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The President Has Done a Great Deal to Help Make Israel a Safer Place
Throughout a half-century of diplomatic work, I have learned to tell the politicians from the friends and the charlatans from the statesmen. Charlatans scream. They tell you what you want to hear and call other people names. Friends and leaders need not rely on rhetoric or boisterous bravado. They produce results and act on principle.
President Barack Obama is such a friend and leader. In his three-and-a-half years in office, he has strengthened the relationship between the United States and Israel. And today, he continues to implement a comprehensive pro-Israel agenda that has made Israel safer.
Under Obama, U.S. financial aid to Israel is at its highest levels. During the past four years, Israel has avoided any substantial military engagements, advanced its economic development and is prepared for negotiating peace. Obama as president has led a mutually beneficial resurgence in the exchange of technology, intelligence and cooperation between U.S. armed forces and the Israel Defense Forces. Just last week, Obama, calling America's commitment to Israel "unshakable," signed legislation designed to enhance security cooperation between the two countries.
Standing by Israel, Obama opposed the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and blocked its recognition at the United Nations. He supported Israel's right to defend itself and confronted head-on the now-discredited Goldstone Report that condemned Israeli defensive action off its coast. He also ordered the United States to withdraw from the Durban Review Conference, whose namesake gathering was supposed to be about racism but instead became an anti-Israel hate-fest.
Going even further, Obama has taken the floor of the United Nations to declare that "Israel's existence must not be a subject for debate" and that "efforts to chip away at Israel's legitimacy will be met only by the unshakable opposition of the United States."
When Fatah and Hamas joined forces and pressured Israel to enter negotiations with them, Obama told the world that "no country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction" or "with Palestinians who do not recognize its right to exist."
This is why Obama has taken such a strong stand against the Iranian nuclear program. After years of inaction by the Bush administration, Obama constructed a coalition to impose crippling sanctions on the Iranians. They have already chocked off its access to capital markets and have had a profound effect on the way Tehran finances its nefarious operations. Covert U.S. operations targeting Iran's nuclear infrastructure reportedly have also slowed their rate of progress.
While his opponents can talk tough on Iran, the president is doing what is necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Nevertheless, despite substantial evidence, opponents of the president continue a coordinated campaign to distort reality in an attempt to fool the public. The same type of people who called Obama a Muslim now try to portray the president as hostile to Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Not long ago, while sitting in the Oval Office, Obama looked me in the eye and said, "My commitment to Israel's security is bone deep." He didn't have to say that. I already knew he would never forsake Israel. His performance is crystal clear and the charlatans cannot change that.
My father supported Jewish communities around the world and prior to 1948 worked with those establishing Israel. For more than a half century, I've worked with successive Israeli governments and U.S. presidents -- Republican and Democrat -- to provide for the safety and security of the State of Israel.
My family has loved, worked and invested in Israel and its people since before its founding. We have not always agreed with its policies, but we have always been there to support and defend its government and people. We are connected to every facet of Jewish life and want nothing more than Israel's peace, security and prosperity. I am confident that Obama shares our values and I shall confidently vote for him in November.
Edgar M. Bronfman is former CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd. and former president of the World Jewish Congress.