This post was updated on July 28, 2012.
In an effort to malign President Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security, Mitt Romney is claiming that the President “said nothing” to condemn Hamas for launching rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. In a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, Romney said:
“In his inaugural address to the United Nations, the President chastised Israel, but said little about the thousands of Hamas rockets raining into its skies.”
Romney must not have listened to the speech that he’s using to attack President Obama. In his inaugural address to the U.N., President Obama said, “We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It’s not paid by politicians. It’s paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of the night.”
The President has consistently denounced terror organizations that target Israelis and reaffirmed his unshakable support for our closest ally in the Middle East:
In his 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, the President forcefully condemned the rocket fire. “It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That’s not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how it is surrendered,” he said. He called directly on Hamas to “put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, [and] recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
Last year, just a few months before Romney made his accusation, President Obama pointed out in another address to the U.N. that “Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses … Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off the map … Those are facts. They cannot be denied.”
The President told AIPAC last year that he saw firsthand in Israel “the daily struggle to survive in the eyes of an eight-year-old boy who lost his leg to a Hamas rocket, and when I walked among the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, I was reminded of the existential fear of Israelis when a modern dictator seeks nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the ... face of the Earth.”
Standing side by side with Israel, President Obama noted that an “announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel—how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist.”
The White House immediately condemned a shooting that left four dead at a Jewish school in France in March. “We were deeply saddened to learn of the horrific attack this morning against the teachers and students of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement at the time.
After a suicide bomber killed five Israelis in July on board a bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, President Obama denounced the attack: “I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria,” he said. “As Israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.”
President Obama has long condemned terror organizations that target Israel—and denounced Hamas for its violent rocket attacks on innocent civilians—while providing unprecedented aid to Israel to help protect its security. When Romney claims otherwise, he’s distorting the facts.