With GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney planning a summer trip to Israel, some analysts are discussing Romney’s attempts to use President Obama’s sometimes rocky relationship to the country’s leadership to his advantage.
Romney’s overseas trip will include a London visit for the Olympics and a visit to Israel, where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as others across the ideological spectrum in the Jewish state. In a June 16 address, Romney said that as president he would “forge a strong working relationship with the leadership in Israel” (Haaretz) and he would “not want to show a dime’s worth of distance between ourselves and our allies like Israel.”
In an editorial, the L.A. Times says that Romney has “tried to capitalize on a perception that President Obama is insufficiently attentive to Israel’s interests. ” But, the editors says, while he may try reaffirm his friendship with Netanyahu now, “in seeking to demonstrate that he is a better friend to Israel than the incumbent, Romney should be mindful of the fact that in the future, a President Romney might find that Israeli and U.S. interests are more than an inch apart.”
An editorial by Jerusalem Post urges President Obama to come to Israel before Election Day. “Obama has proved to be a true friend of Israel during his first term as president, though he has made mistakes – the building freeze in Judea and Samaria was the most glaring example,” it says. “A visit to Israel would be a fitting conclusion to four years of sometimes rocky, but generally positive, relations between the White House and the State of Israel.”
For more on the candidates’ stances, check out CFR’s Issue Trackers on the Candidates on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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CFR’s Daniel Senor argues that even Democrats have publicly questioned the Obama administration statements and policies toward Israel.
The tight race for the White House could be tipped by just a handful of issues, writes Politico‘s Maggie Haberman, including deeper economic unrest or “the possibility of an Iranian strike against Israel — or vice versa.”
— Senior Editor Toni Johnson and Contributing Editor Gayle S. Putrich