Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Romney makes a shameless appeal to pro-Israel voters

November 9, 2011 |  1:42 pm

Sarkozy and Obama

"Shameless" doesn't begin to describe Mitt Romney's cheap shot at President Obama in connection with Israel -- based on inadvertently overheard small talk.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was caught saying of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I can’t stand to see him anymore; he's a liar." To which  Obama replied: "You are fed up with him, but me, I have to deal with him every day."

From this molehill of a diplomatic accident, Romney constructed a mountain of indignation. Worse, he drew a connection between Obama's comment and his Middle East policy.

"President Obama's derisive remarks about Israel's prime minister confirm what any observer would have gleaned from his public statements and actions toward our longstanding ally, Israel," Romney said.  "At a moment when the Jewish state is isolated and under threat, we cannot have an American president who is disdainful of our special relationship with Israel. We have here yet another reason why we need new leadership in the White House."

The notion that Obama is anti-Israel borders on the libelous. Yes, he antagonized Netanyahu by stating the obvious: that a peace agreement with the Palestinians should be based on 1967 borders with land swaps to accommodate Jewish settlers on the  West Bank. But to see the friction between Netanyahu and Obama as proof that Obama is  "disdainful of our special relationship with Israel" is unfair.

If Romney is elected, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hasn't been resolved, he'll take the same approach as Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Then it will be his turn to be called anti-Israel.


Divided on Jerusalem

White House does damage control after Sarkozy-Obama exchange

Obama plays the role of advisor, partner at G-20

--Michael McGough

Photo: President Obama and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, made a joint appearance for a pre-recorded interview at the end of the G-20 meeting. Credit: DSK/AFP/Getty Images

Comments ()