In the wake of yet another controversial stop on his campaign trip abroad, a host of international media criticized Mitt Romney’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as damaging to prospects for reviving the stalled peace process.
While in Jerusalem, Romney’s remarks must have been music to the ears of his hand-picked right-wing audience of donors and political figures. But he caused a stir with the Palestinians by putting their economic woes down to their “culture” and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel (most of the world won’t do so because Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state).
Here’s a round-up of what some of the international media is saying about Romney’s trip to Jerusalem:
GERMANY: In an opinion piece for the centrist Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s biggest daily, Christian Wernicke wrote:
The trip to Israel may help Romney in the short term. In the long term, however, the Republican has done damage: The Middle East needs the United States as mediator. As such, the would-be president has already disqualified himself.
(H)e delivered a speech declaring himself “very moved” to find himself Jerusalem, “the capital of Israel.”
This while the U.S. does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Their embassy, like those of virtually all the countries represented in Israel, is in Tel Aviv.
AUSTRIA: The Vienna-based Kurier newspaper set the stage by mentioning the harsh British reaction to Romney’s visit to London and, in harsh terms, placed his Jerusalem comments in that context:
Now the next occasion of putting his foot in his mouth: on Sunday, the Republican called Jerusalem the “capital of Israel.”
UNITED KINGDOM: In a in opinion column for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times of London, Hugo Rifkind wrote:
Mr. Romney’s behavior in Israel is… a throwback to a time when U.S. foreign policy considered the bulk of the Middle East to be irredeemably horrible; a great morass of messy “other” with which grown-up engagement was close to impossible. As a response to the patchwork of petty tyranny that the region used to be, this made some sense. Today, it makes none at all.
Perhaps the harshest opinion came here at home, where a New York Times editorial ripped Romney for his counter-productive pandering that does “no favors” for American interests:
Despite what Mr. Romney says, all American presidents have been pro-Israel, including Mr. Obama. But that doesn’t mean subcontracting American policy to Israeli leaders or donors. [... Romney's] policies would complicate America’s ability to act as a broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
How’s Romney handling the coverage given to him by the world’s media? Not well. Before leaving Poland to travel back Stateside, Romney told Fox News he blamed the media for all his stumbling blocks abroad.