The 2012 Vote
|Meghashyam Mali||August 5th 2012|
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled a new television ad on Sunday hitting President Obama for not visiting Israel while in office and calling Jerusalem the country’s capital. The ad titled “Cherished relationship” opens with a voiceover asking “Who shares your values?”
“As President, Barack Obama has never visited Israel and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as its capital,” the ad says. “Mitt Romney will be a different kind of president—a strong leader who stands by our allies. He knows America holds a deep and cherished relationship with Israel.”
The video shows clips from Romney’s visit last weekend to Israel, part of his six-day three country overseas trip.
“We speak the same language of freedom and justice,” says Romney in a video clip of an address he delivered in Jerusalem. “And like the U.S.,” the ad continues, “Israel respects the rights of people of all religions.” The ad then shows a clip of Romney visiting the Western Wall.
The video concludes with Romney saying “It’s a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” The campaign has not said which television markets the ad will air in.
Romney’s campaign has leveled tough criticisms at Obama’s policies towards the Jewish state, claiming that he has been a weak ally and failed to aggressively halt Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, which Israel views as a serious threat. Republicans have also hammered Obama for failing to visit the country in his first term and for not declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
During his visit to Jerusalem, Romney said he would seek to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv as president if the Israeli government ascents. Jerusalem’s status is a point of contention between Israel and the Palestinians and American presidents have avoided the question, maintaining the U.S. embassy presence in Tel Aviv, despite a 1995 law that declares Jerusalem to be the capital.
White House and Democrats have pushed back against the criticisms, saying that Obama has done much to aid Israel’s defense, pointing to military aid the administration has provided and plans to develop the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system.
During Romney’s visit to Israel, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Jewish voters were being “exploited” by Republicans who were focusing on Israel to distract them from their party’s economic policies. “This president has been a staunch supporter of Israel,” she said.
A Gallup poll released last month shows Romney well behind of Obama among Jewish voters with 25 percent support to the president’s 68. But Obama’s support is below the 78 percent of Jewish voters he carried in the 2008 presidential race.
Meghashyam Mali writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted.