Israel.
Just before Bibi Netanyahu came to the United States, he threw Israel under the bus, tried to negotiate for Israel.
The right course — if you disagree with an ally, you talk about it privately. But in public, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your allies. The right course for us…
(APPLAUSE)
The right course for us is not to try and negotiate for Israel. The right course is to stand behind our friends, to listen to them, and to let the entire world know that we will stay with them and that we will support them and defend them.

He said it with fervor. Had Perry been asked the question I imagine we would have gotten something pretty close.

It was a solid moment for Romney, but more important, it was more evidence, if any were needed, that the “Israel lobby” is the entire GOP, and in fact the whole country. Remember that Democrats are tying themselves in knots to explain that President Obama really is a dear friend of Israel; it’s just not playing all that well.

Our relationship with Israel is about knowing who your friends are and sticking by them when it’s not popular. It’s about seeing the United States and Israel engaged in a joint battle against jihadists. It’s about the dangers of multilateralism with those who don’t share our beliefs.

The big lie that the anti-Israel left has made repeatedly is that America’s pro-Israel stance is attributable to a conspiracy of the Jews. (Very powerful we must be.) In fact, our stance toward Israel is based on Americans’ gut sense of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. It flows from our values and the knowledge that the relationship is one of mutual benefit. Obama has insufficiently understood all this. Hence, the current predicament.

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 09/23/2011

Categories:  2012 campaign, American Jews, Israel

 
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