While the audience in the hall purred appreciatively at the president's invocation of the usual liberal bromides, Obama's claims on the subject of his administration's support of Israel -- at least to those not blinkered by partisanship -- are nothing short of jaw dropping. "I am proud to say," he told the group, "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."
No, it's an assertion, and it scarcely passes the laugh test.
Under his leadership, the president said, "we helped Israel develop a missile defense system that's already protecting civilians from rocket attacks." That's misleading. The U.S. has been cooperating with Israel on missile defense technology since the Reagan administration. That President Obama continued the working relationship established and nurtured under his four predecessors is not noteworthy. It would have been extremely odd (not to say impossible in light of congressional views) if he had withdrawn from the partnership. Going with the flow is fine, but it hardly qualifies as an Obama initiative.
The president lauded his administration's efforts to ensure that Israeli diplomats were "able to get out safely" when a mob attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo. That the president made a phone call on behalf of Israel is very nice. But, really, it's the very least an ally can do, isn't it? Wouldn't the president have made such a call for anyone, even for a nation with whom we had no special bond? Is he suggesting that if Thai diplomats were menaced by a mob in a third country, he wouldn't pick up the phone? Mark this one as trivial, too.
Then came the whopper. The president claimed that the U.S. has done everything possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Preposterous. Following a protracted attempt to court the Iranian mullahs, the administration settled for weak sanctions approved by the United Nations. The Obama Treasury Department has undermined even those minimal sanctions by granting thousands of exemptions to companies doing business with Iran. And, as Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine reminds us, the administration has vigorously opposed congressional efforts to impose serious sanctions, such as blackballing any entity that does business with Iran's central bank.
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