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Robocalls falsely distort U.S.-Israel relationship

This post was updated on October 31, 2012.

Homes across the country have been receiving deceptive robocalls that purport to relay a series of “debates” between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The debates never happened—the calls splice together unrelated statements that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have made on completely different days over the last few years to deliberately mislead voters about President Obama’s unshakable support for Israel.

The robocalls are part of a smear campaign directed by the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” a Republican-backed organization with a history of disingenuous, partisan attacks on President Obama. The American Jewish Committee has condemned the organization’s past false attacks as “highly objectionable” and “counterproductive to its stated aim of supporting Israel.”

The robocalls cut and paste various soundbites from President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu to make it seem as though President Obama does not fully support Israel, and that he is unwilling to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is blatantly false. President Obama has made it clear that he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, and that he will take no options off the table to achieve that objective. That’s why he has secured the harshest sanctions ever imposed on the Iranian regime:

“When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

So far, the sanctions have indeed proved crippling. The Iranian currency has lost 80% of its value since the end of 2011 and Iran is having trouble selling its oil. Even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been forced to admit the impact of sanctions, which he called “the strongest yet.”

President Obama has an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security and has greatly expanded security cooperation between the two states. The President has provided Israel with record-high levels of security assistance funding, including $275 million to support the Iron Dome, a missile defense system that shields Israelis from mortars and rockets. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called President Obama’s support for Israel’s security “unprecedented,” while Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel and the United States have “the best relationship on the issue of security … this if a fact.”

As Prime Minister Netanyahu said earlier this year, “President Obama [has] reiterated that the threat of a nuclear armed Iran cannot be contained. I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country.

By continuing to produce and fund such wildly deceptive robocalls, the Emergency Committee for Israel has shown an utter and irresponsible lack of regard for the truth. But Bill Kristol, the founder of ECI, doesn’t care if the calls are blatantly dishonest, and he has dismissed the widespread criticism as “faux liberal outrage.” But making up fake debates and trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel isn’t “faux liberal outrage”—it’s a pernicious gambit to mislead voters and smear the President’s strong record of standing up for Israel.