PERRY Brings ISRAEL to the Forefront – WSJ.com
Perry Brings Israel to the Forefront
By CARL J. KELM
In recent days, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has revived Israel as a campaign-trail topic, despite the fact that foreign policy has played but a small role in the GOP primary so far.
Mr. Perry’s newfound interest in the Middle East dovetails with a Palestinian effort to secure recognition from the United Nations and a Republican special election win in a New York congressional district with a large number of Jewish voters. The Texan’s latest move, after publishing op-eds in The Wall Street Journal and in the Jerusalem Post, was speaking alongside American and Israeli leaders Tuesday at a Manhattan event.
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry during a press conference with American and Israeli Jewish leaders in New York.
“We would not be here today at the precipice of such a dangerous move,” he said, referring to the Palestinian gambit, “if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn’t naïve, arrogant, misguided and dangerous.”
The Texan’s views on the subject aren’t necessarily unique for a Republican candidate, but his decision to highlight Israel, a topic thus far neglected in the campaign, could be strategically useful. If the Jewish vote (or, more accurately, a greater-than-usual share of it) is indeed in play in 2012, taking a strong stand in Israel’s defense could help drive a wedge between Mr. Obama and a traditionally Democratic constituency.
But highlighting Israel could also be helpful in the primary. Showing leadership in this area allows Mr. Perry to cover up a foreign policy weakness that many governors share.