By most accounts, Mitt Romney hit it out of the park yesterday in his speech before the Jerusalem Foundation. Daniel Pipes called it "a stem winder" and "remarkable." Barry Rubin sensed Romney's sincerity:
Speaking to an often-cheering group of about 400 people in Jerusalem, Governor Mitt Romney gave a speech less notable for what he said than for the fact that the audience believed he was sincere in saying it.
At a beautiful outdoor setting with the Old City in the background, Romney declared his strong support for Israel, using phrases often heard from American presidents. He also proclaimed his view that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital. The difference, of course, is that those listening were less inclined to think that when President Barack Obama said similar things to AIPAC meetings he was describing his own views and policies.
In a glowing editorial from the Jerusalem Post, the editors make it clear who is a "true friend of Israel":
Mitt Romney, who is taking the time to visit us at the moment, and who time and again has spoken out strongly for Israel's rights to safeguard our own interests.
On the other hand, incumbent candidate US President Barack Obama has all but adopted the Palestinian negotiation position and given Israel the cold shoulder on every possible occasion.
Romney has decided to visit us just three short months before the most important election of his life.
By coming here, Romney is indicating to his Israeli friends his deep commitment to the State of Israel and the importance that he places on his with the Jewish people.
Not only is the governor taking the time to visit the Jewish state in the midst of his campaign, but he has also stated repeatedly that should he win the presidency, his first official trip abroad would be to Israel. It is these types of pledges - along with his steadfast statements affirming Israel's right to defend itself from all threats, both near and far - that is convincing so many Democratic pro-Israel voters to switch sides and vote for the Republican candidate in the upcoming election.
Obama, on the other hand, has been anything but resolute in his support for Israel since he was elected in 2008. In his now infamous Cairo Speech, the president put the onus of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict squarely on the shoulders of what was once America's only true ally in the Middle East.
When later pressuring Israel into the ill-advised freeze, Obama was the main reason that for the first time since the establishments of the State of Israel, that Jews were outlawed from homes in their historic homeland.
Romney's speech in Jerusalem will likely not win him many Jewish votes at home. Jews are a traditional Democratic constituency, and while the Republican candidate will probably do better in 2012 with the Jewish vote than John McCain managed in 2008 (78-22 for Obama), the difference won't be significant enough to win him any states.
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