Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mitt Romney's ignorant, far-right views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Trashing 47% of the American people wasn't the only thing Mitt Romney did at that $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton on May 17.

As David Corn of Mother Jones reports, he also expressed his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asserting that "the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. He added:

And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way." And so what you do is you say, "You move things along the best way you can." You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently.

And: "The idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world."

As Corn notes, these views conflict with his own party's platform, which stresses the desire for a two-state solution. And Romney himself has said that he supports a two-state solution, including in July: "I believe in a two-state solution which suggests there will be two states, including a Jewish state."

Once more, then, we see Romney the two-faced opportunist saying two different things, and taking two very different positions, in front of two different audiences. As Corn writes: "Romney's remarks to these funders -- this was one of his longest answers at the fundraiser -- suggest he might be hiding his true beliefs regarding Israel and the peace process and that on this subject he is out of sync with the predominant view in foreign policy circles that has existed for decades."

Now, Romney ought to be asked -- and perhaps he will be, at one of the upcoming debates -- about his views on this matter. There is a blatant self-contradiction here, perhaps a strategic one involving lying to voters, and he ought to be required to answer for it.

But let's say his views are indeed those he expressed at the fundraiser. Well, then, he's an extremist, much further to the right on this issue, and on foreign policy generally, than he would have us, and voters generally, believe. Because when you're even further to the right than the Republican Party's platform, well, that puts you pretty far out there on the right. And on this matter it aligns you with a subset of the most extreme neocons and against the broad consensus that has developed, even with ongoing disagreements over the details.

Furthermore, it suggests to me that he would do nothing as president to provide the sort of leadership that is needed to resolve this decades-long crisis. Okay, he wouldn't push for war, and his remarks do show a sense of moderation and humility, but he also seems to have given up on peace, embracing the pro-Israeli status quo that most sensible people realize is simply untenable, not to mention unjust.

And it's not at all like China and Taiwan, because Taiwan, whatever the mainland might like to think, is an independent and sovereign nation and is treated as such by the international community. Indeed, Mitt the foreign policy ignoramus may not know this, but the U.S. has actually supported Taiwan all along, including militarily, and of course supported the Taiwanese and their independence against the Communists on the mainland. Such has certainly not been the case with the Palestinians. Not even close.

I know I'm repeating myself, but more and more we're seeing that Romney is unprepared, unqualified, and unfit to be president. He insulted the Palestinians and revealed his astonishing ignorance during his trip to Israel, and this is really just more of the same.

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