Supporters of both candidates are seeking to raise doubts about their rival’s commitment to stand up to Iran in a last-minute appeal to Jewish voters in swing states.
Conservative activist William Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel has launched a robo-call featuring a mock debate between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that splices together sentences from the two leaders uttered years apart, on different topics.
The Obama campaign denounced the robo-calls as misleading.
“New GOP robo-call on Israel is 100 percent fictional,” the Obama campaign’s Marie Harf tweeted Tuesday. “This kind of deceitful tactic is cynical — and it’s bad for Israel.”
The Emergency Committee for Israel hinted to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which first reported on the robo-calls, that more could be on the way.
“We don’t have all the secret Obama-Netanyahu debate recordings yet — but we expect to obtain one or two more, and we look forward to making them available as well,” the committee’s executive director, Noah Pollak, told the JTA.
Democrats unleashed their own attack on Republican candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday.
The National Jewish Democratic Council unveiled a new website tying Mitt Romney to investments in Iran.
The site highlights Romney’s personal investments in companies such as the China National Offshore Oil Corp., BNP Paribas and Russia’s Gazprom that have business dealings with Iran. It also links to a report from 2004 — when Romney was governor of Massachusetts — that faulted the state’s pension fund for investing in 130 companies with ties to Iran.
“If Romney has seemingly gotten away with this sort of duplicity in the name of gaining even more personal wealth,” former Rep. Mel Levine (D-Calif.) asks on the site, “imagine what he would do as president when he actually has the responsibility to make tough decisions to stop Iran.”
The accusation echoes Obama’s criticism during last week’s presidential debate.
“When it comes to tightening sanctions, look, as I said before, we’ve put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever,” Obama said. “And the fact is, while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector. So I’ll let the American people decide, judge who’s going to be more effective and more credible when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions.”
Romney has said his personal investments are made by a blind trust.
“Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust,” he said during the second debate, when Obama’s criticism centered on investments in Chinese companies.
Levine, in a recent writing for The Times of Israel, however, pointed out that Romney himself criticized the use of blind trusts when he ran against the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1994.
“The blind trust is an age-old ruse, if you will,” Romney said at the time. “Which is to say, you can always tell a blind trust what it can and cannot do.”
Netanyahu also interjected himself back into the debate on Tuesday, telling the French magazine Paris Match that a strike on Iran would be a positive step for the rest of the Arab world. Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only.
“Five minutes after [an attack], contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief will spread across the region,” Netanyahu reportedly said ahead of his visit to France this week.
“Iran isn’t popular in the Arab world — far from it. Some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear-armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel.”
Netanyahu is running for reelection in January.