Republican presidential candidates vow to adopt a stronger alliance with Israel and a tougher stand against Iran than the policies implemented by President Barack Obama, The Hill
The candidates presented their views at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington Wednesday.
All of them promised to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, from Tel Aviv. This has been a promise of presidential candidates through the years, but has never happened. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann even offered a way to finance the move, saying she has received a pledge from a private donor to pay for it.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum offered the most aggressive threats against Iran, basically pledging military attacks. Iran’s attempts to build nuclear weapons “increasingly leaves only two options: a military strike or a nuclear Iran,” Perry said. He made clear his preference for the former.
“I know people in this country are tired of war,” Santorum said. But we’ve already begun a “long war” against Islamic extremism and must soldier onward in that conflict.
Gingrich vowed to shift from Obama’s policy of sanctions against Iran to “regime replacement.” Under a Gingrich presidency, the United States would secretly sabotage Iran’s main oil refinery, he said, adding, “It’s better to stop them early than to stop them late.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he would push to have Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “indicted for the crime of incitement to genocide.”
Romney surrogate, former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, said a stronger policy toward Iran would actually increase the odds for peace. That’s because Romney would achieve “compliance in the face of strength, which you’re not getting now,” Coleman said.
The candidates promised a sharp shift from Obama’s policy of welcoming new Democratic governments in the Mideast and hoping that extremist Islamists don’t hijack political control.
Our relationship with the Muslim world is “based on a pack of lies,” Gingrich said, warning of the dangers of radical Islam. He said he would get tougher with the Gulf states. Gingrich can’t understand “the fact that Hillary Clinton could talk about discrimination against women in Israel, then meet the Saudis.”
Gingrich also pledged to offer the secretary of state job to John Bolton, George W. Bush’s hawkish U.N. envoy.
Joshua London, co-director of government relations for the Zionist Organization of America, appreciated the candidates’ remarks as a hopeful harbinger of change. “That would cause a lot of fighting domestically, but I think it’s a healthy fight to have, even if the outcome is indeterminate,” he said
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