News / USA

Obama Responds to Republican Criticisms on Support for Israel

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 71st General Assembly of the Union of Reform Judaism, Dec. 16, 2011, in National Harbor, Md.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 71st General Assembly of the Union of Reform Judaism, Dec. 16, 2011, in National Harbor, Md.
TEXT SIZE - +

In an address Friday to the largest North American Jewish organization, President Barack Obama said the United States is fully committed to Israel, and responded to recent sharp criticisms on the subject from Republican presidential candidates.   

Mr. Obama traveled a short distance to a hotel just outside of Washington and the 71st General Assembly of the Union of Reform Judaism to deliver a message he has repeated frequently, that the U.S commitment to Israel's security is "unshakeable."

Formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the group calls itself the largest Jewish movement in North America, representing more than 900 congregations in the U.S, Canada and Caribbean and 1.5 million Jews.

Republican presidential candidates have criticized Mr. Obama's commitment to Israel and his broader approach to the Middle East, and strategy on Iran's nuclear program.

Mr. Obama and administration officials strongly reject this, and point to ongoing strong military-to-military and intelligence cooperation, including assistance for the Israeli "Iron Dome" missile system to guard against rocket attacks.

Mr. Obama listed these and other areas of cooperation and hit back at criticisms, saying special bonds between the U.S. and Israel should transcend partisan politics.

"It is hard to remember a time when the U.S. has given stronger support to Israel on its security," said President Obama. "In fact I am proud to say that no U.S. administration has done more in support of Israel's security than ours.  None.  Don't let anybody else tell you otherwise.  It is a fact."

Mr. Obama's relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been tense and chilly at times, as the administration attempted to persuade Israel's government to freeze settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

That has been a major roadblock among those preventing a return to direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinians which occurred only briefly after Mr. Obama brought Israeli and other Mideast leaders to the White House in 2010.

Mr. Obama said the only path to a just and lasting peace is through direct negotiations in pursuit of the vision of a two state solution, saying he will "not waiver" in pursuit of that vision.

He reiterated U.S. policy on Iran's nuclear program, which he called a threat to the security of Israel, the United States and the world.

"We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and that is why we have worked painstakingly from the moment I took office with allies and partners and we have imposed the most comprehensive, the hardest hitting sanctions that the Iranian regime has ever faced," said Obama. "We haven't just talked about it, we have done it.  And we are going to keep up the pressure.  And that is why rest assured we will take no options off the table."

The White House confirmed that Mr. Obama met briefly before his speech with Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who also addressed the conference.

Mr. Obama's address, in which he also reviewed major accomplishments of his presidency such as health care reform and ending the U.S. combat role in Iraq - came as he tries to prevent further erosion of support among American Jewish voters for his re-election in 2012.

Much of the speech reprised major points he has made in his struggles with opposition Republicans in Congress over jobs legislation and tax cuts to help the middle class.   

Mr. Obama said the political debate in the U.S. is not just political, but a moral, ethical and values debate about whether all Americans "get a fair shake" and "play by the same rules."  

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid