Monday, July 30, 2012

Romney vs. Obama at the Western Wall

I continue to be struck by Romney's apparent sincerity while visiting Jerusalem, he has done quite a few things that he really didn't have to do.  First, according to Elliot Abrams he added a very strong line to his speech:

Romney added something to his text in Jerusalem: “I love this country, I love America, I love the friendship we have.” That line does not appear in any prepared text the news media have carried, suggesting that Romney added it late in the drafting process or even while speaking. Like his other lines, it does not directly challenge U.S. policy or criticize the president, but it sets the two men apart; I have been unable to find any similar line from the president.
 Second, he quoted Menachem Begin multiple times during the speech.  Begin was the first Likud Prime Minister of Israel, had been head of the Irgun and had blown up Iraq's nuclear reactor in a decidedly unilateral act which received worldwide condemnation at the time.  Importantly, Begin is the only past Israeli Prime Minister that Romney mentioned.  No Ben Gurion, no Golda Meir and no Shimon Peres.  That is going above and beyond in terms of showing that he is a true friend to the Israeli people and the current government of Israel. Anyway here are the quite telling quotes:

It was Menachem Begin who said this about the Ninth of the month of Av:  “We remember that day,” he said, “and now have the responsibility to make sure that never again will our independence be destroyed and never again will the Jew become homeless or defenseless.” “This,” Prime Minister Begin added, “is the crux of the problems facing us in the future.”


My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country. As Prime Minister Begin put it, in vivid and haunting words, “if an enemy of [the Jewish] people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him.”
 And now let's take a look at images of Romney at the Western Wall and one of Obama at almost exactly the same point in the 2008 race.  First, here is Romney who recited Psalm 121 which begins "I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth.":

It looks like a very solemn and touching moment.  Now take a look at Obama, who seems to have the look (thanks to some tension in the lower part of his face) of "okay, now how long should I have my hand here?  The crap I have to go through":

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