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Obama and Israel

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Obama's Support For Israel Has Been Surprisingly Strong During Current Conflict

November 19th 2012

Obama and Israel

Even U.S. President Barack Obama's strongest critics would have to admit that he has proved remarkably supportive of Israel over the past week of conflict. Certainly, there have been a few signs of the old tension between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The initial call to Obama when the military action began was reportedly made by President Shimon Peres rather than Netanyahu; and on Sunday, Obama made a statement to the effect that he would prefer Israel refrain from a ground operation against Hamas.

And certainly, Obama's consultations with Turkey's antisemitic President Erdogan and others have not filled Israelis with confidence. At the same time, however, Obama has consistently asserted Israel's right to defend itself, insisted on Hamas' responsibility for the current violence, agreed that the situation in Israel's south had become intolerable, and refrained from interfering with Israel's military operations. For many of Obama's Jewish critics, this can only come as a great relief. Their greatest worry was that, despite his pleasant words, when the moment of truth came Obama would abandon Israel.

Anything, of course, can still happen; and it is possible that if a ground operation begins, Obama will prove less amenable to Israeli plans. At the moment, however, any fair-minded person would have to admit that Obama is acting like the friend of Israel he always insisted he was.


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