There can be no confusion when the Republican candidate, speaking from Jerusalem, says “Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries” that he refers to the frosty relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here’s the full quote, as transcribed by Reuters, from a speech given during Gov. Mitt Romney’s international tour: “We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel voice their criticisms. And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.”
The White House has clashed with Netanyahu over the issue of settlements, considered illegal by the international community and perfectly valid by Netanyahu’s own commission. Despite this, the U.S. has consistently backed away from every line in the sand and continued to work with the Netanyahu regime. Although the peace process, such as it was, has stalled. Fed up with the continued construction of settlements on occupied territory, the Palestinians went to the U.N. seeking statehood. Though the White House sided with the Palestinian Authority on settlement construction, the president and his team worked overtime to try to block recognition of a Palestinian state.
This may be one of those issues, like guns and finance, in which the president gets no credit for caving from the interest groups that pressure him into doing so.
Romney may want to be a better friend to Israel than Obama, as he claims, but he will have to be inventive to achieve that goal.
Below, the candidate promises to “employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course” should diplomacy fail.