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Obama’s SOTU Address Reflects Jewish Values

John Tackeff — February 13, 2013 – 5:16 pm | Barack Obama | Domestic Policy Comments (0) Add a comment

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address affirmed his steadfast support of Israel as well as values shared between the President and most American Jews.

From increasing access to education, to protecting the environment, to bolstering the social safety net, President Obama shared a vision for America that promotes Jewish and Democratic values. Excerpts from the President’s address appear below:

[I]t is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few, that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation….

And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we’ve already made….

After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar - with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before - and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.

But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods - all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it’s too late….

And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America….

But we can’t stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women’s Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. And I now urge the House to do the same….

The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations. And we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon….

And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace….

[W]hat I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource:  our children.  It has been two months since Newtown.  I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence.  But this time is different.

Overwhelming majorities of Americans—Americans who believe in the Second Amendment—have come together around common-sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because these police chiefs, they’re tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned.

Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. Now, if you want to vote no, that’s your choice.  But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun—more than a thousand….

Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence.  They deserve a vote.  They deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence—they deserve a simple vote.  They deserve a simple vote.

Click here to read the President’s full State of the Union address.

NJDC lauded President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address and noted that the vast majority of American Jews support the President’s agenda. NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley said:

In November, Jewish-Americans voted overwhelmingly to give President Obama a second term. Tonight, the President made clear why. The policies laid out by the President on key domestic issues, such as immigration, climate change, protecting the environment, support for Israel, and other social issues are broadly supported by the vast majority of American Jews. Polls consistently demonstrate that the Democratic Party is the natural political home for American Jews and tonight’s address by the President provides even further proof.

NJDC also lauded the President for his explicit commitments to the security of Israel and pursuing new gun control measures.

In addition, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered the Republican Party’s rebuttal, but failed to mention support for Israel or the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. NJDC’s criticism of Rubio was mentioned in Buzzfeed, The Jerusalem Post and elsewhere, in addition to our op-ed in The Times of Israel


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