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Obama has proven his commitment to Israel´s security / Those who care about the Jewish state should be proud of the President´s record (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS OP-ED) BY STEVEN GROSSMAN 08/10/12) Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-proven-commitment-israel-security-article-1.1133390
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What do Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson and all but two American Presidents in the last 64 years have in common? None of them traveled to Israel in his first term, yet almost all were considered friends of the Jewish state.
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With the exception of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, no U.S. President has made a stop in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem during his first four years in office ó nor have their failures to visit been considered a sign of disloyalty or lack of support for the U.S.- Israel relationship.
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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 hasnít made the trek to Ben Gurion Airport since his days as a candidate in 2008.
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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 isnít whether someone goes to Israel, but the policies they espouse here at home. Obamaís tenure has been marked by a string of pro-Israel actions, accomplishments and stands.
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The Presidentís record starts and ends with his clear and concrete steps to safeguard Israeli families. His administration has restored and increased Israelís qualitative military edge. It has invested more in security aid to Israel than any other White House in history.
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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 ó and responded as President by authorizing and supporting additional funding for the Iron Dome, Davidís Sling and Arrow missile defense systems.
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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.
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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 ó and he has ensured that Israel has the means to meet this critical objective.
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No wonder Israelís former prime minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently said, ďthis administration, under President Obama, is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past.Ē
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Obamaís record doesnít end there. He has promised to use every tool at his disposal to prevent the greatest threat to Israelís security ó a nuclear-armed Iran ó from becoming a reality. And despite partisan assertions to the contrary, he hasnít backed down from that pledge.
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By legislation and by executive order he has imposed the most far- reaching sanctions ever deployed against Iranís leaders, banks, energy and financial sectors. He has built an unprecedented international coalition to deepen Iranís isolation and has worked relentlessly to cut the Iranian regime off from the global economy.
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On all counts, these sanctions are biting. Iranís exports are shrinking. Iranís economy is suffering. The pressure is building and the isolation is growing.
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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.
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So, as the ads appear and the lies are spread, letís not get bogged down in petty debates and absurd accusations about travel schedules that have no bearing on the U.S.-Israel relationship.
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When it comes to Israelís security, President Obama hasnít taken his eyes off the ball. In this election, as pro-Israel voters, we shouldnít either.
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Grossman is Massachusetts state treasurer and the former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). From 1997 to 1999, he served as chair of the Democratic National Committee. (© Copyright 2011 NYDailyNews.com. 08/10/12)
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