To drive his apparent disdain for Palestinian rights home, Romney referred to Jerusalem as Israel's capital, something the Obama administration avoids because the Palestinians hope that East Jerusalem might someday become the capital of their future state.
Besides ignoring Palestinian desires for statehood and self-determination, Romney finished his speech with flowery -- and some might say hypocritical -- rhetoric about the commitment of the United States and Israel to the rule of law and to democracy. He said:
"We both believe in democracy, in the right of every people to select their leaders and choose their nation's course. We both believe in the rule of law, knowing that in its absence, willful men may incline to oppress the weak. We both believe that our rights are universal, granted not by government but by our Creator. ...
"I believe that the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world. America's support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchstones.
"No country or organization or individual should ever doubt this basic truth: A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel. And standing by Israel does not mean with military and intelligence cooperation alone. We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel, voice their criticisms. And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel's adversaries.
"By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization, will pry us apart. And as long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat we cannot overcome and very little that we cannot achieve."
The New York Times reported that among the Americans flown to Israel to witness Romney's speech were casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has vowed to spend $100 million to defeat Obama; Cheryl Halpern, a New Jersey Republican and advocate for Israel; Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets; John Miller, chief executive of the National Beef Packing Company; John Rakolta, a Detroit real estate developer; L. E. Simmons, the owner of a private-equity firm in Texas with ties to the oil industry; Paul Singer, founder of a $20 billion hedge fund; and Eric Tanenblatt, a Romney fund-raiser in Atlanta.
[For the full text of Romney's speech, click here.]
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