Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Purpose of a Visit to Israel - Locking Arms or Clinching Fists?

As if things couldn't get worse in this unprecedented rocky relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, there's always another reason of concern. Will President Obama actually punish Netanyahu for hosting the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, on his traditional Israel trip, Chemi Shalev wonders.
You can already imagine the fists that will be clenched and the teeth that will be gnashed in the White House in Washington when Israel rolls out the red carpet for Mitt Romney, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s preferred candidate for president in everything but explicit endorsement.

 ...If Romney goes on to win the elections, of course, Netanyahu’s gamble will pay handsome dividends, especially in a close contest in which Jewish voters in battleground states are perceived to have made all the difference. But if Obama wins – and the current odds are 50-50, no more and no less – Romney’s summer visit will add to the significant reservoirs of ill will that have already accumulated on both sides of the Israeli-American divide. Of course, people in Jerusalem might believe that things can’t get any worse, but in such situations, they usually do.
While Prime Minister Netanyahu has expressed in every interview he gave to foreign press, that he will not even comment on the US elections and political battle, there seems to be the notion, often hinted by the Democrats, that Netanyahu is behind Mitt Romney's candidacy for President.

Israel was and always has to remain a bipartisan issue, since the American public are indeed  overwhelmingly supportive of Israel. Hence, it is the obligation of both parties to not use Israel as an wedge issue in this election cycle, challenge each other of playing political games in pandering for the Jewish vote. Rather, compete on the amount of love we ought to impound on one of our most important, strategic and committed allies, and enforce the right policies and effective approach, that will benefit Israel's security and strengthen it's military edge in a hostile region.

As a strong Israel patriot, and a political supporter of Netanyahu, but also a proud American citizen, my effort to reach out to the Jewish community, and vocal critic of the President, is not personal nor  partisan oriented. It is based on examining the policies of the administration and the results on ground, in comparison to Obama's 2008 promises, pledges and present commitments.

We don't choose our friends nor our enemies. American Presidents don't elected Israeli Prime ministers and nor do Israeli Politicians have the power to influence the US presidential elections. But what we can is lock our arms together and march together to defend freedom and tackle the challenges we face with conviction and resolve.

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