After Clinton, Biden Defends Obama on Israel (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 05/09/12)
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Vice President Joe Biden vigorously defended the Obama
administration´s record on Israel on Tuesday, crediting President
Barack Obama for strengthening America´s position in the region and
for imposing “the most damaging sanctions in this century” to prevent
Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Biden spoke before an annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly.
“We were the problem,” Biden was quoted by NBC as having said of the
global view of the United States before the president took
office. “We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region,
in Europe. The international pressure on Iran was stuck in neutral.”
He added, “We were neither fully respected by our friends nor feared
by our opponents. Today it is starkly, starkly different.”
Biden argued that Obama “deserves the credit” for coordinating harsh
sanctions against Iran that he says are bringing that nation´s
negotiators back to the table, although he warned that the time for
diplomacy may be waning.
“The window has not closed in terms of the ability of the Israelis if
they choose on their own to act militarily,” he added, noting that he
understood Israel´s desire not to “contract out” its security to
allies like the United States.
He repeated that the U.S. does not have “a policy of containment”
towards Iran and added, “We will prevent Iran from acquiring a
nuclear weapon by whatever means needed, period. Period.”
Citing dissension between Iran´s own leaders, the vice president also
predicted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad will be forced
from power within two years.
Biden’s remarks come a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
sought to defend Israel for its actions in the Middle East.
During a visit to Kolkata, India, Clinton said, “The United States
believes that whatever differences one might have with the situation
in the Middle East, Israel has been defending itself for 60 years and
has made numerous overtures to bring about a peaceful resolution of
the situation. It has thus far been unsuccessful in doing so.”
Obama has come under fire for his policy on Israel. In his foreign
policy speech last May, Obama called for a return to the 1949
armistice lines (often erroneously called 1967 borders) as a
starting point for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
The speech drew criticism from Obama’s political opponents, with
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney accusing the President of
having “thrown Israel under the bus.”
Obama’s policy on Israel may have come at a price. Recent reports
have indicated that Obama has lost 16 percent of his support among
U.S. Jews and may lose the elections in key states like Florida, come
The reports were based on a recent poll by the Public Religion
Research Institute, which showed that 62 percent of 1,004 American
Jews surveyed said that they would vote for Obama. The key concern
for Obama is that this is a sizeable downturn from 2008, when he got
78 percent of the Jewish vote.
Biden himself recently came under fire after he told rabbis in
Florida that Obama was set to release Jonathan Pollard but that Biden
thwarted the move.
“President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my
dead body are we going to let him out before his time,’” said Biden,
adding, “If it were up to me, he would stay in jail for life.”
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/09/12)
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