Romney Visits Israel
Candidate recognizes Jerusalem as its
capital, warns Iran.
JTA and other sources
ith the Old City as a backdrop,
Mitt Romney declared in a
policy speech Sunday that
a united Jerusalem is the capital of the
In a separate interview with CNN's Wolf
Blitzer, Romney added, "I think it's long
been the policy of our country to ulti-
mately have our embassy in the nation's
capital of Jerusalem. The decision to actu-
ally make the move is one, if I were presi-
dent, I would want to take in consultation
with the leadership of the [Israeli] govern-
ment which exists at that time."
On Monday, senior Palestinian official
Saeb Erekat said Romney's assertion that
Jerusalem is Israel's capital is "absolutely
In his 15-minute speech, the presump-
tive Republican presidential candidate
addressed the Iranian nuclear weapons
program and changes in the Arab world.
He also focused on what he called the
"enduring shared values" of the United
States and Israel.
"The security of Israel is in the vital
national security interest of the United
States',' Romney said. "We serve the same
cause, and we provoke the same hatreds in
the same enemies."
He never mentioned the Palestinians or
the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Preventing a nuclear Iran is America's
"highest national security priority,'
Romney said. "It would be foolish not to
take the leaders of Iran at their word. We
have a moral imperative to deny Iran's
leaders the means to follow through on
their malevolent intent."
Romney invoked the fast day of the
Ninth of Av, which was to end at sunset,
as he spoke about Iran. The fast day
commemorates the destruction of both
Holy Temples in Jerusalem. He said, "It's
remarkable to consider how much adver-
sity is recalled by just one day on the
calendar:' he said. "It calls forth clarity and
He called the day "a time of remem-
brance of many lives that have been lost to
tragedy and terror."
Romney also quoted former Israeli
Prime Minister Menachem Begin twice
and mentioned the 11 Israeli athletes and
coaches murdered at the Munich Olympics
Mitt Romney touching
he Western Wall in
erusalem on Tisha
b'Av, Sunday, July 29.
He and his wife, Ann,
each placed a note
between its stones.
Romney addressed changes in the
Mideast, which he called "tumult."
He called on Egypt's new presi-
dent, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim
Brotherhood, to keep Israel's peace treaty
with Egypt and admonished Syrian
President Bashar Assad, whom he called
"no friend to Israel and no friend to
America:' for killing his own citizens.
The speech came near the end of a
day in which Romney met with Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
President Shimon Peres, Kadima leader
Shaul Mofaz, Palestinian Authority Prime
Minister Salmi Fayyad and other leaders.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat introduced
Romney before the speech.
Hours before Romney's speech, his liai-
son to the Jewish community, Dan Senor,
said that Romney, if elected, would sup-
port a unilateral Israeli strike on Iranian
Mitt Romney meets with Benjamin
Netanyahu in the prime minister's office
in Jerusalem on July 29.
"If Israel has to take action on its own,
in order to stop Iran from developing the
capability, the governor would respect
that decision:' Senor said in a news brief-
ing, according to the Associated Press.
Economics Of Campaigning
Romney addresses supporters at Israel fundraiser, angers Palestinians.
epublican Presidential hope-
ful Mitt Romney left Israel for
Poland Monday with more than
$1 million for his campaign war chest,
following a first-ever presidential fund-
raiser in the country.
Some 47 people attended breakfast at
Jerusalem's King David Hotel with Romney,
his wife and one of his sons, at the price
of $50,000 per couple. Romney focused on
the economy, both in the U.S. and in Israel.
Romney said, "As you come here and you
see the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] per
capita, for instance, in Israel which is about
$21,000 dollars, and compare that with the
GDP per capita just across the areas man-
aged by the Palestinian Authority, which
is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice
such a dramatically stark difference in eco-
nomic vitality." (The Associated Press, cit-
ing the World Bank, said the Israeli GDP
per capita last year was $31,000 while the
West Bank and Gaza's figure, under the
auspices by the Palestinian Authority and
Hamas, respectively, was $1,500.)
Referring to Harvard Professor David
Landes' book The Wealth and Poverty of
Nations, Romney said, according to the
AP, "And as I come here and I look out
over this city and consider the accom-
plishments of the people of this nation,
I recognize the power of at least culture
and a few other things."
He cited an innovative business cli-
mate, the Jewish history of thriving in
difficult circumstances and the "hand
of providence." He said similar disparity
exists between neighboring countries, like
Mexico and the United States.
Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian aide,
pounced on the "culture" comments.
"It is a racist statement, and this man
doesn't realize that the Palestinian econ-
omy cannot reach its potential because
there is an Israeli occupation:' he said
according to the AR
As criticism mounted while Romney
traveled to Poland, campaign spokes-
woman Andrea Saul said: "His comments
were grossly mischaracterized." The cam-
paign contends Romney's comparison of
countries that are close to each other and
have wide income disparities — the U.S.
and Mexico, Chile and Ecuador — shows
his comments were broader than just the
comparison between Israel and Palestine,
the AP reported.
At the breakfast, Romney sat at the
head of a U-shaped table with billionaire
casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has
said he is willing to spend $100 million to
block President Obama's re-election.
Among others attending were New York
Jets owner Woody Johnson, New York
hedge fund manager Paul Singer, New
York lawyer Phil Rosen: New York health-
care venture capitalist Ken Abramowitz;
Miami businessman Simon Falic: Detroit
developer John Rakolta; and Bob Pence, a
Virginia-based commercial developer.
Abramowitz, who flew in especially for
this event and Romney's speech Sunday
evening overlooking the Old City walls,
said, "I passionately want Romney elected."
Romney, he said, appreciates Israel from
the business perspective, and also has a
deep respect for America's allies. In addition,
he added, as a Mormon — a religion with
only some 14 million adherents around
the world, similar to the world's Jewish
population — Romney understands what
it is like to be part of a minority religion
that has felt religious persecution.
Marc Zell, co-chairman of Republicans
Abroad Israel, said Monday's event was
the first time either party had held a
fundraiser in Israel. By U.S. law, only
American citizens or holders of valid
green cards are allowed to contribute to
campaigns. Zell said both parties were
fundraising aggressively overseas, with
the Obama campaign having held dinners
in China, Hong Kong and Switzerland. E
August 2 2012