Ten Tips for Mitt Romney During Israel Visit
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As a PR Agency, here are my ten tips for Mitt Romney to observe during his visit to Israel today:
- Bowing isn’t necessary in the Middle East. A bow like Obama’s to the Saudi King is not considered customary in Israel nor is it advised elsewhere in Middle East. Shaking hands and being polite is all that is needed.
- Just as anywhere else in the world, it is considered polite to pose for pictures. Don’t allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to wait for a scheduled dinner (Nor, heaven forbid walk out on him for a private meal with your wife).
- While you will undoubtedly have many private meetings, don’t get caught on microphone speaking ill of the democratically elected leader of the Jewish state and don’t lecture Israeli ministers publicly. Simply show appreciation for America’s closest ally.
- Calling for a return to Israel’s pre 1967 borders won’t go over well – it would be a dangerous move for Israel, as many mainstream American politicians have acknowledged.
- As your Israel fundraiser has gotten a lot of attention, don’t make a bigger deal of it, fundraising is acceptable in politics and your biggest benefactor is a self-made billionaire, one of the world’s richest Jews. What he has achieved is admirable, and with wealthy Americans donating to you, the public recognizes and respects that he and others did “build their businesses”. Also, don’t allow one of your top fundraisers to say that Muslim anti-Semitism “stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” As you know, Muslim anti-Semitism in the Middle East predates the founding of the state of Israel— and either way, is the fault of the haters, not of the Jews.
- It’s great that you have Americans traveling with you who are fond, supportive of, and well-respected in Israel. Off-the record sessions with those that hold radical, fringe, extreme positions on Israel related matters, like The New Yorker’s David Remnick and Newsweek’s Peter Beinart will not go over well, as they advocate boycotts of the Jewish state. Naturally, don’t admonish America when overseas even if your opponent does.
- When in Jerusalem, don’t announce that Jews can’t build in all areas of Jerusalem as no other U.S. government (pre-Obama) had ever demanded and no Israeli government would ever accept. Listen, and learn – enjoy the beauty of the capital city of Israel and pray. In Jerusalem, Israel – practicing the religion of your choice is accepted and safe, and in this democratic country, just like in America, people can live wherever they choose. That isn’t the case for Jews, Christians or Mormons in nearly any Arab country.
- Vow not to grant your first interview after being elected to an Arabic network – and accept that Israel is allied with you against America’s enemies like Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and extremists in Turkey & Egypt. Israeli was built on Western values and any Israeli government will defend those ideals, as Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote in 1929, “The Jewish people – all of us, 100 percent want peace”. The same holds true today.
- Just showing up is appreciated – don’t make any major policy statements, it’s not needed. The visuals of a presidential candidate in Israel are good. Obama has not visited Israel during his time in office (despite accepting an award in Saudi Arabia, giving a major speech in Cairo, and holding town hall meetings in Turkey). Israel is popular in the US amongst Jews, evangelical Christians and many others.
- Most importantly, be sure to take in the amazing country of Israel. Millions of people visit Israel from all over the world each year, and it is an amazing, special, holy country – from the history to the religious landmarks and even sunny beaches. Israel has tremendous similarities to the United States – enjoy the rich and beautiful country. You will leave with an even stronger emotional connection.