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Op-Ed: Romney Picked the Right Day to Visit Israel

Mitt Romney posts a note in a crack in the Western Wall.

Comments have been circulating, accusing Mitt Romney of ‘disrespect’ and poor choice in selecting Tisha Be’Av, a day of national Jewish mourning over the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, for his photo-op tour of the Jewish State. Frankly, I personally can’t think of a better day for him to visit.

There are longstanding norms against a presidential contender criticizing a sitting president while abroad, but Romney was free to put forward his own positions on foreign policy, which he has done both directly and indirectly through surrogates, diplomatic innuendo and overt symbolism.

Among the most pivotal criticisms of President Obama’s Israel policy is his emphasizing of the Arab narrative regarding the Jewish connection to the Holy Land, which they claim began following the Holocaust.

“America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known…..It is based upon….the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust,” said Obama in Cairo in 2009. The next stop on his itinerary was concentration camp, Buchenwald, not Israel.

Mitt Romney however, opened his remarks in Israel by saying, “To step foot into Israel is to step foot into a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land.” He continued, “It’s remarkable to consider how much adversity, over so great a span of time, is recalled by just one day on the calendar.”

The difference is subtle but clear, Obama’s recollection of Jewish history is focused on the Holocaust and perhaps relatively recent persecution of European Jewry. Romney’s recognition of Tisha Be’Av’s historical context as an ancient day in the Jewish calendar that remembers millennia of Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, and aspiration for the city’s rebuilding, is integral.

By choosing to make the 9th of Av the center point of his trip to Israel, Romney has fundamentally contrasted himself with Obama by underlining the Jewish narrative which states that, the Jewish claim to Jerusalem and Israel predates the Holocaust by thousands of years.

Additionally the hullabaloo over Romney’s Jerusalem fundraiser breakfast that was initially thought to be scheduled on Tisha Be’Av itself was a golden gift egg to the Jewish people.

The day of all days in the Jewish calendar that embodies the historic Jewish claim to Jerusalem and Israel has never received so much mainstream media attention. I don’t recall in my lifetime seeing headlines on CNN, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and many other major outlets around the world mentioning the holiday.

Romney’s speech to the Jerusalem Foundation was also riddled with other intrinsic contrasts between himself and President Obama on attitudes toward Israel. Including by not limited to:

1. His confirmation of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” he said. The Obama administration has consistently repudiated this position.

2. He affirmed the basis of the United States’ special relationship with Israel as one based onboth interests and shared values, saying, “I believe that the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world.” The White House today appears to be focused on an interest based equation.

3. Romney expressed respect for Israel’s independence as a sovereign nation, answerable in its government’s decisions only to its citizens. “We recognize Israel’s right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you,” said the former Governor.

4. In an unprecedented move, he expressed support for Israel’s struggle in the new age battleground of ideas. “And standing by Israel does not mean with military and intelligence cooperation alone. We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel, voice their criticisms,” said Romney.

Overall, the trip highlighted fundamental contrasts between what a Romney administration would mean for Israel versus what Israelis are faced with today. His advisers who guided the path he has taken should be commended.

Now it is up to America to make the right choice.

The author is the editor of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at


  • 1. get all facts, just not the partisan 1-s wrote:

    oh you mean mitt romney is easily being manipulated as the haaretz just reported.

    i dont want the next president of the united states to be a puppet, i dont want my next president to take his lines word for word directly from foreign leaders. he. is. pathetic.

    this shows that romney is weak and will say and do anything to get in the white house. once there who knows what he will do.

    he is the worst kind. a chameleon, a two face politician who has flip flopped more times than humanly possible…

  • 2. Mendel wrote:

    Mitt may be weak, but he is 100 stronger than Obama. Away with Obama! Romney 2012!

  • 4. me wrote:

    Listen man,

    The economy is in the dumps and he’s someone who can help that, unlike Obama. He’s also a firm supporter of Israel, unlike Obama.
    And, as far as policy and decision goes, he’ll have a cabinet full of people to help him out.
    He has the leadership qualities that America needs. Period.

  • 5. TCHR wrote:

    too many people are just black and white. Small minds are black and white and are opinionated.
    why not trying to look at what the pro-s and con-s are.
    maybe it was disrespectful. maybe he wanted to be there for T-bav for other reasons. why does it always feel good to have a steel strong opinion, does it make you a more impressive person? how about being intelligent about it, things have many dimensions. wake up and work on sounding and acting intelligent

  • 6. # 1.get all facts. U ARE THE MANIPULATOR wrote:

    Who is the real manipulator ? I would say you # 1, using a source like Haerets a Lefty anti=religion newspaper just Like CNN, MSNBC trying to smear Romney. shame on you.

  • 7. serel maness wrote:

    to # 1 ,he’s born in adar,so of cause he 2-faced,it’s really up to hashem who’ll be the next one in the white house

  • 8. WOW wrote:


  • 9. Milhouse wrote:

    #1, What facts are missing? Which foreign leaders do you think are dictating Romney’s lines? So far he’s saying all the right things. Will he keep them when he’s in office? I don’t expect so. In particular, I think that like every president before him, he will continue the USA’s long-standing policy of not recognising that Yerushalayim is even part of Israel, let alone the capital. But that makes him no worse than any of his predecessors. And he’s far far superior to 0bama, who is a personal friend of antisemitic terrorists, and therefore cannot be anything but an enemy.

  • 10. DeClasse- Intellectual wrote:

    POeople forget this important fact. Obama had promised and assured Abbass that he will get his state for the Palestines after he, Obama, is relected. And, for Obama, that means peace and a Palaestine state based on the 1967 boundaries. Who knows, Obama might agree with Abbas that the 1948 boundaries are perfict for a new Palestine state. And, you think if Abbbas gets part of the Holy city of Jersualem, Jews would be allowed into the Temple Mount area–of course not, he would prevent this because this is an affront to Islam and Obama would back Abbass.Be forewatrned, while rommeny is no sweetheart, Obama is so much worse. He has acknoledged as a racist anti-Semitic person–this is not from me, but from many Rabbis and other influential Jewish leaders.

  • 11. WOW wrote:


  • 12. delusions wrote:

    “ Obama had promised and assured Abbass that he will get his state for the Palestines after he, Obama, is relected”


  • 13. No Mitt wrote:

    Romney only said these things because he was with his 40 backers and had just received $10M from billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Adelson used to be a Democrat until he became wealthy, deciding he shouldn’t have to pay more taxes and he’s anti-union.

    People keep blaming our economy on Obama but he’s one person. It’s not his job to hire or fire civilians.

    A lot of companies are throwing work overseas which helps allow them to keep money abroad and not get taxed on it here (i.e., APPLE). Our money is going overseas (“MADE IN CHINA”). Corporate managers get bonuses when they keep overhead down so that’s why there are a lot of part-time, low paying jobs with no benefits. There are “ghost jobs” listed to make companies look like they’re stronger to investors when they’re not. Internships and nepotism lock out a lot of people from getting work.

    “Obama is so much worse. He has acknoledged as a racist anti-Semitic person–this is not from me, but from many Rabbis and other influential Jewish leaders.”

    Don’t gossip. Cite your sources/facts.

  • 14. Milhouse wrote:

    #13, are you even Jewish? Adelson is a great baal tzedokoh, and being anti union is even better. 0bama is destroying the economy, and he is a personal friend of terrorists. Bill Ayers, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said, how many more do you want? These are his personal friends. Don’t you agree with the proverb: “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”?

  • 15. No Mitt wrote:

    Baal tzedokoh? A lot of money in the hands is good. It hides the dirt!

    The views of the men you mentioned should be no more inflammatory to Jews than those of Chassidic leaders to Gentiles. People with extreme views and followers will never bring peace, just divisiveness and hate.

    A google search, unlike finger pointing, will provide actual facts about the economy, the corporate greed, lies, Greenspan, and the multitude of factors which have been bringing down the economy for a long time. Imagine that, facts! I know it’s hard to digest but they actually exist.

    “Are you even Jewish?” If I have to be a snobby fascist with a sheep’s brain, then I guess not.


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