Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has said he will do “the opposite” of Barack Obama when it comes to Israel, returning to a line of attack that seeks to portray the president as no friend to America’s traditional Middle East ally.
Speaking via videolink to religious conservatives attending the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington DC, Romney accused Obama of being more concerned about Israel attacking Iran than Tehran obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,” the Republican presidential nominee said in regards to Middle East policy.
The comments mark the first time that Romney has discussed policy towards Israel since the White House race began in earnest, and could indicate a line of attack for the Republicans going forward.
Speaking just days before a crucial round of talks with Iran over its nuclear programme, Romney hit out at the White House for a perceived weak stance on the issue.
“He’s almost sounded like he’s more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear,” Romney said.
The attack on Obama’s policy towards Israel is seen by many in Republican ranks as a possible vote winner in the run up to November’s election.
During the primary race, a succession of conservative candidates ought to make political mileage out of the issue.
Romney himself accused the president of “repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus”.
Other senior Republicans have gone as far as accusing Obama of “appeasing” terrorists in his handling of stalled talks over Palestinian.
Pro-Israeli lobby groups have accused the White House of hardening its stance towards Israel.
They point towards demands by Obama that illegal settlement building activity in the West Bank be frozen as a condition of restarting negotiations.
Moreover, many within America’s Jewish community have attacked the administration’s position that talks between the Palestinians and Israeli government should take the 1967 border as a starting point.
Such criticisms could be damaging to the president during an election year, with Republican strategists hoping that painting Obama as, at best, a lukewarm friend to Israel may result in a larger percentage of the Jewish vote going their way.
But Democrats have accused Romney of distorting Obama’s record on Israel.
Spokesman Ben LaBolt said Obama has given Israel more security assistance than any other administration and has stood with Israel at the United Nations.
British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate
Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.
The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.
In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.
Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6
President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.
Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.
Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019
Here are 10 women who wouldn’t be silenced in 2018
It's been 26 years since the so-called "Year of the Woman," when a record number of women were elected to Congress in 1992. Four senators and 24 representatives were sent to Capitol Hill, following contentious Supreme Court hearings for then-nominee Clarence Thomas, who was accused by Anita Hill of sexual harassment.
On several levels, the themes of 1992 have made repeat, and amplified, appearances this year. The #MeToo movement became fully realized with women reclaiming and reframing their stories, as President Donald Trump, himself accused many times of sexual predator behavior settled further into the White House. Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, also accused of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court, and while Kavanaugh would go on to attain a seat on the highest court in the land, serial sexual predator and former beloved comedian Bill Cosby was sent to prison for the drugging and rape of Andrea Constand, only one of dozens of women who have spoken out against Cosby with credible accusations of assault.