Republicans have made a point to mislead the American people about the President’s understanding of the bond between the U.S. and Israel by suggesting that he doesn’t respect the Jewish people’s long historical ties to Israel. Republican Jewish Coalition’s David Frum wrote:
“President Obama made no analogous allusion to the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Quite the contrary. About Israel’s origins, the President said: ‘The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.’”
That accusation rings hollow when considering the President’s understanding of the Jewish people’s connection to Israel. As he explained in 2008, President Obama first learned the story of Israel when he was 11 years old: “I learned of the long journey and steady determination of the Jewish people to preserve their identity through faith, family and culture. Year after year, century after century, Jews carried on their traditions, and their dream of a homeland, in the face of impossible odds.”
Here are just a few of the ways the President’s regard for the Jewish people and their historical ties to Israel have been reflected in his policies and perspective as President:
When speaking of Israel at the United Nations last year, President Obama called on countries to remember how “the Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution … [They] have forged a successful state in their historic homeland,” he said, adding: “Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors.” A year earlier, President Obama made it clear to the U.N. that any efforts to “chip away” at the “historic homeland of the Jewish people … will be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.”
The Obama administration has condemned attempts to delegitimize Israel and deny the “historic Jewish connections to the land.” President Obama called Israel’s independence day the day that “the dream of a state for the Jewish people in their historic homeland” was finally realized.
In his 2011 AIPAC speech, the President described his visit to the Western Wall and the perspective it offered him on the Jewish people’s connection to Israel: “When I touched my hand against the Western Wall and placed my prayer between its ancient stones, I thought of all the centuries that the children of Israel had longed to return to their ancient homeland.”
President Obama’s respect for the Jewish people’s historical ties to Israel serves as the foundation for the strong bond the U.S. and Israel have forged during his administration. For Romney to claim otherwise is to completely mischaracterize President Obama’s record and personal perspective on Israel.