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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Romney's trip to Israel was a triumph

Charles Krauthammer's Friday Washington Post column scores Mitt Romney's trip to Israel as a triumph.
And at his previous stop, Jerusalem, Romney’s speech was a masterpiece of nuance and restraint. Without directly criticizing Obama, Romney drew pointed distinctions deftly expressed in the code words and curlicued diction of Middle East diplomacy.

He declared flatly that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. The official Obama position is that Israel’s capital is to be determined in negotiations with the Palestinians. On Iran, Romney asserted that Israel has the right to defend itself. Obama says this as boilerplate. Romney made clear he means it — that if Israel has to attack, the United States won’t flash the red light before nor punish Israel afterward.

What about the alleged gaffe that dominated reporting from Israel? Romney averred that Israeli and Palestinian economic development might be related to culture. A Palestinian Authority spokesman obligingly jumped forth to accuse Romney of racism, among other thought crimes.

The American media bought it whole, despite the fact that Romney’s assertion was a direct echo of the United Nations’ Arab Human Development Report, written by Arab intellectuals and commissioned by the U.N. It unambiguously asserted that “culture and values are the soul of development.” And went on to report how existing cultural norms — “including traditional Arab culture and values” — are among the major impediments to Arab economic progress.

The report deplores the rampant corruption, repressive governance and lack of women’s (and human) rights as major contributors to backwardness in the Arab world. (In the Palestinian case, it faults Israeli “occupation,” but a U.N. document that doesn’t blame Israel for every Palestinian sorrow, if not the world’s, has yet to be written. Moreover, that excuse doesn’t work for today’s occupation-free, Palestinian-run Gaza.)

Is there any question about Romney’s assertion? PLO/P.A. corruption is legend. Palestinians are repelled by it. Why do you think, when finally given the chance, they voted against the P.A. in 2006?

Romney’s point about “culture” was to highlight the improbable emergence of Israel from resourceless semi-desert to First World “start-up nation,” a tribute to its freedom and openness, just as free-market Chile stands out from state-dominated Ecuador.

Look at how Romney was received. In Israel, its popular prime minister lavished on him a welcome so warm as to be a near-endorsement. In Poland, Romney received an actual endorsement from Lech Walesa, former dissident, former president, Cold War giant, Polish hero.
Yes, Romney's visit here was quite successful. When I saw him at the Western Wall on Sunday (a visit that was unannounced by the way), I did not hear a negative word toward him (although I heard a lot of negativity toward President Obama). People seemed genuinely excited to see Mitt Romney. It drove the media nuts! (I actually had an argument with a reporter over whether Obama allowed the media into that infamous meeting at the White House when Netanyahu was brought in through a side entrance).

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At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fools you have no perception, the stakes you are gambling are frighteningly high.

It's all good :)

*Grins like a cheshire cat*

Roll on November. When Obama wins a 2nd term, Israel will pay a dear price. No Romney to rescue you, then ;)


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