Anthony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, laid out the facts of the President and his Administration’s deep commitment to Israel in The Wall Street Journal.
He listed the extensive actions taken by Obama that have made him an undeniable ally and close friend to Israel. Most recently, as Blinken noted, Obama helped save the Israeli embassy personnel stationed in Cairo:
...President Obama’s personal intervention helped avert catastrophe when a violent mob stormed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Afterward, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the president:
‘I requested his assistance at a decisive-I would even say fateful-moment. He said he would do everything possible, and this is what he did. He activated all of the United States’ means and influence-which are certainly considerable. I believe we owe him a special debt of gratitude.’
That influence was only the most recent manifestation of our administration’s iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security, a commitment that has led to a level of cooperation that Mr. Netanyahu himself has rightly called ‘unprecedented.’ Simply put, no American administration has done as much as ours with Israel and for Israel’s security.
Blinken also detailed just some of the steps taken by the Obama Administration to bolster Israel’s security:
Our dedication to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge is not talk; we are walking the walk. Since coming to office, we have launched the most comprehensive and meaningful strategic and operational consultations, across all levels of our governments, in the history of this relationship. These interactions, from our heads-of-state on down, are what averted tragedy in Cairo-and they only exist between the closest of allies.
In October 2009, our nations’ armed forces conducted their largest ever joint military exercise, Juniper Cobra. In 2010, nearly 200 senior-level Department of Defense officials visited Israel, and senior Israeli officials visit the U.S. just as often.
And this year, despite tough fiscal times, President Obama fought for and secured full funding for Israel in our 2011 budget, including $3 billion in military assistance-the most ever.
We secured an additional $205 million to help produce Iron Dome. This short-range rocket defense system has been a godsend for besieged communities along Israel’s border with Gaza, and it has now been installed in the north, along the Lebanon border, as well. Already it has intercepted dozens of rockets that might otherwise have struck homes, schools or hospitals, providing peace of mind for people, like the residents of Sderot whom President Obama visited in 2008, living perpetually in the line of fire.
To guard against more distant, but also more dangerous threats, we have worked with the Israelis on the Arrow weapons system, to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles, and David’s Sling, for shorter-range missiles. And we have collaborated on a powerful radar system linked to U.S. early warning satellites that could buy Israel valuable time in the event of a missile attack.
He also warned about the damage that could be caused by those who wrongfully attack Obama’s record with the intention of turning Israel into a partisan wedge issue:
What could actually harm U.S.-Israeli relations, and the security of the Jewish state, is subjecting either to the vagaries of partisan politics or turning them into election-year talking points. For generations, Israel has been a bastion of bipartisan consensus, an issue off-limits to those seeking to score cheap points. The stakes are too high-for us, and for Israel-to let that change now.
Click here to read Blinken’s full piece.
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