Obama, Romney AJC Poll: Question 2 (Israel US Relationship)

The American Jewish Committee has posted answers to President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s responses to a questionnaire from the organization.

Yesterday we posted the first question which was about Iran. Question 2 follows below. The remaining questions and the responses from the two candidates will be posted daily over the next week. Stay tuned.

Question 2: How would you characterize the U.S.-Israel relationship, and what role should that alliance play in U.S. Middle East policy? How should the United States continue its commitment to maintaining Israel’s ability to deter and defend against foreseeable combinations of threats, and maintain its military edge? What role should the United States play if Israel comes under attack from Gaza and the West Bank or from the territory of one of its neighbors?

Response from President Obama

The United States and Israel share a deep and enduring friendship built on mutual interests and values – and America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. I have a deep understanding of the grave threats that Israel faces, and I have been steadfast in supporting its right to defend itself.  Israel’s security is non-negotiable.

I will do whatever it takes to ensure that Israel always has the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. That’s why my Administration has sent Israel the largest security assistance packages in its history, even in these tough budgetary times here at home. My administration is funding the Iron Dome system that stops rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah from harming innocent Israelis. Our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer, and we have worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. And we stand united in working to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

I have also stood with Israel in the international community when others have tried to delegitimize its right to exist or to unfairly criticize its actions. I’ve often stood alone in supporting Israel, and I will continue to do so because it’s the right thing to do. When Israeli diplomats feared for their lives in Cairo, we intervened to save them. When one-sided and anti-Israel resolutions are brought up at the UN Human Rights Council, we oppose them. When the Goldstone report unfairly singled out Israel for criticism, we challenged it. And when the Palestinians attempted to circumvent direct negotiations with Israel and pursue statehood unilaterally at the United Nations, we rallied our partners and allies to block their efforts.

Response from Governor Mitt Romney

  • Israel is the U.S.’s closest ally in the Middle East and a beacon of democracy and freedom in the region. In a Romney administration, there will be no gap between our nations or between our leaders. I will make clear that America’s commitment to Israel’s security and survival as a Jewish state is absolute, and will demonstrate that commitment to the world by making Jerusalem the destination of my first foreign trip.
  • To ensure Israel’s security, I will work closely with Israel to maintain its strategic military edge. We will also work intensively with Turkey and Egypt to shore up the fraying relationships with Israel that have underpinned peace in the Middle East for decades. The United State must forcefully resist the emergence of anti-Israel policies in Turkey and Egypt, and work to make clear that the interests of those countries are not served by isolating Israel.

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