Gingrich's Rhetoric Stirs GOP's Jewish Activists
Markoe, Lauren, The Christian Century
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich ignited an audience of Republican Jewish activists in Washington by promising to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And he was just getting started.
Gingrich also promised to use American dollars to fund "every dissident group" in Iran, whose leader has threatened to destroy Israel. And he would appoint John Bolton--former U.S. ambassador to the UN and a conservative favorite--to head the State Department.
With his fiery pro-Israel rhetoric, Gingrich outdid Mitt Romney's speech to the same group earlier in the December 7 meeting. All GOP presidential candidates except Rep. Ron Paul (R., Tex.) spoke to the gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and all expressed strong support for the Jewish state.
Romney, often accused of blandness, had tried to inject some passion into his remarks and even received a few compliments from audience members for his energetic defense of the U.S.-Israel partnership.
But Gingrich, who was gaining significant ground on Romney, seemed to tap directly into the audience's frustrations with what they perceive as a U.S. foreign policy that is unduly patient with those who would do Israel harm.
"Can you imagine if our next-door neighbor were firing missiles at us and we said 'Oh, can we come to the table? …