Romney backs Israel in the battle of the Iran red lines

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 53 Comments
romney greets
Mitt Romney greeting crowd in Jerusalem. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)

Okay, so it takes a certain panache to invoke an old-fashioned anti-Semitic trope that insults Jews AND an anti-Arab racist slur against Palestinians – simultaneously. But there you have it – in one brief “your culture” remark to Jewish donors, Romney managed to piss off pretty much everyone in the Middle East.

It’s all about Jewish culture, apparently – you know, Jews are so good with money? Where have we heard that before? That was his explanation of why Israel is so much wealthier than its Palestinian neighbors in the occupied territory. More specifically, it was Romney’s explanation of why Israel’s GDP “is about $21,000″ and on the Palestinian Authority it’s more like $10,000 per capita.” It’s just culture – occupation, Israeli control of economy, land, movement of people and goods, borders, water, airspace….that has nothing to do with Palestinian poverty.

(And oh, by the way, in fact Israel’s GDP is not twice as much as the Palestinians’ as Romney claims; it’s actually about TWENTY TIMES bigger because of occupation. In 2011, Israel’s GDP was more than $31,000; in 2010, the Occupied Territories’ was $1,500.)

In terms of his election, none of this mattered very much, of course, because as the New York Times lead editorial recognized, “the real audience for Mr. Romney’s tough talk was American Jews and evangelical Christians.” This was supposed to be the easy itinerary – Candidate Romney would visit three U.S. allies, all governed by right-wing leaders much closer to his brand of Republicanism than to Obama’s centrist style. He started with London – how hard could that be? Well, there was the criticism of the Olympics. There was the public trumpeting of a supposedly secret meeting with the head of MI6. There was the anonymous campaign staffer talking about Romney understanding the special “anglo-saxon relationship” with the UK better than the [OMG he’s black!] president. The Sun’s “Mitt the Twit” headline probably summed up the British reaction pretty well.

Israel was next, and with the British fiasco still simmering, some of the goals changed. The pressure was on to not only impress his pro-Israel donors, but to prove his clearly-wanting gravitas and diplomatic chops. In one sense, that was the more dangerous part – because it was in real policy issues, especially the possibility of war with Iran, that Romney’s Great International Journey showed his true colors.

But before he got to Iran, of course, there were more you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up moments. Before Team Romney even arrived in Israel, they had gaffed already – scheduling a festive $50,000/plate fundraising dinner during the solemn Jewish holiday of Tisha Ba’av, requiring believers to fast for an entire day spent in sorrow, remembrance and prayer. They hastily moved the money event from Sunday night to a Monday morning breakfast, but still it rankled.

Then he made the mandatory visit to the Western Wall, one of the holiest Jewish sites in Jerusalem. That was for the photo op – and sure enough, the next morning’s Washington Post and New York Times dutifully featured large full-color renditions of Romney at the wall, wearing the traditional Jewish skullcap. But he had gone to the Wall surrounded by a scrum of photographers and a huge security entourage – disrupting the prayers of the ultra-orthodox Jews already there. Even one of the settler leaders, Romney’s most stalwart Israeli supporters, said the settlers were “disappointed.” Then he canceled a long-scheduled meeting with the opposition Labor Party leader – an act the Israeli press speculated was pushed by Netanyahu himself.

And he essentially ignored the Palestinians (and the fact that his visit was in the middle of Ramadan). The only Palestinian he met with was the U.S. favorite, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who, according to the Globe and Mail, “was summoned to meet the candidate under Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.” The Wall Street Journal reported their talk “mainly stuck to the Olympics.”

It goes on. The pre-Israel London gaffes were matched by those that followed in Poland. Romney’s foot-in-mouth disease shows no signs of healing.

Iran: who would go to war when

But there’s danger as well. Beyond the snarky fodder for late-night television, there were some serious indications of just how extreme candidate Romney’s policies really are. The Times editorial was correct that “On Iran’s nuclear weapons program, both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney support trying to halt it with sanctions and negotiations but say military action is an option.” That’s horrific, but technically accurate.

Because as bad as both the candidates are, as willing to threaten the use of force as they are, there is a huge difference between them. Candidate Obama reflects the official U.S. position that a “nuclear-armed Iran” is a red line which could justify the use of force. That’s a dangerous, sure-to-fail recipe for foreign policy. But it refers to Iran having a nuclear weapon – something all analysts agree is years away.

Candidate Romney, on the other hand, accepted the official position of his host country – Israel – which is that a nuclear capable Iran is the red line. As Romney advisor Dan Senor put it, as president Romney would respect any Israeli decision to use unilateral force “to stop Iran from developing the capability” to build a nuclear weapon.

And that is a WAY more dangerous proposition.

There is no accepted international definition of “nuclear capability.” Usually it refers to some combination of access to enriched uranium or the ability to enrich uranium, and the scientific know-how to follow the how-to-build-a-nuke instructions that are pretty much all over the internet. Like every country that produces nuclear power, Iran has all that. Years ago, when Israel first started referring to this concept, the running joke was “what are they gonna do, kill all the scientists?” That isn’t a joke any longer; at least five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated in the last several years, Israeli responsibility is so widely accepted internationally they have all but acknowledged their role.

Dangerous as they both are, there’s a huge difference between threatening to use force if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, and threatening war to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capacity – since by Israel’s definition they already have that. When a potential U.S. president accepts the Israeli terms for when military force is acceptable, rejecting the position of his own government, we are way beyond the problem of a candidate criticizing a sitting president when he promised he wouldn’t.

No surprise that even some Israelis accused Romney of harboring “an extremist, dangerous, war-mongering agenda.” Romney’s Israel trip shows us the threat of war in a whole new way.

53 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    August 1, 2012, 9:51 am

    When a potential U.S. president accepts the Israeli terms for when military force is acceptable, rejecting the position of his own government, we are way beyond the problem of a candidate criticizing a sitting president

    to be blunt, this election is between obama and netanyahu. or choosing between a US or israeli president. that’s how it feels anyway. romney just seems like hollow candidate.

    • Abierno
      August 1, 2012, 12:19 pm

      Mr. Romney has also rejected the position of Israel’s own military, reflected in the ever recurring remarks of many of Israel’s former military leaders, most recently
      General Gantz.

  2. American
    August 1, 2012, 10:03 am

    “we are way beyond the problem of a candidate criticizing a sitting president”

    Yes we are .
    The problem is our politicians have chosen to represent a foreign country instead of America.
    And because of the nature of that country and it’s supporters the consquences for the US are going to get even worse than we have seen yet.

    • Denis
      August 1, 2012, 10:20 pm

      @Phyllis: “When a potential U.S. president accepts the Israeli terms for when military force is acceptable, rejecting the position of his own government, we are way beyond the problem of a candidate criticizing a sitting president when he promised he wouldn’t.”

      I’m sure you didn’t mean to say that. Tell me it was the wine talking.

      First — MR “promised” not to criticize BO? What, pray tell, are you blathering about? And did BO also promise not to criticize MR? Yeah, right . . . an election without criticism in one direction or both. Wake me up when it’s over, in the mean time tell BO to back off on Bain, tax returns, and Seamus on the roof.

      Second — since when does any presidential candidate have an obligation to avoid flipping off the government. H..U…L…L..O…… Letting the public know where and how the government has screwed up is precisely what elective democracy is about. Where were you in 2008? If you don’t like this plan, you belong in Moscow helping Putin prosecute Pussy Riot, or in NYC helping Bloomberg bust OWS heads.

      Third — if MR deviated from “the position of his own government” in the other direction by demanding Israel tear down the apartheid wall and w/draw to the 1967 borders, or — even better — if he advocated the Helen Thomas plan of “let them go back to where they came from,” then MR would be your hero and the fact that he refused to go along with his government would be the reason you would be sending him money. Obviously, you sent BO money when he tricked you into thinking he would change what his government was doing. Remember that????? CHANGE. It doesn’t suddenly become a dirty word just because your opponents are using it this time around.

  3. eljay
    August 1, 2012, 10:06 am

    An interesting article (IMHO): Is Mitt Being Neoconned Into War?

  4. ahadhaadam
    August 1, 2012, 10:12 am

    The headline is so obvious I don’t even bother reading the content. What else? In a country where a political candidate cannot criticize Israel without committing political suicide, all they are left to do is compete on who loves Israel more.

    • Carowhat
      August 1, 2012, 3:47 pm

      Worse than that, it’s practically a crime to fail to announce how much you do love Israel. Bill Clinton became so enthralled with love of that country he once announced he would “grab as gun and die for Israel.” This is the same Bill Clinton who told his draft board he “loathed” the military. Obviously he meant only the US military, not the IDF.

      • Denis
        August 2, 2012, 11:24 am

        When he said that, he was just chatting-up Jewish interns in the Oral Office, man. Everyone knows when Lizard Bill talked about “grabbing his gun” it was a euphemism for . . . never mind.

  5. justicewillprevail
    August 1, 2012, 10:17 am

    Romney is like Reagan – an airhead, easily swayed and impressed by tub thumping zealots who fill the coffers of his campaign. Like Dubya, the perfect candidate for the Israelis who know what strings to pull and who to put in place around him. Romney makes Forrest Gump look wise and informed.

    • lysias
      August 1, 2012, 1:30 pm

      If Reagan had just been an airhead, he wouldn’t have rejected the advice of some of his advisers and gone ahead and ended the Cold War in cooperation with Gorbachev.

  6. Citizen
    August 1, 2012, 10:33 am

    Mormons already had what is now recognized as the Zionist view of Judaism and the Zionist mission to return all Jews to the Holy Land to dwell in a Jewish state–before the middle of the 19th Century!

    As to Mitt’s comments regarding the superior business and economic sense of the Israelis, as compared to the Palestinians, last year Mitt made a similar comment about himself when somebody made a negative remark about his wealth (as compared to most of America) to him when he was on the stump–he smirked, smiled, and said something very like, “Some of us are just smarter than others.”
    If memory serves, it was in the particular aspect of the IRS Code.

  7. Citizen
    August 1, 2012, 11:11 am

    Even Thomas Friedman writes that Mitt’s visit to Israel was “all about Adelson’s money” and it’s kinda hard to be a bizzy bee society when you hive is under occupation when not outright attack or endless siege:

  8. talknic
    August 1, 2012, 11:12 am

    It’s like some weird cartoon land where you keep waiting for someone to pinch you and tell you it’s not real. But no one does, ’cause it is!

  9. upsidedownism
    August 1, 2012, 11:14 am

    Everything Romney says is designed to help him get elected. Nobody has any idea what his policies will actually be.

    Remember the ‘missile gap’ in the 1950s? Kennedy actually led some people to believe he would be tougher on the soviet union than nixon/Eisenhower had been.

    Remember Reagan? He promised to ‘go to source’, blockade Cuba, and rescind the arrangement to give control of the panama canal to panama. Many people believed him; once in office, he did none of those things.

    Romney has no responsibility at the moment, and can say whatever he wants.

    • seafoid
      August 1, 2012, 12:16 pm

      Romney will do whatever corporate power wants.

      • seanmcbride
        August 1, 2012, 1:59 pm


        You wrote:

        “Romney will do whatever corporate power wants.”

        How many Fortune 500 CEOs are clamoring for a war against Iran? Very few (none that I can think of from the top of my head). There is no reason to think that most of them would benefit from such a war, and every reason to think that they, along with the American economy, would probably be severely damaged by it.

        And yet Mitt Romney has placed agitation against Iran, and the agenda of Likud Zionists like Benjamin Netanyahu and Dan Senor in general, at the top of his program.

      • Carowhat
        August 1, 2012, 3:56 pm

        “There is no reason to think that most of them would benefit from such a war, and every reason to think that they, along with the American economy, would probably be severely damaged by it.”

        You bring up a subject I simply can’t understand. Romney would pledge to go to war with Iran even though Iran is no danger to us and the resulting war would put is in a thirties-style depression for an entire generation. I suppose Romney would answer that “we can’t let down our most important ally in her hour of existential need.”

        But Israel’s existence isn’t in question (she has perhaps 300 nuclear weapons to Iran’s zero). It’s her hegemony over the Middle East that Netanyahu is so worried about, not her existence, which is not in doubt.

      • seafoid
        August 1, 2012, 5:04 pm

        His domestic policy is more important than the Middle East. He will eviscerate the trade unions and enrich the top 0.01%.

  10. just
    August 1, 2012, 12:13 pm

    Dan Senor is very dangerous.

    Please go to msnbc and watch him this morning……………

  11. just
    August 1, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Go to msnbc Morning Joe and click on the video at the top right video interplay between Dan Senor and Joe and Andrea Mitchell, please.

    (something happened on my previous post– my apologies)

    • seafoid
      August 1, 2012, 1:17 pm

      Is Dan Senor Jewish ? He sounds like Hophmi with a tie on.

      • just
        August 1, 2012, 3:05 pm

        wiki information:

        Dan Senor
        Born Daniel Samuel Senor
        November 6, 1971 (age 40)
        Utica, New York
        Alma mater University of Western Ontario
        Hebrew University of Jerusalem
        Harvard Business School
        Religion Judaism[1]
        Spouse Campbell Brown (m. 2006) 2 children

        Eli James Senor (b. 2007)
        Asher Liam Senor (b. 2009)

        Early career

        Senor spent much of the 1990s working in Congress, as both a foreign policy advisor and Communications Director to former U.S. Senator and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham (R-MI).

        From 2001 to 2003, he was an investment professional at the Carlyle Group.[4]

        He recently declined an opportunity to run as a Republican for the United States Senate, opting instead to initiate a new think tank, the Foreign Policy Initiative, together with William Kristol and Robert Kagan.[5]

        In the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and during the fighting, Senor was a Pentagon and White House advisor based in Doha, Qatar at U.S. Central Command Forward; he was subsequently based in Kuwait working with General Jay Garner during the final days of the fighting and in southern Iraq when the Iraqi regime fell.

        Senor formally re-located to Baghdad on April 20, 2003, when he traveled with General Garner’s team in the first post-war civilian convoy, less than two weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein,[3] becoming one of the first American civilians to enter Baghdad. In Iraq, Senor served as Chief Spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq, a Senior Advisor to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, and an adviser to the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

        Senor remained in Iraq until the summer of 2004. His 15 months working for the CPA from Baghdad made him one of the longest-serving American civilians in Iraq.[3] For his service, he was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, one of the Pentagon’s highest civilian honors

      • seafoid
        August 20, 2012, 5:00 pm

        “Senor remained in Iraq until the summer of 2004. His 15 months working for the CPA from Baghdad made him one of the longest-serving American civilians in Iraq”

        Jesus, what a failure Iraq was. Imagine Rudyard Kipling getting a victoria cross for 15 months in Shimla police station.

  12. CitizenC
    August 1, 2012, 12:37 pm

    Two pieces from 972 argue that the immediate danger of an Israeli attack has passed, because Bibi has been outflanked by the Israeli security establishment.

    Noam Sheizaf
    Netanyahu’s interviews confirm: IDF doesn’t want to attack Iran

    Larry Derfner, who has been more pessimistic about war, acknowledges Netanyahu’s capitulation, but notes the damage that the Iran campaign has done, extracted promises from the US. In truth it has drawn the US into a state of war in all but name, extreme sanctions, terrorism, and casus belli diplomacy.

    It’s over – there will be no Israeli attack on Iran

    As Bennis notes, Netanyahu and the US Zionocracy have moved Romney to their position, that a “nuclear-capable” Iran is unacceptable. It’s enough to get me to vote for Obama. I have not voted for a Democratic candidate since the 1980s.

    • CitizenC
      August 1, 2012, 12:50 pm

      Casus belli diplomacy—and war plans and forward military deployments.

  13. gazacalling
    August 1, 2012, 12:55 pm

    Thank God for MW, where I can get the straight truth on this stuff.

    That Iran stuff is really sickening.

  14. Fredblogs
    August 1, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Correct, threatening to use force if Iran gets a nuclear weapon is different, because it is a hollow threat and everyone know it. Once they have the bomb no one is going to use force for fear that they would use it. The only time it is possible to stop them is before they get the bomb, and we’re not prepared to do that.

  15. Carowhat
    August 1, 2012, 3:42 pm

    “No surprise that even some Israelis accused Romney of harboring “an extremist, dangerous, war-mongering agenda”

    Whoever these folks are, the gentile world ought to declare them “righteous Israelis” and award them a peace medal.

  16. DICKERSON3870
    August 1, 2012, 4:40 pm

    RE: “It’s all about Jewish culture, apparently – you know, Jews are so good with money? Where have we heard that before?” ~ Phyllis Bennis

    SEE: “2 South Carolina Republicans Apologize for Reference to Jews” , by Robbie Brown, New York Times, 10/20/09

    [EXCERPT] Two Republican county chairmen in South Carolina have apologized for a newspaper op-ed article that stereotyped Jews as financial penny pinchers.
    The chairmen wrote the article in The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg, S.C., on Sunday in defense of Senator Jim DeMint’s opposition to Congressional earmarks, comparing his fiscal watchfulness to that of Jews.
    “There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves,” the opinion article stated. “By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.”
    A Democratic state senator, Joel Lourie of Kershaw and Richland Counties, who is Jewish, called the comment “disgusting” and “unconscionable” and said it represented “prejudice in its purest form.” He called for the two chairmen to lose their positions in the state Republican Party and asked Mr. DeMint and Karen Floyd, the state party chairwoman, to denounce their comments.
    The authors, Edwin O. Merwin Jr., chairman of the Bamberg County Republican Party, and James S. Ulmer Jr., chairman of the Orangeburg County Republican Party, issued statements of apology on Monday. . .


  17. hass
    August 1, 2012, 5:19 pm

    I’m sorry but the Times is NOT CORRECT when it refers to “Iran’s nuclear weapons program”. The consensus in the whole of the intelligence community in the US (and Israel) is that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and has yet to demonstrate any intention of starting one anytime soon.

    Furthermore, according IAEA head Elbaradei, about 40 countries are ALREADY “capable” of making nukes.

    • Fredblogs
      August 1, 2012, 9:49 pm

      Yeah, that’s why it has built all the capabilities needed to make weapons grade uranium and buried them under 6 ft of concrete and dozens of feet of ground, all at enormous cost. And why it won’t give up those facilities despite sanctions that are crippling their economy. Because people always hold on to peaceful, bomb hardened nuclear facilities no matter the cost.

      Oh, and why they are making many times as much 20% enriched uranium than they could possibly use for peaceful purposes.

      • talknic
        August 2, 2012, 12:34 am

        Fredblogs August 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

        “it has built all the capabilities needed to make weapons grade uranium”

        The enrichment plants are all under watch of the IAEA, per the NPT.

        ” buried them under 6 ft of concrete and dozens of feet of ground, all at enormous cost”

        It has a right to protect it’s investment

        “And why it won’t give up those facilities despite sanctions that are crippling their economy.”

        No legal reason why they should give up facilities serving peaceful purposes

        “Oh, and why they are making many times as much 20% enriched uranium than they could possibly use for peaceful purposes”

        According to who? You? Some un-named official? There’s plenty of evidence Iran intends to export electricity to all its neighbours.

        Poor Fred, what a job…. spouting drivel on Mondoweiss

      • Eva Smagacz
        August 2, 2012, 2:15 am

        To make reactor capable to create medical supplies, you need to have know how to concentrate uranium. They do not produce “weapon grade” uranium – this is pure hasbara. Putting production underground is common sense. They don’t give up despite sanctions, because they will not surrender their sovereignty, and knowing their enemy, sanctions will continue under some other pretext.

        And I really need respectable source for that last paragraph of yours.

      • Fredblogs
        August 2, 2012, 1:12 pm

        We offered them all the medical isotopes they wanted, nope, gotta produce enriched uranium. They produce 20% (most recently 27%) enriched uranium in centrifuges. The exact same centrifuges that are used to make weapons grade uranium, it just takes a bit longer. Putting production of peaceful facilities in bomb hardened bunkers makes no sense. Putting production of nuclear bomb making facilities in bomb hardened bunkers OTOH makes perfect sense. Willful blindness on the part of Iran supporters is the only way this would seem like peaceful activity. Oh, and they refuse to let the inspectors see all their nuclear facilities. Not that it would matter anyway, since they wouldn’t be able to tell peaceful production from weapons grade production by looking.

        Oh, and as for “exporting electricity”. Quite apart from the fact that they are sitting on some of the largest oil reserves in the world, you don’t need 20% enriched uranium for electricity.

        Source for many times more than they need:
        “Their priority was to cap Iran’s growing stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent. Iran says the uranium is for fuel for medical reactors, but Western diplomats say the Iranians already have many times more than they need, furthering suspicions about Iran’s motivations despite its repeated assertions that the enrichment program is peaceful.”

      • Eva Smagacz
        August 3, 2012, 2:48 am


        I think we’re losing sight of the fact that
        Iran can do whatever they want, because they are sovereign nation. As long as they are not breaking any international laws it is inappropriate for us to interfere.

        I think we should not forget that Iran is under severe sanctions. They cannot rely on West to provide them with medical isotopes. For a long time they negotiated, notably with France and with Russia, without any results, for rods to be imported for nuclear reactor.

        Finally, how is it for Iran to obtain medical isotopes using home made nuclear rods different from Israel obtaining medical isotopes using the home made nuclear rods?

        You internalised Israeli exceptionalism.

      • Citizen
        August 3, 2012, 5:17 am

        Further, I recently read there are 40 countries with nuclear weapons capability but no bomb yet.

      • Citizen
        August 3, 2012, 5:55 am

        But I couldn’t find a full list of those 40 countries, and don’t know if they have reached reactor stage enrichment (2o%).

  18. gingershot
    August 1, 2012, 7:07 pm

    AIPAC in conjunction with Zionism is a conspiracy to hoax America into a war with Iran, into yet another war for Israel after the ‘Global War on Terror’ and Iraq.

    Israel is conducting worldwide war of terror, using the US military clout and diplomatic cover like as if were an extension of Israel itself. It could have never have gotten away with it so far and so long without what is essentially an organized crime family (the Israeli Lobby) on the inside, paving the way.

    ‘American’ foreign policy is in fact Israeli Lobby foreign policy – from what caused the blowback of 911 to the Global War on Terror the Israeli Lobby parlayed that into, to Iraq, and to Pakistan as well. It’s all Israel all the time

    Tom Friedman has a blockbuster article up at the NYT regarding Romney’s trip and how the US panders to Israel and her Lobby. Reactions in the Israeli press/Haaretz are already up as well

  19. seafoid
    August 1, 2012, 7:20 pm

    Mr Pancetta is porky and a member of the US Democrat regime and he says Iran can’t have nuclear weapons too.

    • AllenBee
      August 2, 2012, 2:40 pm

      Leon Panetta is Italian, in the mind and mold of Andrea Doria.

      Two things you should know about Andrea Doria (and by extension, the cultural heritage of Panetta:
      1. a successful mercenary, Doria nevertheless changed sides to advantage his home city/state, Genoa;
      2. Doria remained fiercely loyal to Genoa

      Don’t assume that what Panetta tells the media is carved in stone; it might just be what it is useful for some to believe.

      Do not EVER doubt that Panetta’s first, last, and in-the-middle loyalty is to the USA. Panetta is NOT an Israel firster. Panetta is in his mid-seventies; he’s not a fabulously wealthy man, but he’s comfortable enough to have started his own small think tank. He’s he’s not doing what he does for the money, and he didn’t need to return to DC at all; he is doing it because he sees public service as a patriotic responsibility. He does & says some stuff that makes me cringe, but I trust that he is doing what needs to be done to negotiate waters infested with Israel firster sharks.

      • ritzl
        August 3, 2012, 7:23 am

        Agree. Barring some striking evidence to the contrary, he seems to be part of the internal pushback in this admin against these insane Israeli-centric (or is that Israeli-originated) policy directions.

        The politics of doing that within the context of the need to [seem to] love Israel as a condition for success (and his boss’s success) in US politics must be unbelievably difficult and treacherous. As you say, I don’t think he is personally muddled or conflicted, but having to navigate this path in DC makes his public persona seem muddled and conflicted.

  20. ToivoS
    August 1, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Whoops. I missed Phyllis’s comments before I posted in the above Romney thread. She makes the case more eloquently than I did that there is something inherently anti-Semitic in talking about Jews special abilities in making money as Romney has done. At least that was generally understood in the middle of the last century if not today.

    • lysias
      August 2, 2012, 2:30 pm

      I’m sure Romney thinks Mormons of Anglo-Saxon background also have an inherent ability to make money.

    • AllenBee
      August 2, 2012, 2:30 pm

      considering Romney’s declaration of willingness to attack Iran, please pardon me if offending Jewish sensibilities re money fails to move the outrage needle.

      that said —

      Why has no pundit or journo made the most obvious connection in the entire universe: If Israel has a GDP of $31 000/per kippa’d cap, why do they need US taxpayer’s money to get along?

      US has a per capita GDP of $48,100 (2011). The buying power of that figure is a different thing entirely. I can’t find — and would be challenged to interpret if I could find — a chart that shows the relative buying power of US $48,100 to Israel’s $31,000.

      btw — did y’all know that in 2008 Israel changed from a dollar-denominated economy to a shekel-based system?

      Speaking again of how Israel generates wealth/revenues —

      Looks like a Congressionally-approved hedge fund against the possibility that Israel will be required to compensate Palestinians for dispossession in Nakba & subsequent.


  21. traintosiberia
    August 1, 2012, 9:52 pm

    New York Times lead editorial recognized, “the real audience for Mr. Romney’s tough talk was American Jews and evangelical Christians.”

    Let me digest this . So “rich New York money ” of “Wesley Clark” is being weighed by the faithful whether it is having a desired effect. The same NYTimes will write that the Jewish support for war against Iran was at best lukewarm and possibly non existent given the fact that the Jewish peopel voted for Obama /Democrats overwhelmingly who were not that keen to attack Iran.

  22. MSeveral
    August 2, 2012, 12:35 pm

    It doesn’t surprise me that Willard supports Israel. Wars have never intruded on his life. During the Vietnam War, while Americans were dieing in the jungles of Southeast Asia, he was learning French, working as a Mormon missionary in France, trying to convert heathen Christians to his religion. And during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was avoiding paying taxes that would have financially supported the war, making millions exporting American jobs to China. As it is written, nothing is nu under the sun.

    • lysias
      August 2, 2012, 2:27 pm

      The U.S. military in Vietnam could certainly have made use of a junior officer with fluent knowledge of French in the lat 1960’s and early 1970’s. The job wouldn’t even have been particularly dangerous (liaison with ARVN officers).

  23. ritzl
    August 3, 2012, 9:07 am

    Maybe OT, but interesting.

    “Sometimes US policy gets in the way of US policy,” quipped retired Major General Mastin Robeson, in promoting a wider regional accommodation that included Iran — despite the fact that the Barack Obama administration has sought to exclude the Islamic Republic from Syria diplomacy.

    Israel’s attempts to beat back Iranian regional influence would seem to have been deemed ineffective or ignorable as far as this game was concerned.

    The article/game seemed, though, to have a skewed “Western” premise – that Iran has to DO something about its “nuclear ambitions” to be involved in a stable Syrian outcome. If regional stability is actually the goal, what Iran does or doesn’t do about its enrichment activities is beside the point. Proximity is the point.

    What is interesting is the general recognition that Iran must be involved somehow. But what’s more interesting is that the perceptions of this gaming group are that Iran has to accede to Western demands in order to do so. Sounds like beltway denial to me.

    No Iranians appeared to be involved.

    More to the article. Worth a read.

  24. Kathleen
    August 3, 2012, 10:31 am


  25. Kathleen
    August 3, 2012, 10:42 am

    “But it refers to Iran having a nuclear weapon – something all analysts agree is years away. ”

    Not all analyst even agree that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Phyllis this statement is inflammatory and dangerous. There are plenty of analyst who question whether Iran is even pursuing a nuclear weapon. Dangerous and totally inaccurate.

  26. Kathleen
    August 3, 2012, 10:42 am

    Best place to go read about the situation with Iran is over at RACE FOR IRAN, NON INTERVENTION, FOREIGN POLICY

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