DNC defends Obama on Israel ahead of AIPAC
February 29th, 2012
01:56 PM ET
3 years ago

DNC defends Obama on Israel ahead of AIPAC

Washington (CNN) - This may be a first. Ahead of the AIPAC meeting in Washington this weekend, the Democratic National Committee is pre-butting any Republican attacks on the President's position on Israel.

They're doing so by sending the Jewish press, activists and the general media a video featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in May of 2011, "President Obama spoke about his ironclad commitment to Israel's security. He rightly said that our security cooperation is unprecedented and he has backed those words with deeds."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

It would seem the video is intended to buffer the President from Republican accusations that his policy on Iran has been too weak. In the course of the campaign Mitt Romney has said that if the President is re-elected Iran will have a nuclear bomb and Rick Santorum accused the President of actively allowing Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

In a statement DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse claims "never have more Republicans been as nakedly political about the US-Israeli relationship and not surprisingly they are deliberately lying about the President's record for nothing than more than pure politics." He calls it "reprehensible" and adds "it's going to backfire."

Cue the video. The voice-over in the one-minute video says "The bond between the US and Israel – it's always been beyond politics. But now Washington Republicans are breaking that tradition. Launching negative ads that the Associated Press says 'ignore reality.' The facts? Under President Obama US funding for Israel is at an all-time high. Billions for Israel's security."

It features video clips from when then-Senator Obama toured Israel and newspaper clips showing $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel. Obama has yet to visit the country as President.

Why does all this matter so much? The Jewish vote is only a tiny portion of the overall electorate, and it's largely Democratic-leaning.

The issue comes to the fore amid continued advances in Iran's nuclear program and intensified speculation of a pre-emptive strike by Israel to set the program back.

On the politics - the President's position on Iran first became an issue during the 2008 campaign when he said he'd be willing to meet with US enemies. And although he's never met with the Iranian leader, Republicans still bring this up to accuse the president of appeasement and question his leadership.

The President will address the American Israeli Policy Conference this Sunday. He meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday.

Also see:

DNC: Romney out of touch

Super PACs provide air cover to GOP candidates

NFL moves opening game for Obama convention speech

Citing partisanship, Snowe stuns with departure news


Filed under: 2012 • Democrats • Israel • President Obama
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. GonzoinHouston

    The basic problem isn't Obama's dedication to Israel; no US president from either party is ever going to sit back and do nothing if Israel were truly at risk of being destroyed. The problem is that Obama is a Democrat and Netanyahu is a far-right ultra conservative, and Bibi is never going to say anything positive about Obama. This is just pre-emptive damage control.

    February 29, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Mr. Moderate

    Can someone explain to me why we are expected to provide complete and total unconditional support for Israel?

    February 29, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Howard

    With friends like Obama, Israel, and the United States, don't need any enemies.

    February 29, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. sick of republican phonies

    Mr. Moderate: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm... no, I'm afraid we can't.

    February 29, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. diridi

    Do not worry about Israel, we need to worry about the USA. period. Israel is DRAMA. Let them take care of themselves.

    February 29, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Howard

    It's bad enough that Obama gets defended and excused for each and every mistake he makes ... but, now, his blindly devoted supporters are excusing and defending him in ADVANCE of his mistakes !!!

    February 29, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. JohnWV

    Israel has ICBM nukes and has threatened Iran's very existence. Of course Iran wants nukes. Iran needs a nuclear deterrent. Resolution lies not with further threatening or attacking Iran, but with immediate and severe UN sanctions disrupting Israel's exercise of its deranged fixations on dominance and invulnerability.

    February 29, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Surely there must be more important and relevant issues for average Americans than this. We need to attach "do not attack Iran" language to our foreign aid. Take it or leave it, we should not get involved.

    February 29, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    "Can someone explain to me why we are expected to provide complete and total unconditional support for Israel?"
    ------–
    For the same reason we provide compleate and total unconditional support for a lot of countries – strategic interests.

    February 29, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. rs

    The GOP's strange obssession with Israel is tied to their Fundamentalist roots. Another spot where their religious affiliations and interests are affecting foreign policy. What else would account for Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum virtually making future war with Iran a certainty?

    February 29, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. JohnWV

    Two millennia of persecution and worse are responsible for Israel having made itself into a militant supremacist theocracy/ethnocracy with hundreds of nukes; a very real and rapidly increasing threat to itself and to the whole world. America should support the Jewish state's healing, but never its wars or other manifestations of its deranged fixations on dominance and invulnerability. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Sanction Israel.

    February 29, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. lps

    I would like to know if there will be another point of view on Obama's support for Israel at the AIPAC convention. If there is who is delivering the speech?

    February 29, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    As Israel's President Peres stated the problem in the Middle East isn't political, it's "poverty" and these damned Republicans need to understand that and stop using Israel vs Obama for political scoring points. It's clear Israel wants no part of the Republicans discourse and lies because they don't and will never speak negative about their President.

    February 29, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Name Jeff Ostach

    As a Jew, I have always believed Netanyahu has wanted War. The man would have fit right in with the "NeoCons" from the Bush Administration. All of Bush's people who wanted war with Iraq: Cheney, Wolfowitz, Pearle, and William Kristol to name just a few. Obama should not concede an inch to this charismatic "thug" in Israel who was behind the assassination of Rabin. I support President Obama in his current and past handling of Israel. Israel and the US have to coexist, otherwise without American aid to Israel, the country would be destroyed. And as a Jew, I will always wonder how much Jewish racism there is towards a black President.

    February 29, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Howard – you should read newspapers or watch a channel other than the foreign owned media with a hint of Saudi, Fox, channel. You appear to be clueless.

    February 29, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The republican talking points for today are too focus on something absurd, so that the republicans can keep people from acknowledging the success of the president on getting out of the republican near depression.

    February 29, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Russ

    Still not understanding the idea that talking with our enemies is not better than declaring war on them. Wouldn't it be cheaper and a lot less people dying? Go figure.

    February 29, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Mike Texoma

    To name a few reasons:

    The U.S. largely ignored the holocaust until after its entry into the war in Europe during WWII, and there is some feeling that it was wrong of us to do so. The Jews in Europe have been atively persecuted upon occasion, and there is a conscencus among us the the Jewish people deserve a homeland – a secure place. Christians and Jews do have some things in common: the fact that Jesus was a Jew, the belief among Christian fundamentalists that there can be no Second Comming unless the Jewish people have dominion again over the promised land, and the Jewish lobby in the United States is the most powerful of all.

    Mr. Netanyahu's position in regard to the Iranian threat is not accepted by the majority of Israelis, and is regarded by many Americans as contrary to America's best interests.

    February 29, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. longtooth

    So many seem to hate or fear the Jews. There aren't even that many of them! They're just people who think they are God's chosen. We all have our silly ideas. Their flag is really cool, too. Two triangles to make a star. I like Old Glory a lot better, but that's a cool flag!

    February 29, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. jilli

    Netanyahu is a more immediate threat to this country than any suspected enemy.

    February 29, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And as a Jew, I will always wonder how much Jewish racism there is towards a black President
    ------------------------
    You're not the first Jewish person I've heard voice this. I'm surprised the "usual suspects" on this thread haven't jumped knee-deep in your stuff. Oh, but wait, they can't say you're pulling the race card because you're Jewish. Thanks be to God.
    Obama 2012.

    February 29, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Motto

    Israel is our alien. They are the "eagle eyes" for the US in Middle East. Here, Mr Obama turns his back and sell them to the his buddies and friends in Middle East. Good job Mr. Obama.

    February 29, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    "Can someone explain to me why we are expected to provide complete and total unconditional support for Israel?"
    --–
    For the same reason we provide compleate and total unconditional support for a lot of countries – strategic interests.
    ======================================
    The first time I asked that question, I was beaten up by a mob. And, those strategic interests are....what? Intelligence in the Middle East? What else? Wasn't that the same intelligence that said Saddam had WMDs?

    February 29, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. lovethe usaorleave

    Just a quick question for the Obama folks. How in the world could anyone vote let along support whose very own policies allow for children of illegal immigrants (which makes them illegal's as well) be allowed to get "FREE" medical care, while at the same time he is reducing medical coverage on the men & women of our military forces both active and retired? The real kicker he is also reducing the benefits for those who lost a spouse while serving for this country.

    February 29, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. CBR

    The attacks on the President because of his desire to have peace in the Middle East are baseless. Israel is an ally and will remain so. Whether the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the U.S. have similar political beliefs has never threatened that relationship. Does that mean that Israel and the US must continually be on the same page. Probably not since both countries should form their own opinion based on the needs of their citizens UNLESS there is a direct threat.

    Right now the situation is very much on the edge of exploding. All allies need to come together to keep this part of the world from causing another world war.

    February 29, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
1 2