GOP hopefuls criticize Obama on Israel

Jon Huntsman (Photo: Scott Thuman)

(AP, ABC7) - Republican presidential hopefuls are taking turns bashing President Barack Obama's policy toward Israel in appearances before a Jewish GOP group.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says Obama has immeasurably set back the cause of peace in the Middle East by chastising Israel and being weak in the face of a threat that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon.

Another challenger, Jon Huntsman, suggested that recent comments by the U.S. ambassador to Belgium that have sparked criticism were cleared by higher-ups in the State Department or perhaps the White House.

“I will not twist myself into a pretzel,” Huntsman says. “I will not pander to get elected.”

Speaking of the lack of competitiveness against foreign nations in some fields and a lower ranking internationally for education and innovation, Huntsman added “If that doesn’t grab you by the lapels and shake you to the core, I don’t know what will.”

After saying this nation is in a “funk” he also stressed in order to restore confidence in Capitol Hill we should institute term limits for Congress.

Read more on Scott Thuman's political must-read.

Ambassador Howard Gutman has drawn criticism for suggesting there is a difference between traditional anti-Semitism and a sentiment that results from continuing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories and other Arab countries.

Both men spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition.