Washington, DC -- APN today condemned some of the comments delivered by GOP presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday in Jerusalem. APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:
"It is deeply troubling that Governor Romney, his advisors, and some of his key supporters are seeking to exploit Israel as a partisan issue to score political points in this election campaign. This is a reckless and irresponsible tactic that comes at the expense of the best interests of both the U.S. and Israel.
"Since the birth of the Jewish state, American political leaders from both parties have demonstrated unwavering support for the special relationship between the United States and Israel. This relationship is anchored in shared values and interests, and in the historical imperative to establish a secure homeland for the Jewish people. America's commitment to Israel has been reflected in strong economic, military, and diplomatic support and cooperation, backed by both parties, helping Israel survive and flourish in a dangerous region.
"The special U.S.-Israel relationship has been buttressed by America's clear national security interest - recognized by Republican and Democratic administrations alike - in seeing a secure and strong Israel living at peace with its neighbors. All American presidents have understood that working to achieve Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace must be a cornerstone of any serious U.S. approach to confronting challenges emanating from this volatile region. For Presidents from both parties, this has at times meant taking issue with certain Israeli policies and practices - for example, as relates to settlements. It has also included a recognition that certain actions, like moving the American embassy to Jerusalem outside of the context of a peace agreement, would be reckless and counter-productive.
"In the context of the current election, we urge both Governor Romney and President Obama to recognize that genuine pro-Israel credentials aren't measured in political grandstanding. We urge them - for the sake of both the United States and Israel - to refrain from statements that senselessly foreclose political or diplomatic options, create obstacles for American diplomacy in the Middle East, or recklessly reduce complex, sensitive issues, like the future of Jerusalem or other permanent status issues on the Israeli-Palestinian agenda, to zero-sum terms.
"For Israel, the best American president will not be the one who, in the heat of the campaign, succeeded in outflanking his opponent with dogmatically hawkish positions on Jerusalem or Iran, or the one who pledged that, if elected, he would never disagree with any Israeli action or policy - in effect promising to hand over the reins of American policy in the Middle East to an Israeli prime minister.
"Rather, the best American president - for Israel and the United States - will be the one who, during this campaign and in office, re-asserts American strength and credibility in the international arena, permitting the United States to re-energize its role as a leader in the effort to achieve Israeli-Arab peace and as an agent of stability in the Middle East. The best American president will be the one who understands that Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace are essential to Israel's security, well-being, and viability as a Jewish state and a democracy. The best American president will be the one who pursues sustained, credible U.S. efforts to achieve such peace, recognizing that doing so is an essential element of the United States' support for Israel and an expression of America's own vital interests."