Mitt’s Mission in Israel: Optics, Christian Zionists and Absentee Ballots

The Republican candidate hopes to increase the perceived space between Obama and Netanyahu to court prized electoral groups in November. The incumbent, however, isn't sitting idly.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney boards his charter plane at London Stansted Airport, Saturday, July 28, 2012, as he travels to Israel.

Charles Dharapak / AP

There are a number of ways to understand Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel, where he pitches up Saturday night from London.

One is optics, as they like to say in Washington. The presumptive Republican nominee clearly wants to occupy the chilly space visible between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose tense personal relationship feeds the impression that Obama is cool toward not only Bibi, as Netanyahu is universally known, but also toward Israel itself. What supposed evidence of which might exist – the Cairo speech, Obama’s insisting on a settlement freeze as a pre-condition to peace talks with the Palestinians – is both receding in time and being pushed into the background by the keen, almost obsessive attention the White House has paid Israel in the last two years, in official visits, security coordination and, yes, dollars.

The latest arrived Saturday, when Obama signed a bill sending $70 million to Israel to pay for more of the anti-missile batteries called Iron Dome, the wonder technology that’s been knocking down 80 percent of the missiles fired toward Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip. Defense minister Ehud Barak promptly issued a statement of thanks, pointedly calling the aid “yet another expression of the consistent support of the Obama administration, and indeed of the U.S. congress, to the security of the State of Israel.” Such is the power of the incumbency. There will be more. Coming in October, as the fall campaign crests: The largest US-Israel joint military operation in history.

(PHOTOS: On the Trail With Romney)

But as the Romney campaign appears to know well, body language is a lot more fun to read than official statements. Of six public events on Sunday, five are “photo sprays,” grip and grins with Israeli politicians, plus Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad. The candidate is seeing Netanyahu twice, in the morning for a meeting, and later for dinner with their wives. The husbands already know each other, and even worked together briefly long ago at Bain Capital. Though Netanyahu told TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel that they weren’t exactly pals – “He was the whiz kid; I was just in the back of the room” — Romney boasts of the shared history. The men also share a professed esteem for capital markets (much to the chagrin of progressives), and of course antipathy to Obama. Romney refuses to criticize the president while traveling overseas, but his entire visit to Israel is framed by his famous accusation, during the GOP primary, that Obama is “throwing Israel under the bus.”

Much is being made of the fundraiser Romney has scheduled in Jerusalem, a $50,000 –a-head affair that will include Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas billionaire who is also a patron of Netanyahu (Adelson started what is now Israel’s largest newspaper to help get Bibi elected). But the visit also counts as a GOTV — Get Out the Vote — activity. Because while polls show Obama continues to hold the allegiance of Jewish voters in America – stalwart Democrats who vote on social justice and other liberal issues – that’s not the story for American Jews living in Israel. And there are a bunch of them — about 300,000, roughly half of whom are eligible to cast absentee ballots back home. These are Jews who vote Republican, even if they’re not registered that way.

(VIDEO: Governor Mitt Romney Talk to TIME)

“Oh, it’s amazing,” says Kory Bardash, co-chair of Republicans Abroad in Israel. “Whereas the American Jewish vote in 2008 was nearly 80% for Obama, here in Israel expats went 76% for McCain.” Many were registered Democrats, who likely voted blue on “down-ballot” race, like congressional seats. “But when you live abroad,” says Bardash, “you really focus on foreign policy.”

In the big picture, Romney’s pointed show of support for Israel is surely intended to impress Christian evangelical voters. “Christian Zionists” are Israel’s secret weapon in U.S. politics, a powerful constituency for the Jewish State present in every congressional district. But in a close race, Bardash says, absentee ballots can make a difference. (Just ask Al Gore.) So it can’t hurt to motivate the GOP’s most reliable Jewish vote.

“Of the 150,000 eligible voters living in Israel, I’d say about 40 to 50 percent come from safe Democratic states – Illinois, New York, California,” he says. “That leaves about 75,000 or 80,000, including a lot of people from swing states: Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin…”

MORE: In the Holy Land, Romney to Court the Jewish Vote

71 comments
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erikgrad
erikgrad

He finished up his trip by saying that Jewish culture is superior to that of Palestinians, and that is why they are so financially successful while Palestinians live in poverty.  

Yikes.  I cannot help but wonder if he feels that way about Mormons vs other Christians here in the United States?

Filips
Filips

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akahen
akahen

Here is another Politician promisng the world and then going bck to their everyday lives.  Here is my blog: http://benjaminkahen.blogspot....

Leave your comment on the comment section of the blog!

Jackson
Jackson

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Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

I just hope the missus doesn't call the Israelis "you people".

eileen fleming
eileen fleming

You know why Israel does not want to be America's 51st state? Because then they would only have two senators!

I am Eileen Fleming for US HOUSE of Representatives, District 5, Fl. and I approve of all of my messages.

http://www.eileenfleming.org/

eileen fleming
eileen fleming

ACCORDING to the website: ivoteisrael.com:

“iVoteIsrael is a diverse group of Americans who currently reside in

Israel. We come from all over Israel, and all over the US. We are deeply

concerned about the safety, security and future of Israel. Most

importantly, we want to see a President in the White House who will

support and stand by Israel in absolute commitment to its safety,

security and right to defend itself.

“Americans for Jerusalem is a registered 501(c)4 and will run the

iVoteIsrael Campaign – with the ‘desire to see a Congress and

Administration who will support and stand by Israel in absolute

commitment to its safety, security and right to self-defense.’”

Most noteworthy for Americans to comprehend are iVoteIsrael’s following bullet points:

“Children of American citizens born abroad (even if they have

never resided in the U.S.) are eligible to vote in all federal elections

in 22 States (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Georgia, Hawaii,

Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New

York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island,

Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) and the District of

Columbia. Even if your state does not appear on this list you are still

encouraged to send in an application.”

“As an American citizen you have a legal right to vote in all

elections. As an Israeli-American, the next President and Congress will

probably have a significantly more profound impact on your life and

security than the average American.”

“Whether we like it or not who wins the US presidential election

has a big influence on the State of Israel. As Israel’s best ally and

biggest supporter, we need to make sure that the United States has

someone running the country that has the best interest of Israel in

mind.”

“You vote in the state and county of your last residence.

Children of American citizens who have never lived in the U.S. vote in

the State and County of their parents’ last residence.”

“Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America.”- Rep. Steve

Rothman said before he was defeated in the Democratic primaries by

Zionist forces who accused him of such ‘crimes’ as signing J-Street’s

‘Gaza 54 letter‘ which included condemnation of Israel with regard to

Operation Defensive Shield.

PS: My open letter to The House RE: Operation Defensive Shield @

http://wearewideawake.org/inde...

eileen fleming
eileen fleming

Many American Christian Evangelicals interpreted the creation of the

state of Israel in 1948 and the return of the Jews to the Hebrews

ancient homeland as a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ.

Millions of Americans believe in the escapist theology espoused in the “Left

Behind” series of novels that chronicle apocalyptic times set in the

21st century that winds up in Israel where, according to the author’s

understanding of the Book of Revelation, the final battle in the world

will be fought on an ancient battlefield called Armageddon.

These literalists–EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO JESUS!- believe that war

will be followed by seven years of global tribulation before Jesus

returns to begin a 1,000-year rule on earth; but the Jews and all others

who do not believe Jesus is God will be annihilated.

These misguided Christian fundamentalists are a match made in hell

with the hard line Jewish fundamentalist settlers who occupy Palestinian

legally owned property in the West Bank.

The Jewish settlers and Christian fundamentalists share the core

conviction that God made a real estate deal with the ancient Hebrews

that gives 21st century Jews every grain of sand between the Dead Sea,

the Jordan River, and the Mediterranean; but they all neglect the real

estate deal was contingent upon the ancients upholding their end of that

bargain!

“From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught…that the

Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral

and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would,

as the Torah tells us, ‘vomit you out’ if people did not live according

to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah

repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah [command]:

“When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other,

the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then

not only ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’ but also ‘you shall

love the other.’”-Rabbi Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine, page 35, Sept./Oct.

2007

My question as a candidate for US HOUSE of Representatives, District 5, Florida to Romney is will he view the real wailing wall and Israel's WMD Facility?

http://wearewideawake.org/inde...

pargerpaser
pargerpaser

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Jackson
Jackson

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Parger
Parger

just as Lois

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vstillwell
vstillwell

Iran, her we come!

Another day, another war in the Mideast. I say we send Mitt's boys this time. 

Christopher Fisher
Christopher Fisher

Cut the leash. It's high time America stop soiling its reputation in defense of a useless desert nation that provides no benefits to us. 

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 except oil.

republicans bleed black, if romney were to be cut id bet dollars to doughnuts his blood would be crude.

why do you think were in the middle east? its nots because we have a moral duty to bring democracy to a war-ridden area.

its because the middle east is full of oil. and as fat, rich, white americans our congress and their corporate buddies want it.

because those shameless heathens in the middle east dont need oil.

crescentfang
crescentfang

Funding missile defenses helps US interests and doesn't get people killed.  Attacking Iran to please Israel will get Americans killed and make us more enemies.  We can make our own enemies, we don't need to borrow Israel's.  Romney is listening to too many warmongers.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 funding american missle defense systems however is a time and money sink. we dont need a reagun to shoot down missles, like the republicans think we do.

we dont need to have our paw in everything, either. i would love to see what happens, if for four years, america became a passive nation and focused on infrastructure and domestic issues. i can only imagine the devastation the world would go into.

Steven Janiszewski
Steven Janiszewski

 

Mitt “Cyborg” Romney's visit

shouldn't give Israel much confidence or win many Jewish votes. In

Mormonism, Mormons are the Chosen People;

and Jews are the

Gentiles. To gain an existential understanding of the cult that

produced Mitt “Cyborg” Romney, and to get your socks scared off

read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew, available

at:

www.amazon.com/Assassination-S...

Its brown-eyed, part-Mexican Mormon assassin dramatizes the Mormon

superiority complex manifesting as jingoism and an anti-federal

government temperament. It shows the similarities between Islam

and Mormonism and reveals the spiritual power, which is not the

Holy Ghost, behind the cult.

“With a clarity of language and vision unsurpassed in

contemporary American prose, Steven Janiszewski's Assassination

of Spiro Agnew takes us into a U.S. mazed with madness and

Mormonism and all things Utah, a U.S. that was then and still is. Do

we need a novel, even as brilliant as this one, about a young man on

a divine mission to assassinate the Vice President because he is too

liberal? Yes, now more than ever. Readers, welcome to a

masterpiece.”

tomwhalen.com

Read The Assassination

of Spiro Agnew.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

Of course, Jews living in isreal and registered to vote in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin better hope that the GOP efforts to remove people from the rolls doesn't just eliminate their right to vote with no way to recover on election day.  Just collateral damage like the large GOP losses expected in the PA efforts where they though they were eliminating just 700,000 Democratic voters and it turns out that over half are registered Republicans.  Oops!

Al Dente
Al Dente

Abortion is legal in Israel yet I don't hear Christians bitching about the billions in taxpayer dollars Congress sends in aid to Israel each year.

Sara Rose
Sara Rose

Romney to Israeli Parliament: "My fellow Americans..."

georgiamd
georgiamd

Obama is losing ground with Independents AND Jewish voters:

Eleanor Clift Shocker: 'Independent Voters Souring on Obama ...

Eleanor Clift Shocker: 'Independent Voters Souring on Obama' ... He is also losing a sizable portion of Jewish voters in New York state over the ...

newsbusters.org/.../2012/...in... - Ca

This is quickly becoming Obama's summer of discontent.

On Friday, the perilously liberal Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift,

offered readers a shockingly dour piece about the state of the current

White House resident's reelection campaign.

Su3mb
Su3mb

I learnd about "ellow journalism" when I was in grade school, but I never thought I'd grow up to see it every day.  I used to respect Time, in fact, I used to subscribe to it, but they have such a wacked-out view of the word and they slant their stories with the words they choose to use that I am totally disgusted with them.

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

So he is telling them that Israel is no longer the holy land right? That when Jesus comes back it will be in Missouri as is given in the Book of Mormon?

thecrud
thecrud

We pray to rock walls you have magic underwear, match made in heaven.

come_home
come_home

Romney is bought and paid for by the Zionists.

Romney, an Eye on Campaign, Plans a Trip to Israel...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07...

Netanyahu and Romney worked together in 1976 at the Boston Consulting Group. They are not close friends but have kept up ties through the years.

Mr. Netanyahu offered Mr. Romney pointers on how to shrink government in Massachusetts, and Mr. Romney later counseled Mr. Netanyahu on which American officials to meet with as he tried to encourage pension funds to divest of Iranian businesses, with the help of Bain Capital I'm sure.

That's all we need, Israel telling us how to run our country!

Eric11210
Eric11210

In other words, Romney and Netanyahu are acquainted with each other and remain on friendly terms and heaven forbid that someone who wants to be president should happen to have friendly relations with the PM of an important ally.

Eric11210
Eric11210

And Obama is bought and paid for by George Soros.

come_home
come_home

@facebook-100000039777325:disqus Oh the Mormons are Zionists alright. They believe they are Jews from "the stick of Ephraim", also they believe that Native Americans are Jews too, that's what the Book of Mormon is all about, if you can stay awake long enough to read through it.

Almost everyone is a jew in happy Mormon theology... except for maybe black people.

Matt McLaughlin
Matt McLaughlin

 If one inspects the Mormon position on the Israeli/non-Israeli conflict of Palestine it is noticeable that one of the Mormon church's favorite phrases is that, '...it doesn't take sides." Then what is Mitt Romney doing overseas advocating for an Israel let alone a 'Jewish state'?

Latter Day President Howard W. Hunter on the subject: “We do not need to apologize nor mitigate any of the prophecies concerning the Holy Land. We believe them and declare them to be true. But this does not give us justification to dogmatically pronounce that others of our Father’s children are not children of promise. … Both the Jews and the Arabs are children of our Father. They are both children of promise, and as a church we do not take sides. We have love for and an interest in each.” (Devotional speech BYU 1979)

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

 Yep. The decendents of the Jewish tribes loaded up in a wooden submarine and came to the new world where they became the native americans. Of course if you look at mormon art work those native americans were white people, but who cares about those pesky little inconsistencies?

smooth edward
smooth edward

Mitt hasn’t said anything yet. So far, so good.

Sara Rose
Sara Rose

Romney to Netanyahu: "Hey, after church this Sunday, let's me and you go out for pork ribs."

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

 

Romney should be more knowledgeable of foreign policy since

he knows every corner of the world he can hide his money!  He’s already has international financial ties

which run all the way from Switzerland to the Cayman Islands.  Never mind that he’s never been involved with

politics outside of the US- only his millions of dollars have.  Read about the role of Mitt’s money and his

Magic Mormon Underwear are playing in the polls at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...

where you can see for yourself the true power of both on display in full color!

Mark Fields
Mark Fields

Mitt Romney is the most dis honest piece of garbage ever to live the US .  Beside his best friend . Grover fat pig Norquest.  Grover is so fat and un shavin he smells like sht and pss in between his fat tissue.  The guy is a lazy fat slob. His McDonald's diet and never shaving proves he is a worthless lazy fat slob and the Republican party has to call him before they can make a decision.  Do the stupid Republicans know what  fat pig want's because it is grover fat pig that will be telling Snake Mitt what to do.  And that is a fact.  The Republican party is in dire straights.  The party is so broken they fight in front of everyone And none of them are on the same page as the Dems are professional and get along and are on the same page

3xfire3
3xfire3

Mark,

You speak like a piece of garbage which leads me to believe that's what you are.

We don't allow garbage like you in the Republican Party. I guess that's why you're unclean mind supports the liberal cause.

You really should show more respect for the next President of the USA and Leader of the Free World.

sacredh
sacredh

Mark should show more respect for the next President of the USA and Leader of the Free World? Hypocrite. You don't show any respect for the REAL President of the USA and Leader of the Free World. Trot out an imaginary President and suddenly he deserves respect. You live in a very strange world.

outsider2011
outsider2011

 Not to mention the fact that 3x, you sound like total trailer trash, calling someone else garbage.

Hypocrite.

thecrud
thecrud

 I take it you have magic underwear too.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields

Im sure tax evader snake mitt is hiding American dollar's in Israel to.  Sometime i wonder if the Republicans have takin the foreign oath that they will do whatever they can for any country outside the US while screwing the US.   Romney is a lying snake and if he is elected the US will go into depression status for at least 4 years.  Tax evader mitt can't do anymore then Obama can to revive this economy.  Fact.  everyone i know working in shops or corporations are so busy in the US they are working 10 and 12 hour days. My irrigation company is on fire im so busy.  Things are not as bad as Romney and his broken party make it out to be.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Mark,

YDKWTFYTA.

Poll: Romney beats Obama on who would best promote Israel's interests

The Jerusalem Post

"What Israelis know about Romney: He's not Obama," observes Jerusalem Post diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon, anticipating Mitt Romney's 36-hour visit to Israel this weekend. Though the locals know little about him, Mr. Romney still outpolls President Obama, says a Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies survey asking Israelis who would best promote Israel's interests.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

I don't give a rat's a$$ about who will better promote Israel's interests. As an American, I care about America's interests. That's one of the differences between us.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Mark,

You're a real pain in the a*s.

outsider2011
outsider2011

 3x why is Mark a pain in the a$s?

Because he said that he and people he know are actually busy, working hard?

See Mark, 3x here is a kool-aid drinker, and he's been intellectually castrated as a result.

Where are your priorities 3x?

Is the country more important, or is the party?

If everyone Mark knows is busy, it's because the economy is picking up - at least for him, and the people he knows, in his area.

Why is that a bad thing? It would only be a bad thing if you're putting party first.

This isn't 1939, nor is it the USSR - party should NOT come first.

And if you cared about the US at all, you'd be happy for your fellow countrymen working hard, because there is enough work for him to do.

outsider2011
outsider2011

 Yeah Mark! Stop raning on the GOP's mantra of the economy is bad, it's all Obama's fault.

See, 3x couldn't tell you that you were wrong (that your company is thriving), so he just went all personal on you.

He does that.

He's been intellectually castrated from drinking the GOP kool aid - so he resorts to lashing out with insults instead of arguing.

3x, why is Mark a pain the ass? All he did in this post that you chose to respond to, was state that everyone he knows is busy at work, and his company is thriving.

Why is that bad news?

It should only be bad news if you value the GOP more than you value your country.

Otherwise you'd be happy for Mark and the people he knows.

Just where ARE your priorities?

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Did Romney save any gaffes for Jerusalem, or did he use them all up in London?

Matt McLaughlin
Matt McLaughlin

he championed an exclusively Jewish state Israel when Mormons are instructed not to take sides in the Israeli/non-Israeli conflict. If one inspects the Mormon position on the Israeli/non-Israeli conflict of Palestine it is noticeable that one of the Mormon church's favorite phrases is that, '...it doesn't take sides." Then what is Mitt Romney doing overseas advocating for an Israel let alone a 'Jewish state'?

Latter Day President Howard W. Hunter on the subject: “We do not need to apologize nor mitigate any of the prophecies concerning the Holy Land. We believe them and declare them to be true. But this does not give us justification to dogmatically pronounce that others of our Father’s children are not children of promise. … Both the Jews and the Arabs are children of our Father. They are both children of promise, and as a church we do not take sides. We have love for and an interest in each.” (Devotional speech BYU 1979)

zzz05
zzz05

Waiting for him to ask where's the bacon at breakfast.

democratlives
democratlives

Obama has never been to Israel. Quite the failed leader he is, eh? 

Remember Michelle Obama in 2008, "This is the first time I've ever been proud to be an American." really?

Elect a real American president.

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

President Obama went to Isreal when he was running for the presidency.  He has not been back since being elected.

Danyz
Danyz

Mitt is an attractive  mannequin with toy ideas spinning around in his brain. He is no statesman. He has a doctirnaire vision of the end times where he fancies himself a great figure, and so his back patting of paramilitary Christians in Israel awaiting the end times. He has no grasp of the plurality of thought that made America great. Are you willing to be a pawn in Mormon machinations?

zzz05
zzz05

Never mind Obama's birth certificate, I'm still waiting to see some sort of Xray to show that Romney is a human being. He shows no evidence of familiarity with human behavior or emotion.

Omeezy82
Omeezy82

A man who was born with no money. Without a father, and with all the odds against him. Lives the American Dream by getting into college and becoming a lawyer through hard work and preserverance. He loses his mother to cancer because she has no insurance. He experienced life events that 99% of Americans have to go through.

VS

A man born into a wealthy family with a silver spoon. You tell me which one is more American? Which person has experienced REAL middle class issues? Romney is an aristocrat from 3 generations of super wealth same with George Bush. Clinton and Obama are men who came from nothing and are truly living the American dream.