vrijdag 27 januari 2012

How Republican candidates gain votes by outbidding each other's pro-Israelism

Mitt Romney (l) and Newt Gingrich.

I've alsways been amazed by how easy it often seems to be for conservatives (politicians, journalists and others) to have their way without having to prove that they are even familiar with the subjects they are giving opinions on. This goes for conservatives of all kinds. Progressive people usually arm themselves with arguments, data, and figures and usually still meet problems in convincing their audiences. Rightists, however, often demonstrate a total lack of knowledge of even the most basic facts and still get huge applauses.
The Republican presidential candidates Romney and Gingrich are cases in point. Gingrich already made the headlines earlier by making the nonsenical statement that the Palestinians are 'an invented people', for which his campaign (his 'superpac') was awarded two donations of $ 5 million each, from Las Vegas hotel- and casinomagnate Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire and among other things also the main sponsor of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
But below is another example that not only Gingrich, but also his main opponent Mitt Romney, gets away by making statements about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which give away that he is not familiar with even the most basisc facts. The remarks are an excerpt of their debate in Florida on 26 January. Moderator is CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

One can only strongly hope that whoever of these two will get the Republican nomination, will never get enough votes to beat Obama.  (Till one reads the news in Haaretz that Dennis Ross, the man who served four consecutive presidents and was responsble to a large extend for all failures and catstrofes in the peqace process since about 1981, is still giving advice to Oabma on a regular base, even though he quit his post as senior advisor on the Middle East and Iran. Maybe it is just time that the US takes it hand off the Isareli-Palestinian file altogether and that ne frameworks are invented?)   

(UNKNOWN): Abraham Hassel (ph) from Jacksonville, Florida.

How would a Republican administration help bring peace to Palestine and Israel when most candidates barely recognize the existence of Palestine or its people? As a Palestinian-American Republican, I'm here to tell you we do exist.

BLITZER: All right. Let's ask Governor Romney, first of all.

What would you say to Abraham?

ROMNEY: Well, the reason that there's not peace between the Palestinians and Israel is because there is -- in the leadership of the Palestinian people are Hamas and others who think like Hamas, who have as their intent the elimination of Israel. And whether it's in school books that teach how to kill Jews, or whether it's in the political discourse that is spoken either from Fatah or from Hamas, there is a belief that the Jewish people do not have a right to have a Jewish state.

There are some people who say, should we have a two-state solution? And the Israelis would be happy to have a two-state solution. It's the Palestinians who don't want a two-state solution. They want to eliminate the state of Israel.

And I believe America must say -- and the best way to have peace in the Middle East is not for us to vacillate and to appease, but is to say, we stand with our friend Israel. We are committed to a Jewish state in Israel. We will not have an inch of difference between ourselves and our ally, Israel.

This president went before the United Nations and castigated Israel for building settlements. He said nothing about thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip. This president threw --

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I think he threw Israel under the bus with regards to defining the '67 borders as a starting point of negotiations. I think he disrespected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

I think he has time and time again shown distance from Israel, and that has created, in my view, a greater sense of aggression on the part of the Palestinians. I will stand with our friend, Israel.

BLITZER: Thank you, Governor.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, you got into a little hot water when you said the Palestinians were an invented people. GINGRICH: It was technically an invention of the late 1970s, and it was clearly so. Prior to that, they were Arabs. Many of them were either Syrian, Lebanese, or Egyptian, or Jordanian.

There are a couple of simple things here. There were 11 rockets fired into Israel in November. Now, imagine in Duvall County that 11 rockets hit from your neighbor. How many of you would be for a peace process and how many of you would say, you know, that looks like an act of war.

You have leadership unequivocally, and Governor Romney is exactly right, the leadership of Hamas says, not a single Jew will remain. We aren't having a peace negotiation then. This is war by another form.

My goal for the Palestinian people would be to live in peace, to live in prosperity, to have the dignity of a state, to have freedom. and they can achieve it any morning they are prepared to say Israel has a right to exist, we give up the right to return, and we recognize that we're going to live side-by-side, now let's work together to create mutual prosperity.

And you could in five years dramatically improve the quality of life of every Palestinian. But the political leadership would never tolerate that. And that's why we're in a continuous state of war where Obama undermines the Israelis.

On the first day that I'm president, if I do become president, I will sign an executive order directing the State Department to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send the signal we're with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

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