The dueling pro-Israel billionaires—casino magnate Sheldon Adelson for Mitt Romney and financial wheeler-dealer Haim Saban for Barack Obama—are having a tiff over which one of their candidates is the most hawkish when it comes to Israel. Meanwhile, Romney is going bananas over the fact that the platform of the Democratic Party somehow forgot to reaffirm that Jerusalem is the “capital” of Israel—even though the United States does not maintain its embassy in that disputed city and even though no president, Democratic or Republican, has moved the embassy there.
“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.”
Going one rhetorical level higher than Romney’s “shameful,” Paul Ryan called it “tragic,” reports The Hill:
“This is tragic, Brian,” the Republican vice presidential nominee told host Brian Kilmeade of “Fox and Friends.” “First of all, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Mitt Romney and I are very clear on this and right of return and the other issues you mentioned. But what is so tragic about this is it’s one of the few issues where the republican party and the Democratic party agree on.”
Utter nonsense, of course. Would that President Obama did, in fact, try to “create distance” between the United States and Israel. He didn’t. As Saban, the militantly pro-Zionist Democratic funder, writes in a New York Times op-ed today:
When he visited Israel as a candidate he saw firsthand how vulnerable Israeli villagers were to rocket attacks from Gaza. As president, he responded by providing full financing and technical assistance for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range anti-rocket defense system, which is now protecting those villagers. In July, he provided an additional $70 million to extend the Iron Dome system across southern Israel. That’s in addition to the $3 billion in annual military assistance to Israel that the president requests and that Congress routinely approves, assistance for which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed deep personal appreciation.
Never quite satisfied, Saban allows that Obama “could have done a better job highlighting his friendship for Israel,” he points out that in regard to Iran Obama has pretty much carried Israel’s water:
Mr. Romney has never explained how he would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; Mr. Obama not only has declared that all options are on the table, but he has also taken the option of merely “containing” a nuclear-armed Iran off the table. He has directed the military to prepare options for confronting Iran and has positioned forces in the Persian Gulf to demonstrate his resolve.
Of course, Obama—and his entire national security team—are staunchly opposed to an Israeli strike against Iran, and virtually no one in the Obama administration believes that even a US attack would do any good, Obama has indeed beefed up the American military presence in and around the Persian Gulf and funneled tens of billions of dollars in weapons systems to the petrified kleptocrats who run the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. As for preparing options to strike Iran, well, as every national security expert knows, there are options for everything. But the Obama people know that bombing Iran would be a First Order Catastrophe, and despite his warmongering rhetoric, Romney knows it, too.
Is it all about Florida? You’d think that voters down there would be far more concerned about the Romney-Ryan plan to destroy Medicare, but the Wall Street Journal points out today, in its over-long piece on the Jerusalem platform flap:
Republicans wasted little time seizing on the issue, hoping to peel away from Mr. Obama at least a few Jewish voters, a traditionally Democratic group, particularly in states such as Florida. The presidential election is shaping up as a potentially razor-thin contest, where even small shifts of voters in key states could make the difference.
But the Journal points out the obvious:
Presidential candidates regularly promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, then fail to act on that promise once they reach the White House out of concerns about inflaming Arab sentiment and upsetting the peace process.
Naturally, the vast majority of American Jews will vote Democratic, just as they do every year.