the national interest

Romney Tortures Jennifer Rubin

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney speaks.
Romney is making life hard for his Republican Jewish fans. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

I’ve written before about the agonizing plight facing Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post blogger. On the one hand, Rubin’s deepest roots lie in ultra-hawkish pro-Israel neoconservatism. On the other hand, Rubin has appointed herself unofficial spokesperson for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, using her blog to record a daily procession of Romney’s wise choices and brilliant triumphs, along with the pathetic failures of all who challenge him.

Normally, these two loyalties would sit easily side by side. But fate has cruelly pitted her loyalties against each other. Last week, Romney’s main rival, Newt Gingrich, scoffed at the Palestinians’ claims to statehood. Rubin sided with Romney, savaging Gingrich as “irresponsible” for uttering an opinion far milder than the sort of thing Rubin writes routinely.

Then again today, it got worse. Romney said he is undecided on pardoning Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard or moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Rubin’s take?

On Pollard, there is a great deal of classified material that would need to be examined and a complex set of considerations on U.S.-Israel relations before a president rendered a decision. Some prominent figures on both sides of the aisle have urged President Obama to take action. But for Romney, making a snap decision, or saying as Gingrich did, that he’s largely made up his mind, would be rash. As with any pardon, it’s unwise and vaguely inappropriate for a presidential candidate to make promises.

As for Jerusalem, it really is time to stop promising something that the U.S. can’t and shouldn’t deliver unilaterally. If we want to maintain our role as a future broker in the (however presently dormant) “peace process,” we’re not going to make a move that will be read as a fait accompli on the final status of Jerusalem. For a presidential candidate, this is about judgment, restraint and having the good sense to imagine one might actually win and want options.

Friends of Israel should be pleased with the majority of the GOP presidential candidates’ views on Israel.

Wait. Seriously? Rubin is against candidates posturing in favor of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? Here she is last year praising the Jerusalem Embassy Act, and lauding Marco Rubio for pledging to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Oh, and you can read her here, here and here writing approvingly of the movement to pardon Pollard. You can only imagine how she would have responded if, in 2008, Obama had given the same remarks Romney made yesterday. How much more will the GOP contenders torture Rubin?

Romney Tortures Jennifer Rubin