Thanks to funding requested and provided by President Obama, Israel is fielding several Iron Dome anti-missile systems which have been incredibly effective in protecting Israeli population centers from Hamas’ rocket and missile attacks. Ask any Israeli in the south of Israel and they will tell you that Iron Dome has been a game changer, saving countless lives.
And when it comes to the 800 pound gorilla in the room — Iran — Israel and the United States are working in lockstep. Thanks to the sanctions signed into law and enforced by President Obama, the Iranian economy is in shambles. It has become nearly impossible for Iran to export its oil or access international financial markets.
President Obama has provided every penny and more in foreign assistance requested by Israel. Moreover, the president has agreed to sell Israel our most advanced jet fighter, the F-35. And unlike the previous administration, President Obama has authorized the sale of advanced “bunker buster” weapons to Israel that are now part of its arsenal.
Bottom line, in the words of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the U.S.-Israel relationship is as strong as it’s ever been. You can’t deny these facts - but many try. Recently, supporters of Mitt Romney began to make automated phone calls to voters in battleground states which stated that a discussion took place between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu in which President Obama tells the Prime Minister that he is going to submit to Iranian demands on its nuclear program. The problem is, the conversation never happened; it is pure fiction designed to fool and deceive pro-Israel voters.
But we cannot be fooled. The president’s actions prove that he has Israel’s back. When the Palestinians threatened to obtain statehood at the United Nations Security Council, President Obama pledged a veto. When the notoriously biased Goldstone Report attacked Israel’s self defense efforts in Gaza, President Obama fought against it. When Israeli diplomats’ lives were threatened in their Cairo Embassy, President Obama intervened to save them. And when forest fires ravaged northern Israel, President Obama committed US assistance to extinguish them.
These are facts which cannot be denied. Critics of the president like to grasp at straws and point out that the president did not visit Israel during his first term. However, no Republican president has ever visited Israel in their first term. President George W. Bush didn’t visit Israel until the eighth year of his presidency. And President Ronald Reagan never visited while in office.
It is also important to note that Governor Romney has surrounded himself with the same foreign policy advisors who served President Bush and Vice President Cheney. These are the same advisors who thought it would be a good idea to allow Hamas to be elected into power, who handed Iraq over to Iran after they started the Iraq war, who asked Israel not to bomb Syria’s nuclear reactor, and who did absolutely nothing to slow the Iranian nuclear program.
Without a case to make, opponents of the President rely on pure trickery to sow doubt in voters’ minds on the President’s support for Israel. The U.S.-Israel relationship is too important to taint with falsehoods and partisanship. Israel needs all of us to stand together and help her in times of need. I urge my friends who stand for Israel to stand with the president and continue to keep the relationship strong.
Connolly is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.