Well I guess this dispels the Republican lie on how Obama has not been a friend to Israel. Time for them to move on to the next lie.
Here is a portion of an opinion written by Steven Grossman from the New York Daily News on August 10, 2012
Obama has proven his commitment to Israel’s security
Those who care about the Jewish state should be proud of the President’s record
…Now, we hear from Gov. Mitt Romney and his supporters that President Obama is not sufficiently supportive of Israel. A big part of their proof? The fact that he hasn’t made the trek to Ben Gurion Airport since his days as a candidate in 2008.
I have been to Israel dozens of times and led many delegations of visiting political and civic leaders. I can tell you from experience that what counts isn’t whether someone goes to Israel, but the policies they espouse here at home. Obama’s tenure has been marked by a string of pro-Israel actions, accomplishments and stands.
The President’s record starts and ends with his clear and concrete steps to safeguard Israeli families. His administration has restored and increased Israel’s qualitative military edge. It has invested more in security aid to Israel than any other White House in history.
As a candidate in 2008, Obama visited Sderot and responded to the wanton damage he saw done by Gaza terrorists to it and other Gaza border communities — and responded as President by authorizing and supporting additional funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missile defense systems.
All of these programs are designed to respond to the immediate threats of rockets and missiles aimed at Israeli cities. The umbrella of missile defense in Israel has already saved Israeli lives and protected Israeli communities.
U.S.-Israeli military, security and intelligence cooperation is deeper than ever. American troops have conducted the largest-ever joint military exercises with their Israeli counterparts. The President has said Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, from any threat — and he has ensured that Israel has the means to meet this critical objective.
No wonder Israel’s former prime minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently said, “this administration, under President Obama, is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past.”
Obama’s record doesn’t end there. He has promised to use every tool at his disposal to prevent the greatest threat to Israel’s security — a nuclear-armed Iran — from becoming a reality. And despite partisan assertions to the contrary, he hasn’t backed down from that pledge.
By legislation and by executive order he has imposed the most far-reaching sanctions ever deployed against Iran’s leaders, banks, energy and financial sectors. He has built an unprecedented international coalition to deepen Iran’s isolation and has worked relentlessly to cut the Iranian regime off from the global economy.
On all counts, these sanctions are biting. Iran’s exports are shrinking. Iran’s economy is suffering. The pressure is building and the isolation is growing.
To ensure that no one mistakes his intentions, the President has made clear, time and again, that mere containment is not the policy of his White House and that he will take no options off the table to stop a nuclear Iran.
So, as the ads appear and the lies are spread, let’s not get bogged down in petty debates and absurd accusations about travel schedules that have no bearing on the U.S.-Israel relationship.
When it comes to Israel’s security, President Obama hasn’t taken his eyes off the ball. In this election, as pro-Israel voters, we shouldn’t either.
Here is additional commentary by Ed Koch that just appeared in the Capital J blog:
Ed Koch Commentary
August 13, 2012
1964 Is Back: A Redo of the Johnson-Goldwater Election
Mitt Romney has done this country a great service by selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate. He has changed the nature of the election from one that is about who is the best candidate to lead us out of the aftermath of the Great Recession to one that concerns fundamental party policies and philosophy. He has turned the election into what we had in 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson was finishing the term of our martyred President Jack Kennedy and running for his own first term against Senator Barry Goldwater, Republican from Arizona. Goldwater was the leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party and ultimately the leader of the entire party in that election.
The 1964 race became a referendum on whether the United States should jettison the principles of the party of hope – the Democratic party — created by FDR that united the aspirations of the middle class and addressed the needs of the poor and the concerns of women, blacks, Jews, other minorities, and farmers. FDR, a wealthy man, was denounced by many of his peers as a traitor to his class.
What FDR gave to our country was the promise of greater fairness for all of its people. One of his greatest contributions, many would say, was the Social Security program that was intended to assist these who had worked all their lives to retire at 65 with dignity. That concept was extended by President Johnson in 1965 with the creation of both Medicare and Medicaid. The former is basically for the elderly and the latter is for the impoverished of all ages.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the very programs that the Republicans and Conservatives beginning with Goldwater have been seeking to chip away at and ultimately eliminate. For example, President George W. Bush rightly recognized that Social Security needs to be changed to make it solvent. However, his proposal to privatize the program, making payments dependent on stock market performance, makes no sense, particularly in view of the affects of the Great Recession on the stock market. A better approach would have been and still would be to gradually increase the eligibility age (we fortunately live much longer today than we did in 1935), and apply the current Social Security tax to our entire personal income – it stops now at $110,100 — with such additional fiscal measures as are necessary to bring in more revenue. The program eligibility could also be made subject to a needs basis. Those who are wealthy don’t need the employer subsidies which could be added to and used for those who do.
There are changes of a fiscal nature short of privatization that could similarly protect Medicare from going bankrupt. Unfortunately, privatizing Medicare is the signature proposal of Paul Ryan and his budget adopted by the Republican House of Representatives. Ryan would give those 55 or younger vouchers to buy health insurance policies to replace the current Medicare entitlement program. Already the Romney-Ryan team is screaming it is unfair to attack Ryan on this his signature proposal. But he cannot run away from it and his philosophy. Listening to the talking heads, I hear a little buyers’ remorse setting in.
The Republicans, at the urging of Paul Ryan, want to change Medicaid into a limited block grant to be provided to each state to take the place of the existing entitlement program which provides benefits to an unlimited number of eligible beneficiaries.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and so many other programs are in great danger if the philosophy of the Romney-Ryan team prevails at the polls. The lack of Romney-Ryan compassion is also highlighted by their support for the Republican House-adopted budget, which slashes food stamps that are provided to poor children and others. And then there is the matter of a woman’s right to choose. The Republicans are trying in every state to deprive women of all their rights under Roe v. Wade, seeking to make it more and more difficult for a woman to exercise her right in consultation with her doctor to obtain a legally permissible abortion. The Republicans in many states are seeking to depress the black vote, requiring unneeded identification papers for voting. The effort to roll back citizen rights goes on.
The Times this morning summed up the philosophy of Paul Ryan, reporting, “though best known as an architect of conservative fiscal policy, Representative Paul D. Ryan has also been an ardent, unwavering foe of abortion rights, has tried to cut off federal money for family planning, has opposed same-sex marriage and has championed the rights of gun owners.”
The Democrats have made their share of mistakes over the years. However, they have recognized them, made needed changes and are willing to make more changes for the good of the country. We Democrats led by President Obama support the “grand bargain” entailing revenue increases and expense reductions. The Republican leadership, on the other hand, is largely interested in cutting spending for social programs, while rejecting revenue increases, particularly if such increases include higher taxes on the rich.
I am a proud Democrat but not an ideologue. I have identified myself through the years when I served as a member of Congress and mayor of New York City, as a Liberal with Sanity. When I thought it appropriate and in the best interest of my country, state and city, I have crossed party lines; for me, the people always come first.
I look around and see millionaires and billionaires thriving and while most of us don’t resent their wealth, we do object to their not paying their fair share of taxes. We are supposed to have a progressive tax system and instead the Congress bought by their wealthy supporters has provided loopholes that permit the wealthiest corporations and individuals to pay in some cases nothing at all. People who get their income from stock trading, unlike those of us who receive salaries, pay at a rate of 15 percent when a salaried employee receiving the same income could be paying at a 35 percent rate. This is simply not fair.
Thank you Mitt Romney for selecting Paul Ryan as your running mate and thereby unwittingly turning this election into a crusade by all Americans who put country first and are willing to join hands across party lines to fight for fairness for all of our fellow citizens.