So far today the Obama campaign has spent time on defense. It is not as if it didn’t have time to plan ahead, but perhaps working in the White House cocoon where you can just refuse to talk to the press has left team members rusty at deflecting bad news. The economy has reared its head, but the White House keeps insisting “incomplete” is a fine grade for a president who promised to fix the economy or face a “one-term proposition.”
Then there is Israel. The change in the convention platform language reported on today has caused a firestorm. The Romney campaign slammed the move in a statement: “It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”
The Republican National Committee and conservative outlets have decried the changes in the platform language. The Republican Jewish Coalition put out a statement, which reads in part:
“Now we see the full expression of Pres. Obama and the Democrat Party’s policy on Jerusalem — they don’t even mention it.
“This administration is painfully out of touch with the mainstream of the Jewish community, which knows that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that it must remain the undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel.”
In addition, the 2012 Democratic platform drops language from previous platforms to:
•demand the isolation of Hamas until that organization renounces terrorism and accepts other requirements of the peace process;
•insist that any settlement of the so-called “refugees” question in a final settlement make a future Palestinian state, not Israel, the destination for Palestinian “refugees”;
•note that it’s not realistic to expect outcome of negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.
Brooks continued: “We call on Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and any Democratic leaders who value the party’s traditionally firm pro-Israel stance to restore the missing pro-Israel language to their party’s platform — and especially to bring back the language declaring that Jerusalem is and will be the capital of Israel.
“This should not be a partisan issue. The vast majority of American Jews support Israel and recognize Jerusalem as its capital. It is unconscionable that the Democrat Party does not see fit to do the same.”
As if that were not enough, Phil Klein reported that Wasserman Schultz made the outlandish accusation that the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who often speaks on the the need for bipartisan support for Israel, said Republicans were endangering Israel. (“We know, and I’ve heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”) This was preposterous on its face, and dispensing with diplomatic niceties, Oren has “categorically” denied the statement. (“I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel. Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle.”) That is about as close to calling Wasserman Schultz a liar as Oren can come.
What’s next, telling Israel it is on its own in a military attack against Iran? Oh. Wait. (“If anything, the Obama administration is growing increasingly impatient with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, insisting that he not jump the gun, literally or figuratively. Even worse, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, stated outright that he doesn’t want any part of a potential Israeli strike.”)