Monday, August 22, 2011

GOP candidates on Israel Jer Post

Tevi Troy, who served as a Jewish liaison in the George W. Bush White House, pushed back against the notion that the GOP candidates represented a threat for Israel.

“It would be hard to find a more pro-Israel collective than the people running for president on the Republican side of the aisle,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything that indicates a diminution of support for Israel.”

And he argued that politicians who were more interested in America going it alone could actually translate into more support for Israel, because they would be less concerned about placating the international community’s antagonism toward the Jewish state.

“They might be willing to take a stronger stand for Israel because they’re willing to risk criticism in the international arena,” he said.

So far, the Republican contenders have spoken of strong support for Israel and used the issue to take aim at Obama.

“He’s treating Israel the same way so many European countries have: with suspicion, distrust and an assumption that Israel is at fault,” Romney charged in the speech launching his presidential bid, in one of his only references to foreign policy.

“He seems firmly and clearly determined to undermine our longtime friend and ally.”

And Troy argued that the concerns American Jews have about Obama’s stance on Israel is their paramount foreign policy issue, and would trump any anxiety about an isolationist streak.

“The Obama administration’s policy toward Israel is the one that would concern Jewish voters who might be willing to consider a Republican,” he said. “They would be comforted by the views that the bulk of the Republican candidates have on Israel.”

Dorf, however, said the vast majority of criticism regarding Obama’s stance on Israel has come from the 20 percent of the Jewish community that reliably votes Republican. He dismissed the impact they would have on the race.

“Those are [the ones] we in politics call the unpersuadables,” he said.

According to Lawrence Korb – a former assistant secretary of defense, now with the Center for American Progress – however isolationist the Republican party veers, it sees Israel as different than other international alliances.

“Israel is separate. Regardless of whether people say we ought not to referee the world, there will always be support for Israel,” he said.

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