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GOP hopefuls scold Obama on 'timid' Israel support

By David Espo

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 7 2011 3:20 p.m. MST

In reply to a question, he said he was less concerned about demanding the ambassador's resignation, as other GOP hopefuls have done, than in finding out who had vetted the remarks.

In a speech earlier this month, Gutman identified two types of anti-Semitism, a traditional kind that he said must be combatted, and a newer strain in Europe that results from "tension, hatred and sometimes even violence between some members of Muslim communities or Arab immigrant groups and Jews ... largely born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East over the continuing Israeli-Palestinian problem.

"It, too, is a serious problem. It, too, must be discussed and solutions explored," he added.

Gingrich, who has risen dramatically in public opinion polls in recent weeks, drew repeated applause when he said he would move the embassy, make Bush administration diplomat John Bolton his secretary of state and ridiculed Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the entire State Department.

"The fact that ... Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would talk about discrimination against women in Israel and then meets with the Saudis, ..." he said, his voice trailing off as laughter erupted in the hall.

Women have far fewer rights than men under Saudi law.

Romney said that "in his inaugural address to the United Nations, the president chastised Israel but said little about the thousands of Hamas rockets raining into its skies. He's publicly proposed that Israel adopt indefensible borders."

Obama has 'insulted its prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, and he's been timid and weak in the face of the existential threat of a nuclear Iran," added Romney. He repeated a pledge to make his first foreign trip as president to Israel.

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Associated Press writers Jennifer Agiesta and Brad Klapper contributed to this story.

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