Top Ten Most Distasteful things about Romney Trip to Israel

The trip of Republic Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Israel is in bad taste for lots of reasons.

1. He is holding a fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. It is distasteful for an American political candidate to hold a high profile fundraiser abroad, implying a commitment to a foreign country as a means of reaching out to American interest groups (in Romney’s case, Christian Zionists among the evangelicals and the minority of American Jews who would be willing to vote Republican).

2. It is distasteful that Romney has broken his pledge of transparency and declared the fundraiser off limits to the US press.

3. It is distasteful that Romney won’t explain why he has abruptly gone back on his word, and closed the Jerusalem event to the press.

4. There is a convention in US politics that you don’t criticize the sitting president, even if you are an opposition politician, while on foreign soil. Romney clearly intends to slam President Obama while in Israel.

5. It is distasteful that Romney is clearly holding the event in some large part to please casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who first bankrolled Newt Gingrich and now is talking about giving $100 million to elect Romney. Adelson is a huge supporter of far rightwing Likud Party Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and published a free newspaper in Israel to support all things Bibi all the time. Adelson is under investigation for allegedly bribing Chinese officials in Macau in reference to his casino empire there. Since Adelson is potentially an agent of Chinese influence and is a partisan of one of Israel’s most rightwing parties, Romney’s indebtedness to him is disturbing.

6. It is distasteful to have Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu interfering in an American domestic election by openly favoring Romney over Obama.

7. It is distasteful that Romney is promising his donors in Jerusalem a war on Iran. When George W. Bush promised his pro-Israel supporters a war on Iraq, it cost the US at least $3 trillion, got hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, destabilized the Gulf for some time, cost over 4,000 American soldiers’ lives, and damaged American power, credibility and the economy. As Nancy Reagan said of drugs, so US politicians must say to constant Israeli entreaties that the United States of America continually fight new wars in the Middle East on their behalf: “Just say no.” Instead, Romney is playing war enabler, and that abroad!

8. It is distasteful that Romney will not meet with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestine Authority, who actually was elected by Palestinians, but only with an appointed and toothless ‘prime minister’ known for cooperation with Israel’s Likud.

9. It is distasteful the Romney will not commit to a two-state solution within 1967 borders or demand Israel cease illegal squatting on and unilateral annexation of Palestinian land. If he is going to this Middle East hot spot, why doesn’t he visit a Palestinian refugee camp so as to understand the nub of the dispute, instead of hobnobbing with the uber-rich in Jerusalem.

10. It is distasteful that he is holding the fundraiser in the King David Hotel, which was famously blown up by the Zionist terrorist organization Irgun in 1946, in a strike that killed 91 persons and wounded dozens, many of them innocent civilians. Irgun leader Menachem Begin (later a leader of the ruling Likud Party) hit the hotel because there were British security offices there, which were tracking violent organizations like his own, during the British Mandate period of Palestine. He maintained that he called ahead to warn of the bombing, but that is just propganda to take the edge off the deed– who in 1946 would have taken such a call seriously? When current Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and other Likud leaders attended a commemoration of the bombing, the British Foreign Office sent over a sharp note of protest. I guess Romney is not finished with insulting London.

75 Responses

  1. It’s also distasteful to have him hold it in the King David Hotel, the site of a terrorist attack against the British by someone who later became Prime Minister of Israel.

        • He’s going, “they didn’t like me there, so lets offend them a bit more”.

          Aside from all the offshore fundraisers, this man is a walking disaster for the entire planet.

          What he is doing in Israel, on any and every point, only serves him and has the potential to ignite an already volatile situation in the Middle East.

          I sure hope the people there realize he isn’t in any official capacity and I sure as hell hope he doesn’t get elected.

          His stance on the Middle East is the only obvious and clear stance the man has (without openly admitting it though …)

    • The socialist narrative is dead. The left is doing a ghost dance for a failed narrative and this particular blog is one of the many lost cargo cultists hopping on one foot. You seriously need to wake up, grow up and put up or shut up.
      suibne

  2. Mr. Cole: Thanks for writing this piece. The fact that Romney has been attacking President Obama while on his tour greatly disturbs me.

    It is also disturbing that the excuses for media in this country are giving Romney a free pass.

    • When exactly did Romney “attack President Obama” on this trip? Mr. Cole says he “clearly intends” to do so. Well, so far no luck.

      He hasn’t mentioned Obama once and in any interview he goes to great pains to stress to the interviewer that he will not highlight differences with the President while overseas.

      In my opinion he has been a class act.

  3. I find it sad the Israeli people like us the 99% are used & ruled by the mad men of the 1% profiteers & war mongers it time 4 peace we must stop killing each other & get along we are all human beings who need 2 treat each other with respect its ok not 2 agree but its not ok 2 kill by wars 4 profit & power

    • Interesting how the oligarchs have these enormous skills at organization over time, the tenacity and long-view dedication to accumulating power and wealth, using the tools of nominal political legitimacy like “elections” and supreme court appointments and and filling up the various bureaucracies and the military with fellow-travelers. All the while, most of us little people either just mope along, taking whatever trickles and crumbs they drop on the floor under their feet.

      What is it about evil, that it is so much more, ah, efficient?

      • indeed a sad fact…
        In any case, it proves the Buddhist point that focus without good intention is no virtue. If we paid a little more attention to this as a society on the whole, perhaps we would see less of the moral decline that at least I perceive over decades now (and I´m not overly religious).

        When Mr. X gets fabulously rich, everyone will just buy his book “how I did it” and try to be like him. Mr. X on the other hand never tries to be like anyone else. He is free of any social inhibitions, and he can save the time others waste on being considerate and human to spend it on making even more money. While there have always been people like this, there have been times that were less favourable to their public self-celebration of their, yes, efficiency!

    • hadenough2010, you find it sad that the 99% let the 1% rule them it was always thus only 1 out of 100 will make the effort 2 do much beyond mere survival & a little entertainment (teevie/netflickers, the true opiate of the masses!) & worse the remaining 99 wont stand up 4 themselves as if they/we dont know we outnumber them.

      what if they the 1% held a war & nobody showed up

  4. Romney certainly is an idiot. He won’t pick up any Jewish voters in Israel. He will most likely put his foot in his mouth as he did in England. Why he wants to caimpaign in Israel is beyond me. Now may be he owes his casino boss some favours, but really that is a bit over the top. Then there is the issue of holding fund raisers inother countries. Next thing you know the guy will want other countries to be able to vote for the american president also. Having caimpaign financing from foreign countries is not good for any country.

    • Could it be that Mitt is under the impression that Israel really is another state of the US?

      • Go you think?

        He seems to believe that EVERYTHING has its price and he has the $ to buy it.

    • he’s not worried about voters you moron. he’s worried about money.

      do you understand how much money depends on war? if the u.s. goes to war, alot of money is going to be placed in the pocket of private contractors and certain other people.

      if he promises war, he will get more funding. especially from arms manufacturing companies based in israel, russia, china, and everywhere–but mostly the united states.
      this has nothing to do with ‘jews’ and everything to do with rich people with money who will donate money now as an investment for payoffs later in the form of government contracts. obama is doing the same thing, but romney is trying to suggest he would be even better of a sellout than obama. hard to believe who is more of a sellout. they would not be shocking anyone if they picked each other for vice president.

    • Super390 is correct. A central point in the theology of the fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. is that the re-establishment of the Israeli state will herald the Second Coming of Jesus. They favor war in the Middle East because thet believe it will accelerate the arrival of these End Times. (In which they will reap their rewards as the faithful Evangelical Christians, and all others will suffer etermal damnation–including the Jews. Their pro-Israeli stance is self-serving, not pro-Jewish.) This theology has fused with the neo-conservatism of the Republican Party. And it is to them that Romney is pandering with this war-mongering pro-Israel state visit.

      You can read more about their end-time beliefs here: link to rense.com

      • Now you’re onto it. It used to be that Christians hated Jews because they were the Christ killers. Then they read further into their book and dedided that, hey, we need Israel for the rapture. Christians, just accept Christ as your saviour and love your neighbor. That’ll get you to heaven and you can leave the rest of us alone.
        Where does Mormonism fit in all of this?

  5. Attacking Iran and cozying up to China at the same time? I don’t think that’s going to work. But, hey, shake that Etch-a-Sketch.

  6. “10. It is distasteful that he is holding the fundraiser in the King David Hotel, which was famously blown up by the Zionist terrorist organization in 1946, in a strike that killed 91 persons and wounded dozens, many of them innocent civilians. Irgun leader Menachem Begin (later a leader of the ruling Likud Party) hit the hotel because there were British security offices there, which were tracking violent organizations like his own, during the British Mandate period of Palestine.”

    During the period of the British Mandate, particularly in the 1946-1948 period, Menachim Begin was certainly a terrorist, and the Irgun Zvai Leumi was a terrorist organization. I would add to what you wrote by noting that on April 9, 1948, the Irgun was responsible for the Deir Yassin massacre, in which some 100 to 150 (the exact number is unclear) Palestinian Arabs, including women and children, were killed, some thrown down a well. The act was clearly to promote fear among the Arab population and get them to leave.

    Menachim Begin was more than just a leader of the Likud party. He was Prime Minister of Israel in the mid-1970s. Begin and Anwar Sadat (facilitated by Jimmie Carter) were responsible for the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Begin in his early career was every bit as much a terrorist as was Yassir Arafat, but his subsequent career demonstrated that a successful terrorist can become a statesman, something Arafat was unable to do.

  7. Dear Prosessor Cole

    A far more subtle point that may have escaped people’s attention.

    link to todayonline.com

    “The CIA considers Israel its No 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials. Counterintelligence is the art of protecting national secrets from spies. This means the CIA believes that US national secrets are safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.”

    Having outed MI6 in London as part of what is being referred to on Twitter as the Romneyshambles, I wonder what other cats he will let out of the bag in Israel.

    • How does one “out” MI6? Everyone who has seen a James Bond movie know that MI6 is Britain’s equivalent of the CIA.

  8. Romney is a political prostitute, though I’m sure you already know that. I don’t say this with any affinity towards Obama because my critique of any individual is based on their personal loyalty to the truth and their propensity towards hypocrisy when it suits them.

    Romney is in a unique position in that I don’t think even he knows what the hell he actually thinks.

    He is a dedicated supporter of Zionism, not because it means anything to him, but because that is the platform his think-tanks have told him will maximize his chances towards the white house. Accordingly, he will distance himself from anyone who poses a threat to that political position, and it is both predictable and obvious.

    You seem offended and/or surprised by this empty vessel, or maybe you just want to share your distaste so that more people get to know the truth. I find that’s a steep hill to try to climb.

    • Shelly Yacimovich is an MK that leads the Labor Party in Israel. The Labor Party has been trying to spearhead direct peace talks with Hamas.

    • The truth is that in the month between the trip’s announcement and the trip itself, Kadima replaced the Labor Party as the opposition in the Knesset. So Romney met with Shaul Mofaz instead.

  9. If Romney is in Israel picking up bucks and promising to deliver that country a war on Iran, he is treading very close to being a foreign agent.

    • Beyond that, every cent he gets had better be documentably from US citizens or he’s violating federal law (not that he cares about the law, obviously). Has any other pres. candidate as brazenly held fundraisers overseas before?

  10. #6, surprisingly, may not be so. Netanyahu has recently been walking back animosity towards Obama, and disavowing close friendship with Romney. Bibi *did* commit a howler this week, calling Romney “a representative of the US”, though, which Romney clearly is not (yet).

  11. And then, of course, in a long line of “incidents” that include Pollard, the USS Liberty and so many others, there’s this:

    The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. He sent word to his superiors about the break-in.

    The incident, described to the Associated Press by three former senior U.S. intelligence officials, might have been dismissed as just another cloak-and-dagger incident in the world of international espionage, except that the same thing had happened to the previous station chief in Israel.

    It was a not-so-subtle reminder that, even in a country friendly to the United States, the CIA was itself being watched.

    Such meddling underscores what is widely known but rarely discussed outside intelligence circles: U.S. national security officials consider Israel to be, at times, a frustrating ally and a genuine counterintelligence threat.

    In addition to what the former U.S. officials described as intrusions in homes in the past decade, Israel has been implicated in U.S. criminal espionage cases and disciplinary proceedings against CIA officers and blamed in the presumed death of an important spy in Syria for the CIA during the administration of President George W. Bush.

    The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials. Counterintelligence is the art of protecting national secrets from spies. This means the CIA believes that U.S. national secrets are safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.

    link to tampabay.com

    Ally? With “friends” like this, who needs enemies?

    • Whenever anyone accuses the United States of having a foreign policy driven entirely by the pursuit of national interest, I ask “Then why are we allies with Israel?”

      • It’s just s syntactical issue: when they say the US has a foreign policy driven by national interest, they don’t specify which nation.

  12. I’m kind of annoyed by your number 7, as it is wrong. Your source says nothing of the sort. Don’t get me wrong, I think Romney saying he would not turn his back on Israel if they did a unilateral strike is a bad thing, but it’s a FAR cry from “promising war on Iran to his donors.” What you’re doing is as bad as any politician: Take what they say, change it completely, and attack that straw man. It’s annoying from either side.

    • Given that he’s a “close personal friend” of Netanyahu, he would certainly be in a position to know that he’s promising to “not turn his back” on a leader for doing something that he really intends to do. It’s practically a green light. Israel attacks, Iran retaliates, Romney launches a full-scale US war. What a con.

    • Israel starts a war with Iran and we’ll have to finish it for them. Even if Iran restrains itself from attacking the 5th Fleet (who in a way are in the position of being hostages to our absurd “relationship”: a trip-wire for US involvement if Iran tries to retaliate), “something” will happen. That’s guaranteed by Mitt. Maybe naively, I think that Obama might otherwise tell Israel they’re on their own.

    • The Press was excluded from his fund raiser, therefore speculation on what he said is fair game.

  13. Thanks for writing this article Juan.

    I find Romney distasteful. He is the friend of the neo-cons, who made a mess of Iraq. He criticizes Obama’s policy toward Israel, which is to support Israel, but not cave to the agitated state of Netanyahu.

    I hope the backlash against Romney’s trip to Israel will help end his run for the presidency.

  14. As a footnote to reaon No. 10, Margaret Thatcher, heroine of the Republican right, was always very wary of Israel. Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that her parliamentary constituency in north London has a significant Jewish population, she never forgot that the Israeli leaders with whom she dealt had British soldiers’ blood on their hands.

  15. The purely and truly distasteful act of promising anyone, much less another country a “war” to gain money abroad is not just wrong – it’s treason. To campaign abroad for funds for a political office in the US is tantamount to cronyism and at worst conflict of interest, and should be illegal.

  16. I have been reading Israeli media for accurate news as American media is biased and I like reading opinions from readers which give you some idea what people are thinking. I realized that most Israelis are progressive, peace loving and want to live in this world peacefully.
    American Jews on the other hand have different take and more conservative like many other nations.
    Beside the comment I am not surprised by what Romney or any politician does as these are all spineless characterless beggars who sell for pennies

    • Thank you for your open-mindedness, and for your fair characterization of Israeli Jews.

  17. The New York Times reports (Sunday, 29 July) that Mitt Romney supports Israel’s right to take step to counteract the Iranian nuclear threat. Except Iran does not have nuclear weapons and therefore such a “threat” remains conjectural. As Israel actually has nuclear weapons and has threatened Iran on numerous occasions would Romney acknowledge Iran’s right to counteract the Israeli nuclear threat?

  18. The idiot Romney must be part of the Democratic party’s plan to get General Obama elected. Otherwise, who in their right mind could consider the bumbling, ignorant, business billionaire Romney.

    It’s time for another view of Cole’s “10 Ways Arab Democracies Can Avoid American Mistakes” but viewed as 10 Ways America can elect an honest, wise, truly intelligent president: link to juancole.com

    • Romney is representative of the capitalist oligarchy of America. He will exploit the Tea Party by promising it that the government will be returned to the 19th century, which means tax cuts for himself. But this simply repeats a process in which reactionary extremists mainstream wave after wave of monstrous ideas via several layers of intermediaries, repeating the memes over and over again, until they end up in the GOP platform. The militia movement of 1996 talked like the Tea Party of 2008 and in turn the GOP leadership of 2012. See this article for how the conspiracy was organized and funded over 40 years:

      link to mindfully.org

      There are too many people who fail to see that the GOP is moving to the far right even faster than the Democrats are moving to the center.

    • And given the corruption of the entire Imperial apparatus in DC, what difference does it make, except maybe on a tiny few margins, who the heck is “president?” You’d have to replace all the congrescritters with honest, decent people, and a huge bureaucracy both “civilian’ and military.

      Good luck with that…

  19. “He maintained that he called ahead to warn of the bombing”

    In Britain we know that means nothing. The IRA did that all the time. Calling ahead to warn of the bombing is a standard part of the terrorist repertoire. Doesn’t tend to save a lot of lives.

  20. Thank you, Juan!
    I will link to this post at HuffPo and other sites and hope it gets widely read.

    What Adelson and Romney are doing skirts close to treason and should be condemned in no uncertain terms.

  21. “Distasteful” is a time honored ritual for the politicians and quite fashionable throughout the land
    A 100 mil here and a 50 there and ignorant hatred of all thing not Zionist is permanent now
    Up is down and right is left and left is complicit when not in power and brutal when they are. Obama has probably preempted all ten of Romney’s and then some.

  22. “He is holding a fundraiser at the King David Hotel……”

    What is next for Romney – a photo op with surviving Irgun gang veterans at Deir Yassin?

    All kidding aside, the failure of Mitt Romney to make public appearances with moderate and liberal elements in Israeli politics promoting serious direct peace talks with Palestinians is both disturbing and injudicious.

    I support Mitt Romney and hope that he will reconsider his plans to lend an ear to those earnestly supporting peaceful solutions in that region.

    • Mark, how can you support someone for President who has absolutely no diplomatic skills? The world is too dangerous a place for someone like Romney to hold the reigns of the USA.

  23. Professor Cole I admire you for your restraint, besides #4 every one of your points started with “It is distasteful”, with exception of #1 which has the word “distasteful” in it :)

    In order for me to enjoy your piece I replaced “distasteful” with “despicable”!

  24. IS THERE or IS THERE NOT a law against American politicians receiving contributions from foreign nationals? I thought there was but I see nothing about it in any press.

    Did Citizens United overturn that law also?

    • The fundraiser in Israel is probably for ex-pats living there. But that doesn’t contradict Dr. Cole’s points. Every premise of American foreign policy and so-called ‘national interest’ is in shambles when it comes to Israel.

  25. How curious that there is no mention here yet of the monstrosity of going to Jerusalem to have a $50,000/plate fundraiser on Tisha B’Av!

  26. Farid Qazi — “American Jews” do not necessarily agree with the pushiest loudmouths claiming to represent them.
    I am an American Jew who loves two countries, but both are currently governed by stupid lunatics.

  27. Dear Professor Cole

    I protest. As a disenfranchised citizen of the Rest of World I find it appalling that this canddate for US President should behave like a bull in a china shop. Everything that is reported in this article undermines everything that is being done to avoid the Palestine issue breaking out into open fighting

    He might as well have advocated the building of the Third Temple while he was at it.

    link to latimes.com

    Romney takes hard line on Iran in Israel speech
    The Republican challenger to Obama also refers to Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and visits the Western Wall.

    Romney, his wife, Ann, and son Josh spent the evening at the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who invited the Romneys to join him in breaking the traditional fast of Tisha B’Av, a Jewish observance that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples of Jerusalem.

    Carl Lewis got it right when he said ‘Seriously, some Americans just shouldn’t leave the country,’

  28. What I find most confusing and strange is why they are, in the aftermath of the arab spring or rather its full bloom, are harping on and on and on about Iran and everyone else is buying it. Write an honest list of “top ten dangers from the inside and the outside to the existence and wellbeing of the state of Israel”. Will Iran be on it? Who are you kidding? Why, why, why this helpless, starved by now in my eyes victimized noisy scapegoat “enemy” thousands of miles away when there´s an abundance of revolutions next door? How about domestic problems?

    Why are we, from abroad, joing this folie a deux and increasingly just accepting it without question… ok, it is better not to contradict someone in the full throes of paranoia, but Romney isn´t Israeli, why does HE chime in?!

  29. Brilliant article.
    It is also beyond distasteful that Romney would call Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel including the Eastern part.

  30. With Romney’s level of disengagement from reality and his ability to pander to the Zionists here at home (USA) and abroad, I imagine he’s a shoo-in for President.

  31. The opposing Democrat candidate should have a field day attacking Romney over this visit.
    Instead Obama will be told by his backers who are much the same that Romney is courting to lay off anything Israel.
    Seems like Obama is walking right into defeat thanks to the fear US politicians have of the “Lobby”.

  32. Calm down everyone. Romney is electioneering and tapping in to Obama’s perceived anti-Israel bias. Obama went to Israel before the last presidential elections.

  33. “Distasteful”?

    The correct word is “Treasonous”.

  34. It is disgustingly distaste-full that we only have 2 Israeli butt-kissers running for president of the U.S. – obombomb and mittens.
    It is disgustingly distaste-full the blatant voter fraud committed during the rethug primaries that illegally ousted Ron Paul.
    Yes, totally distaste-full, the entire charade

  35. Romney’s reference to the “hand of providence”–i.e. the hand of God, i.e. the Biblical god–assuming Judaism’s Yahweh is the same as the New Testament god–and indeed assuming these are the same as the Mormon god displays incredible ignorance.

    Ignorance about theology, about culture and about world politics, not to mention the cost of baiting and insulting other religions and cultures and finally the cost of war.

    It is also ignorance about the teaching of Jesus–The good Samaritan was the ancient equivalent of the good Palestinian. Jesus teaches that religious discrimination is folly.

  36. And the Romney Stupid Comments Tour continues! Ranging from the idiotic anglo saxon analogy with the British, to the dangerous, ignorant and reckless comment that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Romney is outdoing himself while displaying serious political naivite! And now we have the latest brilliant statement that the GDP per capita of Israel of USD22000 surpassing that of Palestine of USD10,000 is sign that Israelis are doing the right thing!!!! Really Mitt? What are you on exactly? First didn’t someone inform him on what actually is happening on the ground there? That Israel is illegally occupying land? That the Palestinian GDP, which is actually around USD1.4k, is very low because of all the restrictions, blockades, hardship and abuse imposed and inflicted by the Israelis!! Ok he may be clueless but don’t his staff prep him? This after all is his only foreign tour before the US elections! Granted that he is ass kissing to AIPAC in an attempt to garner Jewish support before November, but to resort to such idiotic and reckless announcements shows complete disregard towards the Palestinians and their just fight for an independent state- and yes with East Jerusalem as its capital, let alone an unprecedented- and awfully dangerous level of ignorance!!!

  37. Obama did the same thing four years ago. He didnt call it a fundraiser though. many Israelis have dual citizenship in US and Israel. It doesnt surprise me that any presidential candidate would go there to campaign.

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