GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich promised Republican Jewish activists on Wednesday that, if elected President, he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Washington Post reported that Gingrich also promised to use U.S. dollars to fund “every dissident group” in Iran and said he would appoint former UN Ambassador John Bolton, a conservative favorite, to head the State Department.
Gingrich’s pro-Israel speech was made as part of a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington. All GOP presidential candidates except for Rep. Ron Paul spoke during the gathering and all expressed strong support for the Jewish state, The Washington Post said.
In his address Gingrich said, “Can you imagine if our next-door neighbor were firing missiles at us and we said ‘Oh, can we come to the table?’ How about saying to Hamas: ‘Give up violence and come to the table?’”
He added, “It’s always Israel’s fault no matter how bad the other side is, and it’s got to stop.”
Another presidential candidate who addressed the crowd was Mitt Romney, who promised to bolster the United States’ ties with Israel if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee.
Romney, whose remarks were published by Reuters ahead of time, said that Israel will be his first foreign stop if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee and goes on to oust President Barack Obama from the White House in next November’s election.
Romney said that Obama has proposed that Israel adopt “indefensible borders” and has been “timid and weak in the face of the existential threat of a nuclear war.”
During the speech, the President called for a return to 1949 armistice lines, and Romney later accused Obama of having “thrown Israel under the bus.”
The Washington Post noted that Jewish Democrats have said Jewish voters will overwhelmingly support President Obama in the election next year, as they did when 78 percent of U.S. Jews cast their ballot for him in 2008.
A recent poll, however, found that Obama will be receiving far less Jewish support in 2012.
Polls taken before the GOP upset in New York’s 9th District in September showed that Obama’s treatment of Israel was a crucial issue for many voters in the heavily Jewish area – and only 22% were satisfied with the way he had been relating to Israel.
Another poll showed Obama losing ground even among his strongest supporters, those who had donated to his 2008 campaign. Of those Jews who invested in an Obama victory three years ago, just 64% plan to donate to his re-election campaign, according to a recent McLaughlin & Associates survey.
In a recent attempt to reassure his worried Jewish supporters that his administration is committed to Israel’s security, Obama said, “We don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security.”
Obama made the comments last week while speaking to a group of campaign contributors at the Upper East Side home of Jack Rosen, a prominent businessman and chairman of the American Jewish Congress.