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Snap Fact #134

President Obama Stands Firmly With Israel Against a Nuclear Iran!
The question, when it comes to President Obama and Israel, is whether he is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the very most?

Why? Because he has delivered for Israel in word and deed since coming to office. What better proof that he is 100% in Israel's corner than the unequivocal pronouncements by Israel's top leaders (including Netanyahu, Barak, and Peres) that Presiden Obama is a "good man, a good president, and a good friend of Israel". America under Obama's leadership has delivered more economically, defensively, and militarily than was even requested. (See other related SNAP-CAPS in this series.)

At this moment the question of whether Israel has the need and the right to per-emptively attack Iran, as it seemingly develops a nuclear potential, is one of the most hotly contested issues on the world stage today. It is also an issue fraught with danger for Israel and American Jews, neither of whom want to be accused of dragging America into a war, especially one that could weaken an already frail world economy.

President Obama, in his recent address to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, offered the greatest support for Israel that any president could at this time: He redefined the Iran issue. He said — rightly — that it was not simply about Israel’s security, but about U.S. national security and global security. He indicated that diplomacy was showing signs of working and that whatever happens we "have Israels back". The President not only spoke firmly at the AIPAC meeting, he was equally as clear and forceful when he spoke before the United Nations General Assembly, a clearly more hostile audience.

The President has made it abundantly clear that allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons and then “containing” that country was not a viable option, because if Iran acquires a nuclear bomb, all the states around it would seek to acquire one as well. This would not only lead to a nuclear Middle East, but it would likely prompt other countries to hedge their commitments to the global Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The global nuclear black market would then come alive and we would see the specter of an even more dangerous world. 

“Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapons isn’t just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States,” the president told The Atlantic. “If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, this would run completely contrary to my policies of nonproliferation. The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, there are probably four or five countries in the Middle East who would start a program, and at that point, the prospect for miscalculation in a region that has that many tensions and fissures is profound. You essentially then duplicate the challenges of India and Pakistan fivefold or tenfold.” In summary, the president added, “The dangers of an Iran getting nuclear weapons that then leads to a free-for-all in the Middle East is something that I think would be very dangerous for the world.” 

Every Israeli and friend of Israel should be thankful to the president for framing the Iran issue this way. It is important strategically for Israel, because it makes clear that dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat was not Israel’s problem alone. As such, no one should want domestic electoral politics mixed up with the Iran decision, which is why it was so important that the president redefined the Iran problem as a global proliferation threat and grounded his decision-making in American realism, not politics. 
But this decision, about whether to attack Iran, is coinciding with U.S. election politics. The last thing Israel or American friends of Israel — Jewish and Christian — want is to give their enemies a chance to claim that Israel is using its political clout to embroil America in a war, or even to make a pre-emptive military strike on our own, that is not in our own interest. 

Such a thing could easily happen because backing for Israel today has never been more politicized. In recent years, Republicans have tried to make support for Israel a wedge issue that would enable them to garner a higher percentage of Jewish votes and campaign contributions, which traditionally have swung overwhelmingly Democratic. This has led to a war of words with the Democrats over who is more pro-Israel. In trying to appear more pro-Israel, the bluster streaming from Republican candidates and others comprises feckless accusations with no new strategy, only over-the-top declarations of love, such as these recent comments:
    • the Palestinians “are an invented people.”- {Gingrich}:
    • Obama is "turning his back on Israel"- {Santorum}
    • "You’ve had no evidence that the president is prepared to take steps to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. They talk and the Iranians build. ... I mean, we’re being played for fools."- {Gingrich}
    • "no president has done more to delegitimize and destabilize the state of Israel in recent history than President Obama."- {Chenny (Liz)} (Opinion: This one wins the prize)
    • "the president’s approach to Iran had failed the American people and made the nation less secure, in part by failing to impose crippling sanctions against Iran."- {Romney}
Apparently, none of the Republicans were paying attention to the president's long standing position of diplomacy and hard biting sanctions, which he repeated again in his address to AIPAC.

Reports from the AIPAC convention this week indicated that those advocating military action were getting the loudest cheers. All those cheering should think about the unintended and unanticipated consequences of the Iraq war or Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. That’s not a reason for paralysis. It’s a reason to heed Obama’s call to give diplomacy and tough sanctions a chance to work, while keeping the threat of force on the table. 

If it comes to war, let it be because the ayatollahs were ready to sacrifice their whole economy to get a nuke and, therefore, America — the only country that can truly take down Iran’s nuclear program — had to act to protect the global system, not just Israel. One must respect that this is a deadly serious issue for Israel — which has the right to act on its own — but President Obama has built a solid strategic and political case for letting America take the lead. He already has many ofthe key elements and key plaers n the game and it may be working.

On March 8th, 2012, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has welcomed comments by U.S. President Barack Obama pushing forward diplomacy and not war as a solution to Tehran's nuclear ambition, Iran's state TV reported. Did we just see Khamenei blink? Is this the real thing or another stall? Onee thing the supreme leader can count on, his time and his options are running down. He understands what many in America refuse to, President Barack Husein Obama is a tough man and he does what he says he will. Iran is on notice and they know it.