These days, the traffic of US political figures going to Israel is very heavy. During the past few months, a number of US administration officials, including Secretary of State Clinton, the National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, visited Israel. This week, the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, will visit Israel. Last Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrived in Israel to lobby for his campaign among Jewish voters. He met a number of Israeli officials including his friend of more than 30 years, Bibi Netanyahu.
Israel has played an important role in all US presidential elections during the last 60 years. The Jewish lobby in America is so strong that no sitting presidents or presidential candidates can afford to ignore its power. However, both candidates in this year’s election seem to have capitalized more on gaining the support of American Jews in the November election. However, for Romney, a visit to Israel had another objective: to gain the support of conservative Evangelical Christians, many of whom tend not to support Romney because of his Mormon background, while their base is vividly pro-Israel.
In essence, the American political system is rushing towards Israel to consolidate the important Jewish support back home. While President Obama, on the eve of Romney's visit to Israel, signed the US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act and allocated an additional 70 million dollars in anti-missile defense system aid to Israel, Mitt Romney did his best in Tel Aviv to portray himself as a better leader than his contender in protecting Israel.
It is no secret that both presidential candidates find Iran-bashing, Iranophobia and their determination to use force, if necessary, against Iran politically correct. That is why the Israeli daily Haaretz reported a few days ago that, during Donilon's visit, he briefed Netanyahu on US military capability for attacking Iran's sensitive nuclear facilities and a senior Romney aide told reporters in Israel that "if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respect that decision."
During the next few months till the November election, one may witness more of these pro-Israel sentiments and anti-Iran rhetoric by both US candidates. At the end of the day, American politicians and their friends in Israel should bear in mind that it is neither in their interest nor in the interest of the region to raise the heat on Iran which will bring about misery for all. The only way to solve the Iranian nuclear file is through negotiations in good faith, not by employing war-mongering methods.