Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel, already well underway and nearing its end, was met with much anticipation– both from supporters and foes. To date, Romney has not given too many specifics with regard to policy in the Middle East, and this seems to fuel the fire for the Obama supporters within the Jewish community– how can you say that Romney is better for Israel?! He’s hardly told us anything– they cry. How, you ask? I’ll tell you.
It’s true, even in Romney’s foreign policy briefing given this afternoon in Jerusalem, short of asserting that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital– no small remark in today’s world, unfortunately– Romney didn’t tell us anything precise. He didn’t tell us exactly how Israel can achieve peace with the Palestinians; he didn’t assert that sanctions on Iran were or were not the answer; he didn’t tell us who should live where within the city of Jerusalem. The lack of specifics in today’s speech is the perfect microcosm, illustrating precisely why Governor Mitt Romney is ‘better for Israel’ than President Barack Obama.
Throughout his presidency, and even while campaigning in 2008, President Obama did give a lot of specifics. He is an outspoken proponent of the two-state solution, even though he knows (how, I still haven’t figured out) that ‘peace is hard.’ In 2010, when Israeli Jews built more homes in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, the Obama Administration was displeased, and we were made aware of that fact. President Obama was so convincing in his assertion that he knows what’s good for Israel and for the region that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize– based solely on his rhetoric, and none of his actions!
Critics accuse Mitt Romney of evading the issues, but I see a man who is humble. I see a US presidential candidate who does not purport to have the answers to some of the region’s most perplex political and moral questions. I see a politician who respects the right of our elected officials, here in Israel, to determine the course of action that will, God willing, lead us to both peace and prosperity.
As a proud Israeli Jew and a patriotic American, I value the faith that Mitt Romney shows in our people and our nation to do our own problem-solving. I detest President Barack Obama’s arrogance each and every time he takes center stage and tells us what course of action we need to take, and where to define our own moral boundaries. Israel has its share of struggles but we do not need a know-it-all big brother to impart his wisdom upon us. We need a friend. We need a friend who believes in us, who respects Israel’s right to make her own choices, and who will stand by our side, should our choices render us in need of a hand to hold.
At today’s briefing, I looked down at my ugly canvas shoes worn in honor of Tisha B’Av — a day that serves both to memorialize destruction and to encourage us to use every fiber of our being in order to fix what is broken in the world — and I’m proud. I’m proud to be part of a people who, in the face of utter destruction, persists. I believe in the Jewish people and in the Jewish state, and I believe that if anyone can secure our tiny sliver of land in this world– it’s us. Mitt Romney seems to share my optimism.
“What you have built here, with your hands, is a testament to your people and a model for the world,” asserted Romney at today’s briefing in Jerusalem. As Jews, let’s allow ourselves to believe this with all of our hearts and to understand the following: we built this place with our hands, and the building has not stopped. Every day, Israelis work to turn this country and this region into the slice of heaven that it ought to be. As far as the American elections go, we must vote for the candidate who values our handiwork, and who is willing to lend us a helping hand when we request it. We must not vote for the candidate who ties our hands behind our back, belittles our work in the global arena, and ‘shows us how it’s done.’
The views expressed here belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of any organization.