Our Republican friends will do their darndest to convince us that the answer is Barack Obama. President Obama is not perfect, but let's compare him to his predecessors rather than to perfection.
George W. Bush (43) pressured Israel to allow Hamas to participate in Gaza elections despite the objections of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, thus granting Hamas a diplomatic coup and a legitimacy it otherwise could never have attained.
Bush failed to stop North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. Instead of making Iran a top priority, he eviscerated Iran's two natural enemies, Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving Iran free to focus on its quest for nuclear weapons. Bush, who never met a military action he didn't like, not only did not attack Iran, but he rejected Israeli requests for aid for an Israeli raid on Iran's main nuclear complex. Bush also violated security agreements with Israel in which the U.S. promised to preserve Israel's qualitative military edge over Arab armies.
George Bush (41) opposed loan guarantees because of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza. He also opposed new "settlements" in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Bush complained that he was "one lonely little guy" up against thousands of lobbyists on the Hill. Those "lobbyists" were volunteers exercising their rights as American citizens. People like you and me.
Ronald Reagan faced down AIPAC and sold AWACs to Saudi Arabia despite intense opposition from the pro-Israel community. Reagan supported a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel after Israel saved countless lives by bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor. Reagan suspended delivery to Israel of F-16's after Israel bombed Iraq. After Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, Reagan suspended the strategic cooperation agreement between the U.S. and Israel, prompting Prime Minister Begin to accuse Reagan of treating Israel like a "banana republic."
Reagan called for a settlement freeze in 1982. In 1988, Reagan reversed long-standing U.S. policy and authorized the State Department to negotiate with the PLO, then considered by the U.S. to be a terrorist organization. Reagan never visited Israel in his entire life, but he did visit Bitburg and its SS cemetery in 1985, despite pleas from Elie Weisel and many others not to.
In 1975, Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger announced their intention to "reassess" relations with Israel to coerce Israel into signing an agreement with Israel that at the time was heavily tilted toward Egypt.
The criticisms of President Obama, real and imagined, pale in comparison to the records of previous presidents. Bush 43, Bush 41, Reagan, Ford, and Ike were not anti-Israel. But if President Obama's record contained even a fraction of the anti-Israel activity of his predecessors, our Republican friends would be apocalyptic.
President Obama's record is firmly pro-Israel. He has done more to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions than any other president. He's imposed tough economic sanctions, he's rallied the international community to impose sanctions, and he's worked with Israel on viral attacks against Iran's computer networks. Iran is further away from acquiring nuclear weapons today than it was when President Obama took office. No matter how tough sanctions are they could always be tougher, and no matter what President Obama does to stop Iran, some Republican will pop up to say he could be doing more. But no one else has ever done more than President Obama to stop Iran, and he has consistently reiterated his determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. President Obama demonstrated in Libya and by his order to kill Osama bin Laden that he will not hesitate to use force when appropriate.
President Obama has taken military cooperation between Israel and the U.S. to unprecedented levels, and he's reversed the erosion in Israel's qualitative military edge that began during the previous administration.
President Obama has provided more security assistance to Israel than any president in history.
President Obama has fought attempts to delegitimize Israel in the international community. He refused to participate in Durban II or Durban III because of their anti-Israel agendas. He condemned the Goldstone Report. The only UN veto cast by the US during the Obama administration was in opposition to the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution condemning Israel's settlement activity.
The list goes on and on. If you want to read the list to learn more about the above, documentation of the above, and more not mentioned above, click here.
We're going to hear again and again about how President Obama is supposedly not strong on Israel from Republicans who value partisan gain more than strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship. Our nation is united in its support for Israel. By using Israel as a wedge issue to create the illusion of policy differences between the parties on Israel, these Republicans only strengthen enemies of the US and Israel.
History proves that President Obama is a good friend of Israel.
For that we should all be thankful.
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