Pelosi: Republicans using Israel policy to distract Jewish voters

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended President Obama’s record on Israel, accusing Republicans of using the issue to distract Jewish voters from the party’s economic policies.

“Many of the Republicans are using Israel as an excuse, what they really want are tax cuts for the wealthy. So Israel, that can be one reason they put forth,” said Pelosi on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital,” according to a transcript of her remarks.

“That’s why some of the Republican Jewish supporters are really active,” replied host Al Hunt.

ADVERTISEMENT
“That’s how they’re being exploited,” said Pelosi. “And they’re smart people. They follow these issues. But they have to know the facts. And the fact is that President Obama has been the strongest person in terms of sanctions on Iran, which is important to Israel. He’s been the strongest person on whether it’s Iron Dome, David’s Sling, any of these weapons systems and initiatives that relate to Israel. He has been there over and over again.”

Pelosi’s comments come amidst GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s three-country foreign tour which takes him to Israel, where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Romney has made Israel a centerpiece of his attacks on Obama’s foreign policy, as both campaigns work to win over Jewish voters. 

Republicans have accused the president of being a weak ally and have criticized him for failing to visit the country in his first term.

The administration however as pushed back, pointing to legislation Obama signed Friday which reaffirmed military ties between Israel and the U.S. The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act restates U.S. commitments to provide Israel with defensive weapons, oppose anti-Israeli resolutions at the United Nations and moves forward plans to develop the “Iron Dome” missile defense system.

The bill had been passed by Congress 10 days ago, but Obama waited until Friday, just as Romney embarked on his overseas trip.  

A campaign official last week also said that Obama would visit Israel if reelected for a second term.

“This president has been a staunch supporter of Israel. Many of the things that he has done, in terms of Israel’s qualitative edge in terms of how we have, have supported Israel in that regard, for them to defend themselves … No president has done more,” said Pelosi in the Bloomberg interview .

Asked if Obama would do as well with Jewish voters in November, she said “I think that he will.”

A Gallup poll released late Friday showed Jewish support for Romney slipping slightly.

The survey found Obama with support from 68 percent of Jewish voters to Romney’s 25 percent. A Gallup survey in June found Obama with a 64-29 edge over his GOP challenger.

The 68 percent tally, however, is a double-digit drop from the 78 percent Obama won in the 2008 election against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)