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QUICK TAKE: Obama Defends Israel Record at Jewish Assembly QUICK TAKE: Obama Defends Israel Record at Jewish Assembly

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White House / WHITE HOUSE

QUICK TAKE: Obama Defends Israel Record at Jewish Assembly

photo of Julia Edwards
December 16, 2011

Speaking to members of the Union for Reform Judaism at their 71st general assembly, President Obama reaffirmed his support for Israel and attacked GOP presidential candidates who have called that support into question.  

Obama claimed his administration had done more for Israel’s security than any in recent history.

“Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” Obama said, alluding to his critics. "It is a fact.”

 

Last week, the Republican Jewish Coalition invited the president’s potential opponents to Washington, where each touted his or her support for the Jewish nation and alleged Obama had not done enough for Israel. Many, including former Pennsylvania Governor Rick Santorum, said the Obama administration should do more to mediate the threat Iran poses to Israel.

“[Under a Santorum administration] the United States will stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Period,” Santorum said.

Obama defended his record on the subject before the Union for Reform Judaism Friday, and said he too, would stop at nothing to protect Israel from Iran’s harm in the future.

“We are prepared to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. With allies and partners, we have imposed the strictest sanctions the Iranian regime has ever faced,” Obama said. “We will, rest assured, we will take no options off the table. We’re going to keep standing with our Israeli friends and allies just as we’ve done when they’ve needed us most.”

Throughout Obama’s address was the theme of protecting the marginalized, appealing to Jewish values and drawing a line between him and his opponents. As he did last week in Osawatomie, Kansas, the president spoke of a country where “everybody gets a fair shot,” and said the Jewish community could support such a cause because they “understood what it was like to be persecuted.”

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