Commentary Magazine


Romney Trip Puts Obama on Defensive

The New York Times reports that Mitt Romney will visit Israel to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu this summer, marking his fourth trip to the country:

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will visit Israel this summer to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders, a senior aide to the prime minister confirmed on Monday evening.

Mr. Romney, who has pledged to “do the opposite” of the Obama administration on matters pertaining to Israel, is also expected to meet with Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority; President Shimon Peres of Israel; the American ambassador, Daniel B. Shapiro; and leaders of the opposition Labor Party in Jerusalem. He plans to have at least one public event in a trip that will likely last less than two days.

“He’s a strong friend of Israel and we’ll be happy to meet with him,” said Ron Dermer, Mr. Netanyahu’s senior adviser, who worked with Republicans in the United States before immigrating here. “We value strong bipartisan support for Israel and we’re sure it will only deepen that.”

Prominent Democratic donors have criticized President Obama for avoiding Israel during his first term, despite his trips to other countries in the region. Even Vladimir Putin traveled to the Jewish state this summer, which made Obama’s failure to visit even more obvious.

Members of Romney’s own campaign have been quietly grumbling that the candidate spends very little time focused on foreign policy. The Israel trip will give Romney a chance to broach some of these issues, while also putting the Obama campaign on defense. If there’s one subject Obama wants to talk about less than the economy, it’s his rocky relationship with Netanyahu.