WASHINGTON — White House contender Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama for “refusing to recognize Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel — an incendiary position counter to US policy — in a new ad Sunday.
Featuring clips from candidate Romney’s recent trip to Israel, the commercial also slams Obama for never visiting the Jewish state since taking office. “Mitt Romney will be a different kind of president. A strong leader who stands by our allies,” the narrator says.
The former Massachusetts governor underscored his attack on microblogging site Twitter Sunday.
“In almost 4 years as president, @BarackObama hasn’t visited Israel. We need a leader who stands with our allies,” he wrote, and included a link to the new video.
While in Israel, Romney said it was a “deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” A replay of that controversial statement closes Sunday’s attack.
Israel has claimed occupied Jerusalem as its capital, but the position was never accepted by the global community and runs counter to longstanding US policy.
Palestinians claim the eastern half Jerusalem as the capital of a promised future state.
Romney’s apparent endorsement of Israel’s stance on the city was swiftly rejected by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat as “unacceptable” and “harmful to American interests in our region.”
And the White House has called on the candidate to clarify what he meant, saying “it’s the view of this administration that the capital is something that should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties.”
“If Mr. Romney disagrees with that position, he’s also disagreeing with the position that was taken by presidents like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest noted.
Romney, a multimillionaire businessman and investor, is facing off against President Obama in the November presidential vote. — AFP