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August 30, 2012 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-08-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

points of view >> the presidential race

Send letters to: letters@thejewishnews.com

The Incumbent

The Challenger

Obama Has Helped
Make Israel Safer

Romney A Strong
Friend Of Israel

New York/JTA

T

hroughout a half-century of
international diplomatic work,
I have learned to
tell the politicians from
the friends and the char-
latans from the statesmen.
Charlatans scream. They tell
you what you want to hear
and call other people names.
Friends and leaders need not
rely on rhetoric or boister-
ous bravado. They produce
results and act on principle.
President Obama is such a
friend and leader. In his 31/2
years in office, he has deep-
ened and strengthened the
relationship between the United States
and Israel. And today, Obama continues
to implement a comprehensive pro-Israel
agenda that has made Israel safer and
more secure.
Under Obama, U.S. financial aid to
Israel is at its highest levels ever. During
the past four years,
Israel has avoided
becoming engaged in
any substantial frontal
military engagements,
advanced its notable
economic development
and remains prepared
for negotiating a
President
comprehensive peace.
Obama
Obama as president has
led a mutually benefi-
cial resurgence in the exchange of strate-
gic technology, intelligence and coopera-
tion between U.S. armed forces and the
Israel Defense Forces.
Standing by Israel, Obama opposed
the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian
state and blocked its recognition at the
United Nations. He supported Israel's
right to defend itself and confronted
head-on the now-discredited Goldstone
Report that condemned Israeli defen-
sive action off its coast. He also ordered
the United States to withdraw from the
Durban Review Conference, whose name-
sake conference was supposed to be about
racism, but instead became an anti-Israel
hate-fest. Obama stated unequivocally,
"The United States will stand up against
efforts to single Israel out at the United
Nations or in any international forum."

Unshakable Support
Going even further, Obama has taken the
floor of the United Nations to declare that
"Israel's existence must not be a subject

46

August 30 • 2012

for debate" and that "efforts to chip away
at Israel's legitimacy will be met only by
the unshakable opposition of the United
States:'
When Fatah and Hamas
joined political forces and pres-
sured Israel to enter negotia-
tions with them, Obama told
the world that "No country can
be expected to negotiate with a
terrorist organization sworn to
its destruction:' concluding that
"Israel cannot be expected to
negotiate with
Palestinians
who do not rec-
ognize its right
to exist."
And this is
also why Obama has
taken such a strong
stand against the Iranian
nuclear program — the
single greatest threat
to the State of Israel
and the stability of the
Middle East. After years
of inaction and neglect
by the Bush administra-
tion, Obama constructed an international
coalition to impose the most crippling
sanctions ever on the Iranian regime.
These sanctions have already choked off
Iran's access to many capital markets and
have had a profound effect on the way
Tehran finances its nefarious operations.
Covert U.S. operations targeting Iran's

Washington/JTA

L

ast month, Mitt Romney visited
Jerusalem. It has become a ritual
of American politics
for presidential candidates to
pay a visit to Israel, but this is
certainly not Romney's first
trip to Israel — this marked
his fourth visit — and it won't
be his last.
I've known Mitt Romney for
a long time, and what I know
makes his sin-
cerity and deep
commitment
to the security
of the State of
Israel part of
his core.
That commitment
flows from his under-
standing of Israel's society
and history. Romney is
a democrat, with a small
"cl:' Israel is a thriving
democracy, living in mor-
tal danger throughout its
modern history.
Romney is full of admiration not only
for Israel's democratic political order, but
also for the way Israelis have defended
themselves against all odds since Israel's
founding as a state in 1948.
Certainly, Israel could use a close
friend in the White House these days.

How do the top
two presidential
contenders view
Israel, Americas
strongest Middle
East ally?

Obama on page 47

Worsening Conditions
Israel's position in the Middle East has

theoJre
tywidsthal

Angjlint?epoF
sitorof

the

candidates on
or
Israel will matter – a lot.
And for obvious reasons, given the precious nature of the Jewish vote
(Jews vote in far greater proportion than their population numbers), both the
Democratic and Republican contenders on Nov. 7 are busy showcasing their sup-
port for the Jewish state and their distinctive concerns for the dangers that Iran
and its terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, pose.
President Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican
candidate who formerly was Massachusetts governor, play up their Jewish sup-
porters and donors as well as the Jewish leaders they've mingled or met with.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is one of Romney's premier supporters,
pledging millions to defeat Obama. Haim Saban, the kiddie entertainment mogul,
has donated $1 million to political action committees dedicated to reelecting the
president.
The Republic National Convention, where Romney became the GOP nominee,
took place Aug. 28-30 in Tampa. The Democratic National Convention, where
delegates will nominate Obama for a second term, is Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte.
Herewith, we present debate on how Obama and Romney weigh in on Israel.

become more precarious than at any
time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
It faces grave challenges and even exis-
tential threats. Iran has been pursuing
nuclear weapons while mak-
ing no secret of its hatred for
Israel and its desire to wipe
it off the map of the Middle
East.
Thanks to the revolution
in Egypt, the future of the
Camp David Accords and
peace on Israel's southern
flanks hangs in the balance.
To Israel's north, in Syria, we
see the brutality that some of
Israel's neighbors are capable
of exercising, even against
their own people. And as we
saw last month in Bulgaria, remorseless
terrorists continue to attack Israeli civil-
ians around the world.
Israel has always insisted, rightly, on
defending itself by itself. It doesn't want
or need others to fight its battles. But
it has also always looked to the United
States as an ally in the same fight for
freedom and the right
to live in peace.
Over the last three
years, however, the
U.S.-Israeli rela-
tionship has been
troubled.
President Obama
does not seem to have Gov. Romney
personal affection for
the Jewish state. He
has publicly castigated Israel, including
at the United Nations. He was caught on
a hot microphone denigrating Israel's
prime minister; and when Netanyahu
came to Washington, he was received by
Obama with marked coolness. Obama
neglected to hold the customary joint
news conference before asking the Israeli
leader to exit through a rear door.
Far more significant than these indig-
nities has been the relative passivity of
the president toward the mounting threat
posed by Iran.
Even as the ayatollahs have pressed
forward with their bomb-building proj-
ect, and even as they continue directing
genocidal threats toward Israel, Obama
has naively sought to "engage" Iran in
"dialogue" Through this process, the
Iranians have gained what they needed
most: time. According to the latest intel-
ligence reports, they are using that time
to rush forward and realize their nuclear
ambitions.

Romney on page 47

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