Mitt Romney launched the “Jewish Americans for Romney” coalition and continued to defend his citation of culture to explain the economic disparity between Israelis and Palestinians.
“The Jewish community has made contributions to American society that stand in amazing disproportion to its numbers, and I am genuinely honored to have so many of its leading thinkers, diplomats and political leaders support my campaign,” Romney said in an announcement released Tuesday through his presidential campaign.
The announcement listed as co-chairmen of the campaign: Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives; former Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman of Minnesota; former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, currently running for U.S. Senate in that state; and Adam Hasner, who is running for a U.S. House seat in Florida.
The group’s 39-member advisory board includes top advisers to his campaign who have served in previous Republican administrations, among them Tevi Troy, Dov Zakheim and Dan Senor.
Romney in his statement implied criticism of President Obama, whose campaign has emphasized its strategic support for Israel, but who in the first two years of his terms clashed repeatedly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over peace process issues.
“Having just visited Israel at a critical juncture in the history of the Middle East, I am persuaded that now, more than ever, America needs to stand with Israel,” Romney said. “I will extend the hand of friendship because our partnership is not merely a strategic alliance but a force for good in the world.”
In a separate release, Romney continued to defend his comment during his Jerusalem trip that culture is a reason why Israel is more prosperous than the Palestinian areas. Palestinians slammed Romney’s remarks as racist and as willfully ignoring the limitations imposed upon them by Israel’s occupation.
“Like the United States, the state of Israel has a culture that is based upon individual freedom and the rule of law,” Romney said in the release. “It is a democracy that has embraced liberty, both political and economic. This embrace has created conditions that have enabled innovators and entrepreneurs to make the desert bloom. In the face of improbable odds, Israel today is a world leader in fields ranging from medicine to information technology.”