She opposes the Palestinian “right to return” and she’d recognize Israel’s right to the Golan Heights. She was the only candidate to say that she would support Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. She was also the only candidate to compliment President Obama, mentioning his threat to veto any U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. She finished by repeating a quote from Hitler where he said, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
“Ahmadinejad is counting on the same collective memory today as he marches towards a second holocaust,” Bachmann finished.
Rick Perry opened up by talking about the captivity of two Jewish-Americans, Alan Gross in Cuba and Warren Weinstein in Pakistan. He said that the U.S. should not encourage tourism to Cuba until Gross is released and should cut aid to Pakistan. He was the only candidate to explicitly say that he supports a Palestinian state, but said that it would only come once the Palestinians renounce Hamas, directly negotiate a settlement with Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
Perry spoke about sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank but did not make any other suggestions. He rebutted criticism that his pledge to start all foreign aid at zero would hurt Israel. He said that Israel would actually have increased aid under a Perry Administration. He was the only one to talk about his own personal trip to Israel, specifically his visits to the Western Wall, Masada and Sderot and his meeting with Natan Sharansky.
Rick Santorum supported those who refer to the War on Terror as “The Long War.” He said that the U.S. mustn’t rely upon Israel to stop Iran from going nuclear and spoke at length about how Mutually Assured Destruction will not work with the regime. He called for funding the protesters, establishing a fund to support Iranian workers that go on strike, providing telecommunications equipment to the opposition and covert activity. He said that any scientist working on Iran’s nuclear program should be considered an “enemy combatant,” just like a member of Al-Qaeda would.
In response to a question, Santorum warned of the threat from Latin America. He said that “militant socialists” had teamed up with radical Islamists to form a bloc of Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. He said that the U.S. needs alliances in the Western Hemisphere designed to counter them.
Jon Huntsman spoke almost entirely about domestic matters. He spoke about his close friendship with the Israeli ambassador to China and promised to stop Iran from going nuclear. He said that if Iran gets nukes, then so will Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and others. He downplayed the threat from China, saying that their economic growth is slowing down. He called for an end to “nation building” in Afghanistan and only having enough forces there to train the Afghan security forces, gather intelligence and act as a rapid reaction force.
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s forum is likely to be the last event with an emphasis on foreign policy and the Middle East. The dominant issue is the economy but a crisis can erupt at any moment. Primary voters would be wise to remember that they are choosing a potential Commander-in-Chief.
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