Monday, July 30, 2012

Thank You for Visiting, Mr. Romney

I try to stay away from in-camp arguments in public.  Unless there are factual errors, rather than differences of opinion, I have found that disputes really do no good.

However, since the article in question I am bothered about was posted online, and by Ynet, thus assuring wide distribution, and since I have already been asked about it, and I have a feeling it will come back to haunt us,I cannot but relate to it and will do so compactly.

The article expresses a negative view of Mitt Romney's visit to Israel.  No, not from a J Street or Open Zion standpoint, nor even from the Democratic National Committee but from an official spokesperson from the Samaria Regional Council, of all people.

The op-ed's theme is that

Romney's decision to visit Western Wall on Tisha B'Av for photo op is insult to Jews 

and he suggests

Romney's repeating of the expected mantra about America standing with Israel if Israel attacks Iran is not very convincing, and is pretty close to meaningless

and that he feels

unhappy today with Mitt Romney's visit to Israel: not because of the intention, which I believe is good, but because of the choice of the visit's date - which is terrible.

and asks that we

Think of this distinguished visitor coming to the Kotel for a photo op, all shining clean and smiling – while walking by Jews sitting on the ground in mourning for our Temple that once towered over that very spot. It is about as close as an insult to our dignity as could be conceived.

Well, to be kind, I could say that it was Tisha B'Av and the fasting affected his writing.

Or that since Mitt is a Mormon, maybe this was a blow for Christians.

Or perhaps he wasn't invited to any of the events (I don't know that and I myself was excluded although if I had stayed at the Western Wall Plaza instead of going straight to the Rav Goren Minyan maybe I would have seen him).

It's not that there isn't a logic in the piece.  Nevertheless, it doesn't make sense.

I saw hundreds of Jews doing the exact same thing, taking pictures, standing next to the Kotel and all, there yesterday.  Local residents and from afar.  And dressed quite less modestly that the Romneys.

Not only that, but the words Mitt spoke before and after the visit to the Western Wall were superb.  The photos were wonderful (see how I used one).  And after all, the Wall is but the external portion of what is truly sacred - the Temple Mount.

As some people wrote to me:

- although the timing at first seemed problematic, he turned it around and made it one of the utmost support for Jerusalem exactly on the most proper day - Tisha B'Av and I am given to understand that family members fasted for a period of time in empathy and the trip to City of David was powerful.

- the meetings with Mofaz and Yechimovitch were cancelled which means that the Kotel is more important.

- Abbas was not on his visitors' list. 

- his statement on Jerusalem as Israel's capital was unequivical.

Someone else bemoaned that 

"we never miss an opportunity to shoot ourselves in the foot."

And this is being plain mean:

It is something like coming to someone's mother's funeral and asking for cake, and then posting your picture all over the internet eating the cake, and commenting how much you love your host and promising to put in a good word for him if he has a problem with his neighbors.

If anything, it is possibly the next President of the United States coming to visit you when you are down and out and assuring you that he is your friend.  He took out time from an election campaign, losing stateside time and money and exposure, to make a point---

America is Israel's friend despite the current Administration and despite the State Department.  That the Bible-believers there will fight Israel's fight. And that he is comfortable with Jewish support. That is well-worth any slight - and I think there was none - that some people think was done. 


For further reading

Elliot Abrams.

B. Bismuth.

David Weinberg.

Noah Pollak.

Jeffrey Tobin.



...emphasized faith—a subject he rarely addresses on the campaign trail back home.
"I am overwhelmingly impressed with the hand of providence, whenever it chooses to apply itself, and also the greatness of the human spirit, and how individuals who reach for greatness and have purpose above themselves are able to build and accomplish things that could only be done by a species created in the image of God," Romney said. "I come to this place, therefore, with a sense of profound humility, as I look around here at great people who've accomplished a great thing, and also a sense of spiritual connection, acknowledging the hand of providence in establishing this place and making it a holy city."

Oh, oh.  Look who agrees with the op-ed, Jeffrey Goldberg:

I would like very much to deal with the issue of Romney's tacky photo-op at the site of the obliterated Jewish Temple on one of the most solemn days on the Jewish calendar (the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin and I had a little bit of an argument on this matter on Twitter yesterday, and she continues to believe that the Western Wall is an appropriate campaign stop for an American presidential candidate, especially on the day Jews set aside to mourn for the destruction of the Temple. I'm sure, by the way, that Rubin would endorse an Obama campaign stop at Yad Vashem on the Holocaust Memorial Day.) 

Not very smart.  Holocaust Day is the day personalities visit Yad Vashem.



Daniel said...

I liked your comment on Goldbergs site. The posting on Tisha B'Av was quite hilarious as we're many of the comments.
I think it's chutzpadik for those who never heard of tisha b'Av or ever observed it to feign such outrage.

NormanF said...

In my opinion Jews who consider it an insult Mitt Romney paid a visit to the Kotel on Tisha B'Av are the ones who have been insulting G-d for decades.

They are very same people who have come up with the most contrived excuses to avoid building anew Beit HaMikdash.

They are the ones who need to ask G-d for forgiveness for not ending Israel's spiritual exile - as well for insulting a foreign guest who reminded Jews as long as they are afraid to rebuild the Jewish Temple - Tisha B'Av will remain a day of mourning!

The League Of Trembling Israelites is alive and well!