GOP Urges Romney to ‘Shame’ Obama by Visiting Israel
Republican Congressmen are urging Mitt Romney to hurry up and visit Israel to ”shame” President Barack Obama, who has not visited as president, according to the Washington-based The Hill website.
“It would be a good visit for him,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions.
President Obama visited Israel, highlighted by praying at the Western Wall, during his 2008 campaign. He has hinted that he will come again this year before the November elections, but he may face a problem concerning the Western Wall in the wake of his acceptance of the Palestinian Authority's demands for sovereignty over all areas, including the Western Wall, restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.
Romney faces no such problem because his Mormon faith casts him as a strong backer of Israel and the rights of Jews in all of the Land of Israel. The former Massachusetts governor has harshly criticized President Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus.’
Romney has had a friendly relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for years and immediately sent him condolences after his father passed away last month. President Barack Obama did not send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu until a few hours after Arutz Sheva asked the Prime Minister’s spokesmen whether the president had done so.
A visit to Israel by Romney also would sharpen his image regarding foreign policy, while highlighting the fact that during his term in office, President Obama has visited 30 countries, but not Israel.
Romney “can go there and reiterate his record, build some confidence in the Israeli people and send a message to Americans [about] what kind of a relationship he would have and what kind of policy he would have towards Israel,” Iowa Rep. Steve King told The Hill.
Polls show that President Obama still has a strong backing by the Jewish community, but far less than the whopping 78 percent he won in 2008. He caused considerable damage to his assumed pro-Israel image by snubbing Prime Minister Netanyahu on a visit, calling Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem “settlements” and accepting Abbas demands that Israel stop all building in Judea, Samaria and large parts of Jerusalem, as a condition for direct talks with Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu already accepted Abbas' demand for a freeze on building homes in Judea and Samaria two years ago, but the Palestinian Authority leader has not followed through by sitting down with Israeli leaders for direct talks.
Democrats point to Obama’s criticism of Abbas for going to the United Nations for recognition of the Palestinian Authority without engaging in talks with Israel. The Obama administration also has promised nearly $1 billion for additional Iron Dome anti-rocket systems and reportedly has sold Israel bunker buster bombs that may be used in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
A recent poll showed Obama leading Romney with Jewish voters 61 percent to 28 percent, a dip from the 78 percent he had in 2008, but an improvement from September, when he had slipped to 50 percent in polling.
The Hill pointed out one more reason Romney should visit Israel now: money.
Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who gave $16 million to Newt Gingrich’s super-PAC, has met with Romney allies and is a potentially large contributor to his campaign. Adelson is a known supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu and has frequently expressed his concerns over the encroaching Islamic extremist influence in the Western world.
In addition to the Jewish vote, Romney has a stronger following with Christian evangelicals, who polls have shown support the de-facto Republican presidential candidate by a 68-19 percent margin for Obama.