Britain’s Cooperative Group Embraces The Boycott Against Israel

— By Eric Lee

On 28 April, the fifth largest supermarket chain in Britain, the Co-operative Group, voted to stop trading with Israeli companies that source some of their products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  It is the first British supermarket chain to do so.

For those of us who oppose boycotts targetting the Jewish state, it is easy to dismiss this as irrelevant.  After all, it’s not like the Co-op voted to ban all Israeli products.  In fact the Co-op went out of their way to say precisely that.  They’re not boycotting Israel, they said.  They’re just boycotting “companies that profit from the occupation”.

More after the jump.
The decision comes despite the Co-op’s already having taken care of the problem last year.  According to their “Human rights and trade policy” report from 2011, “Significant time and resource is dedicated to safeguarding our Policy.  For example, to ensure that none of our produce originates from the illegal Israeli settlements, we use a robust policing system of grower codes, map grid references and spot check audits on our complete supply chain. In this way we can guarantee that none of our produce comes from these settlements.”

Despite that guarantee, the Co-op felt it had to go one step further. Apparently, it was not enough to guarantee that no produce from the Jewish settlements.  They’ve gone one step further.

Before dismissing the Co-op’s decision as being no big deal, it’s worth having a look at what supporters of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the UK are saying.

The London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which supports a “one-state solution” which would effectively destroy Israel, is ecstatic about the Co-op decision.  “Fantastic news!” they declare on their website.  “This important development … shows yet again the growing movement for solidarity with Palestine is having a concrete impact.”  They are certain that other supermarkets will follow the Co-op lead.  And they encourage all their supporters to now sign up as members of the Co-op to show their support for the boycott decision.

In the eyes of the PSC, this is a massive win.  They’ve managed to extend the boycott of settlement goods to include produce grown inside of Israel proper.  And they’ve done this by tainting Israeli agricultural export companies as bodies which “profit from the occupation”.

This new concept allows one to call for boycotts of all kinds of Israeli companies and institutions not directly linked to the settlements.  In doing so, the boycotters are deliberately blurring the distinction between West Bank settlements and the rest of Israel. Theirs is a patient, one-step-at-a-time campaign aiming towards a complete boycott of the Jewish state.

The Guardian, a newspaper notoriously hostile to Israel, once again made no attempt at objectivity in its coverage.  Referring to the pro-Hamas PSC as “Palestinian human rights campaigners”, they noted that this was “the first time a supermarket anywhere in the west had taken such a position”.

After quoting from several supporters of the boycott (but no one from the Jewish community in Britain), they concluded their account with a sneering reference to official Israeli policy.   “Boycott campaigns against Israel are routinely denounced by Israeli officials as part of a drive to ‘delegitimise’ the Jewish state,” they wrote.

Routinely denounced.  Delegitimise —  in quotes.

British Jews are deeply worried by this development, saying that “the Co-op has not fully understood the Jewish community’s serious concerns with an ever-increasing slippery-slope boycott policy.”

They should not be alone in making this argument.  They need allies in Britain, elsewhere in Europe and around the globe.

One can oppose the policies of the Netanyahu-Mofaz government including opposing the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But to go from there to supporting a boycott of Israeli companies that may have “profited from the occupation” is a step too far.

The PSC’s strategy is absolutely clear and they’re not hiding it. They are taking this one step at a time.

First, persuade groups like the Co-op to boycott settlement goods. Few on the Left would speak out against that.

Second, ban goods from companies which source some of their products from the settlements.  Again, very few voices would be heard against that either.

The next step is to ban all Israeli products on the basis that the Israeli economy and society “profit from the occupation”.

British Jews are feeling very worried about these developments.

One might think that this sort of thing can’t happen in America.  But it can.  The same logic – first ban settlement goods, then ban goods from those who “profit from the occupation” may well resonate in the US as well.

But if it can be shown that the concept of “those who profit from the occupation” is actually a code word for Israelis (or even Jews), we can turn this around.

The pro-Hamas “Palestinian human rights campaigners” may have gone a step too far.

This is a fight that we can win.

Obama’s Right Wing Critics Should Be Dizzy from All their Spinning

— by Marc R. Stanley

Ever since President Barack Obama’s inauguration, his right wing critics have devoted countless hours and millions of keystrokes to spinning the President’s record of support for Israel so far from reality that it threatens the historical bipartisan foundation of American support for Israel. The vortex of right wing spin was fully on display last week as Republican partisans and right wing pundits pounced on selectively-chosen quotes and inaccurate media reports to continue their baseless attacks on Obama’s stellar record of support for Israel.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivered-in front of a pro-Israel crowd gathered to substantively and civilly discuss Israel-an entire address that discussed the actual steps taken by the Obama Administration to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Right wingers took five words from the question and answer section, removed their context, and ran wild with them as if they nullified every pro-Israel action described in Panetta’s speech.

More after the jump.
Despite what you may have heard or read, Panetta-who is widely regarded as being pro-Israel by many involved with the issue-made two things crystal clear. First, “Israel will always have the unshakeable backing of the United States,” and second, that the President is considering a “wide range of military options” as part of his approach to stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

As usual though, Republicans overlooked Panetta’s positive statements and continued their effort to make Israel a partisan wedge issue. The spin on Panetta’s speech was so far removed from reality that the nonpartisan American Jewish Committee weighed in and criticized the inaccurate reports of Panetta’s speech, in addition to setting the record straight on his strongly pro-Israel statements.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton-also a stalwart supporter of Israel-received similar treatment following an off-the-record session during the same Israel forum that Panetta spoke at. Clinton reportedly expressed concern over certain recent Knesset bills and incidents regarding women and Israel’s Orthodox community. Predictably, Obama’s right wing critics spun Clinton’s reported comments past the point of reality, and largely ignored the mainstream American Jewish leaders and organizations that vocally expressed similar concerns about similar issues.

These two recent incidents highlight the lengths that Obama’s right wing detractors will go to malign his Administration’s stellar record of support for Israel. After vocally opposing the Palestinians’ unilateral state declaration, increasing security cooperation with Israel to unprecedented levels-including supplemental funding for the Iron Dome missile system that protects Israelis from Hamas’ rockets, consistently defending Israel’s legitimacy at the United Nations, personally intervening to save Israel’s diplomats in Cairo, and personally authorizing the delivery of any equipment Israel needed to fight the Carmel fire, Obama’s naysayers simply have little substance to criticize.

As a result, those seeking to make Israel a partisan wedge issue create bogus stories based on inaccurate media reports and remarks taken out of context. Most seriously though, right wing partisans politicize the occasional tactical disagreements that have zero act on the fundamental core principles of the U.S.-Israel relationship. When Israeli and American leaders state publically that the U.S.-Israel relationship is as strong as it has ever been-as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren have all loudly and repeatedly stressed-right wing partisans tune out and keep pushing their spin and smears. Their hope is that their efforts will bring the mass exodus of Jews from Democratic Party to the Republican Party that they’ve been wishing for since at least the 1980’s.

Recent polls of American and Israeli Jews indicate that the right wing spin of Obama’s Israel record is not causing the massive Israel-based shift that Republicans want to see. Given the wide distance separating the Republican presidential field from the majority of American Jews, right wing partisans should be dizzy to the point of sickness by now. But since the GOP-from Party leaders to presidential candidates to rank-and-file members of Congress-has demonstrated its intent to politicize the U.S.-Israel relationship without regard to Obama’s actual record, those who support a strong bipartisan consensus of support for Israel must speak out loudly to refute the spin before the relationship suffers collateral damage from their partisan attacks.

Originally published in the Texas Jewish Post. Marc R. Stanley is the Chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Send Obama A Message!


— by Rabbi Avi Shafran

The Obama administration considers Israel a sponsor of terror — at least according to Dick Morris, the disgraced ex-advisor to Bill Clinton, and a host of self-styled “conservative” media. The news was shocking — well, maybe not to the clever folks who knew all along that the president is a secret Muslim, but certainly to the rest of us.

What turned out to be the case is that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency maintains a list of 36 “specially designated countries” whose immigrating citizens get extra scrutiny because their nations “promote, produce or protect terrorist organizations or their members.” Note the word “or.”

“Produce,” in this context, means that terrorists reside in the country. Thus, countries like the Philippines and Morocco, along with Israel, are on the list. Approximately a million and a half Israeli citizens are Arabs-many of whom have ties to Arab residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. So no, with apologies to Mr. Morris et al, the U.S. does not consider Israel a terror sponsor.

What makes some people all too ready to misrepresent such things is that many Americans, especially in the Jewish community, have deep concerns about President Obama’s Middle East policies. My personal view is that these concerns are overblown. While I realize there are other opinions, as far as I can tell Mr. Obama’s positions on building in the settlements and on the terms of Israel-Palestinian negotiations have been American policy since long before his presidency.

Even doubters of Mr. Obama’s good will, though, should recognize the import of the administration’s declared readiness to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood. That stance risks the U.S.’s international political capital and may even, G-d forbid, come to threaten Americans’ safety. Might it speak more loudly about the president than his opposition to new settlements?

Speaking equally loudly is what happened on September 9, when Mr. Obama acted swiftly to warn Egyptian authorities that they had better protect Israeli embassy guards in Cairo besieged by a mob. When Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minster Barak were unable to reach the apparently indisposed Egyptian military leader Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spent hours hounding the Egyptian, finally reaching him at 1 AM to let him know that if anything happened to the Israelis, there would be “very severe consequences.” Egyptian soldiers protected the hostages until an Israeli Air Force plane safely evacuated them.

Mr. Netanyahu later recounted that he had asked for Mr. Obama’s help and that the president had replied that he would do everything he could. “And so he did,” testified the Prime Minister.  

It may not be meaningful for many, but I was struck two days later on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks when the president, betraying his Islamic beliefs (joke!), chose for his reading at the New York ceremony the 46th chapter of Tehillim. The one including the words (in the White House’s translation):

“Though its waters roar and be troubled… there’s a river whose streams shall make glad the City of G-d, the holy place of the Tabernacle of the Most High.”

And:

“The God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Whatever our takes on this or that statement or position, hard facts are not up for debate.

Let’s not forget some such facts:

  • The Obama administration has provided more security assistance to Israel than any American administration;
  • he has repeatedly declared (first in 2009 in Cairo during his speech to the Arab world) that the bond between the U.S. and Israel is “unbreakable”;
  • his Secretary of State lectured Al-Jazeera that “when the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon they got Hezbollah and 40,000 rockets and when they pulled out of Gaza they got Hamas and 20,000 rockets”;
  • his State Department has condemned the Palestinian Authority’s “factually incorrect” denial of the Western Wall’s connection to the Jewish people;
  • and much more.

Last week, in the lead-up to a Congressional election in Brooklyn  in which Jews had ample other reason to vote against the Democratic candidate, some ads presented the contest as an opportunity to “Send Obama a Message”-which some Jews took to mean an angry message about Israel.

Many thoughtful Jews, though, have a different message for Mr. Obama:

"Thank you."

UN Gaza Flotilla Report Vindicates Israel

Panel Commissioned by U.N. Secretary-General Upholds Israeli Self-Defense as Legitimate

— by Sharon Bender

United Nations “panel of inquiry,” led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, found that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza and the May 31, 2010, Israeli flotilla raid seeking to violate it were justified.  

In contrast with a separate U.N. Human Rights Council “fact finding mission” that had prejudged Israel as guilty, both Israel and Turkey participated in the Palmer panel, commissioned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The report suggested that the Turkish government had enabled the maritime provocation by the Turkish extremist group IHH.  

This report finally validates and vindicates Israel’s right to defend itself.  

More after the jump.
The Mavi Marmara was one of six so-called humanitarian ships that had attempted to break through a blockade meant to prevent weapons-smuggling into Hamas-controlled Gaza. The report does, however, unfairly criticize as “excessive and unreasonable” the force the Israel Defense Forces used while intercepting the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship-a vessel on which Israeli naval commandos were assaulted.  

“Whatever efforts it undertakes in self-defense, Israel is inevitably accused of employing disproportionate force,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “The fact that violence did not ensue on other ships headed for Gaza demonstrates that Israeli soldiers never sought confrontation, but were, in this instance, forced into it. The report exposes last year’s flotilla as another example of reckless political gamesmanship.”

Israel instituted its blockade of Gaza in response to the actions of Hamas: the control that terrorist group has seized in the coastal territory and its incessant rocket attacks on the Jewish state. At the same time, Israel facilitates importation of humanitarian supplies and materials vital to the area’s residents, and had offered to receive goods from the ships at a safe port and truck them into Gaza.

“Israel responded legally and professionally to the security threat to Israeli citizens that these ships posed,” said Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “This report is a positive first step in correcting the record at the United Nations that has been bent on vilifying Israel.”

Israel itself established a public commission, led by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the flotilla episode. The body found that Israel’s military acted in accordance with international laws and practices.

Obama Admin.-Funded Iron Dome “Crucial” to Israel’s Defense

— by Jason Attermann

The Washington Times reported on the extraordinary accuracy of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system at stopping rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The system has been operational since April and has performed successfully at an 85% efficiency level against short-range rockets fired toward civilian areas. With such a high level of success, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced that Israel’s third Iron Dome battery has been deployed to protect the city of Ashdod, with more batteries to come in other locations throughout the country. President Barack Obama spearheaded the U.S. funding effort for the Iron Dome as a demonstration of his commitment to securing Israel.  

The Hamas – Oops, Gaza – Flotilla

–by David Harris

We’re on the verge of another “flotilla” to Gaza. Estimates of the number of ships and participants vary from day to day, tending downward, but the erstwhile organizers insist that the maritime operation will take place.

Their spokesmen have been hyperactive in drawing attention to the event. After all, without coverage, they’d be denied their oxygen. And the kind of coverage they seek – idealistic humanists and peace activists determined to aid the poor, beleaguered residents of Gaza versus stone-hearted oppressors in military uniforms determined to block them at all costs – would, needless to say, portray Israel in the worst possible light.

The International Solidarity Movement, Free Gaza Movement, U.S. Boat to Gaza, and kindred spirits want the world to believe there is a strip of land called Gaza that, left to its own devices, would create the Shangri-La of the Middle East.  
All its residents want are peace, harmony, coexistence, and tranquility. Some spokesmen acknowledge that Gaza has a governing authority. A very few even mention its name, Hamas, but hasten to add that it was elected democratically, so end of story. The rest don’t give it a name, as it might muddy the waters.

According to this narrative – a word particularly popular in Middle East discussions- the residents of Gaza face a neighboring oppressor, Israel, which, for diabolical reasons of its own, wants to inflict maximum harm on people whose only dream in life is to live and let live. For these spokesmen, the wealth of vocabulary in the Oxford English Dictionary fails to capture the true nature of Israel’s venality.

Enter, then, the self-described, modern-day Freedom Riders. They’re boarding flotilla ships, they suggest, to bring aid, relief, and attention to those trapped in Birmingham, Alabama, circa 1963.

George Orwell, where are you? You could have a field day with this story.

Actually, you anticipated it when you wrote about the Ministry of Truth in your classic book, 1984. What were the ruling party’s slogans on the outside of the 1,000-foot-tall building housing the ministry? Weren’t they “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength”? And didn’t the ministry rewrite history at will to ensure it always served the party’s interests?

The Gaza flotilla spokesmen are inverting the truth and rewriting history at will to serve their interests. And what are those interests? To prop up the Hamas regime in Gaza and delegitimize Israel.

While they are entitled to their own opinions, however misguided, they are not entitled to their own facts.

They cannot separate Hamas from the equation. Much as they might try, the central fact is that Hamas is key to understanding Gaza today.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. Don’t take my word for it. Check with the United States and European Union, both of which have designated Hamas as a terrorist entity.

Hamas preaches the elimination of Israel and a toxic brew of classical anti-Semitism. Again, don’t believe me. Read the Hamas Charter.

While Hamas may have been elected to govern with the PA in 2006, the first and only national Palestinian elections, one election does not a democracy make. Hamas used the ballot box to gain a foothold, then employed anti-democratic means to impose its own suffocating vision on the land. Hamas violently ousted the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority from Gaza in 2007 and has ruled ever since. Because Hamas cannot reform, the much heralded “unity” agreement it signed with Fatah six weeks ago is headed for an uncertain future.

Hamas celebrates violence. It joyously speaks of jihad, martyrdom, conflict, and the ultimate destruction of Israel. It has matched its fiery rhetoric with a sustained effort to import weapons, courtesy of Iran, smugglers in the Sinai, and tunnels from the Egyptian side of the border. In recent years, literally thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired from Gaza at Israel. Why?

Israel has no claim on Gaza. To the contrary, Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Soldiers and settlers alike were pulled out by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, giving local residents the first chance ever in their history to govern themselves.

Indeed, with Israel’s encouragement, a number of Jewish donors purchased Israeli greenhouses in Gaza and left them behind to help jump-start the local economy. The first reaction was to ransack them, when they could have been sources of flowers and vegetables for the local economy.

Israel has an interest in a stable, peaceful, and prospering Gaza, not a gun-toting, missile-firing, jihad-preaching entity. After all, you can change a lot of things in life, but not neighbors. Israel and Gaza are destined to be neighbors for a long time to come.

The Quartet – the U.S., EU, Russia, and UN – set three conditions for engagement with Hamas. The group must forswear violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. To date, none of those conditions have been met. Apologists for Gaza would have you believe otherwise, but Hamas’s spokesmen always undercut them. When it serves their purposes, they might briefly curtail violence to regroup and rearm, but Hamas is adamant that it will never abandon its struggle against Israel.

So, let’s be clear. The flotilla participants, whether they acknowledge it or not, are handmaidens of a terrorist regime. That regime, not Israel, is responsible for the conditions in Gaza, which may not be enviable, but are a far cry from the dire picture of starvation and stunted growth painted by the hyperbolic spokesmen.

Israel has only one concern, which is to ensure that Hamas, a declared enemy of Israel, does not get additional means to threaten its neighbor. That’s it, pure and simple.

As has been said, if Hamas laid down its weapons, there would be peace. If Israel laid down its weapons, there would be no Israel.

The flotilla participants claim their mission is nothing more than humanitarian, but, in reality, it serves the interests of a regime that espouses terrorism, peddles anti-Semitism, and praises the memory of Osama Bin Laden.

To portray themselves as the new wave of Freedom Riders is to trample grotesquely on the legacy of America’s civil rights struggle and rewrite history. Orwell’s Ministry of Truth is back.

For more information, visit ajc.org.

Hamas Condemns US Attack on “Holy Warrior” Osama Bin Laden

— Alan Elsner and David Z. Harris

  • Hamas: Killing of “Arab holy warrior” is criminal.
  • Netanyahu: Fight against terror rolls on.

“We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

That was the reaction of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (photo right) to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

While Americans, Israelis and much of the rest of the world welcomed the death of the man who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States which killed around 3,000 people, Hamas was plunged into sadness. The Iranian-backed terrorist group, whose official charter calls for the destruction of Israel, has fired 328 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians so far this year.

Haniyeh, who acts as Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip, referred to bin Laden as a “spiritual leader” and equated his death with an “American policy based on oppression and bloodshed in the Muslim and Arab world.”

More after the jump.
Hamas, which a few days ago announced a unification agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, refuses to recognize Israel or enter into any peace negotiations with it.

Palestinian officials are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to sign a reconciliation agreement and choose a new candidate for prime minister. Senior Hamas officials have already stated that the prime minister of the new unity government should come from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Article seven of the Hamas charter states,

“Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! …there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, called the targeting of bin Laden a “resounding victory for justice, freedom and the common values of all democracies that are resolutely fighting shoulder to shoulder against terrorism.”

Other Israeli officials expressed concern that the death of bin Laden could provoke terror groups to retaliate.

Al-Qaeda has “infiltrated the Palestinian territories with help from Hamas,” Abbas confirmed in a 2008 interview.

“I can say without doubt that al-Qaeda is present in the Palestinian territories and that this presence, especially in Gaza, is facilitated by Hamas,” Abbas told the Arabic paper al-Hayat, The Times reported.

Analysts believe that al-Qaeda is trying to establish itself in new areas, particularly Gaza, because it is losing ground in traditional strongholds, such as Iraq.

“Under the Hamas strategic umbrella several salafis and jihadists have proliferated in the Gaza Strip and during the last year have attacked Israeli territory with missiles and rockets, sometimes in coordination with Hamas, sometimes independently,” Ely Karmon, a leading expert at Israel’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism, told The Israel Project.

“In my evaluation these groups will try to revenge Bin Laden’s death by attacking Israel, the best U.S. ally in the region… If these attacks will produce Israeli casualties, they could provoke an Israeli retaliation and a new crisis between Israel and Hamas,” Karmon added.

“This might empower [al-Qaeda] to do more,” Theodore Karasik, the director for research and development at the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis told Al Jazeera.

Referring to the fear of reprisal for bin Laden’s death, Karasik said the younger generation of al-Qaeda is “more vicious” and more willing to take chances.

Andrew White, known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” who runs the only Anglican Church in Iraq, dubbed Bin Laden’s death as “very dangerous” because al-Qaeda “will try to show the world that they can and will still commit terror.” He made the comments on his Facebook page.

Fatah Signs Accord With Hamas

— by National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) Chair Marc R. Stanley and President and CEO David A. Harris

The power sharing agreement between Hamas and Fatah represents a turning point in the current dynamics of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We know President Barack Obama and his Administration will monitor this situation exceptionally closely and act decisively, helping Israel to mitigate any potential dangers to its future security this apparent new reality could cause.

That said, we are hopeful that President Obama will show continuing strong leadership; that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not see this as a reason to be deterred from presenting bold steps towards a lasting peace; and that this reported accord will put pressure on the most extreme elements of Palestinian society to lay down their weapons and end this generation’s old conflict. As part of this, Hamas must renounce violence, abide by past agreements and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

One thing is clear; the status quo is not sustainable for any party involved. The only path away from the status quo leads towards two states.

Obama’s Iron Dome Support Saves Israeli Lives

— Jason Attermann

Last week, Israel deployed the Iron Dome missile defense system which is equipped with cutting-edge technology capable of intercepting short-range rockets. Positioned in southern Israel near the Gaza border, the Iron Dome system first successfully struck down an incoming rocket on April 7, 2011, and has since prevented multiple other rockets from causing damage or killing Israeli civilians.

The United States’ strong support for this new and effective defense mechanism can be attributed to the efforts of President Barack Obama and his administration. On July 23, 2008, then-Senator Obama visited Sderot and witnessed firsthand the damage caused by Hamas rockets. He said, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything in power to stop that, and would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

As President, in May 2010, he demanded $205 million in funding for the Iron Dome system-to help make the program a reality. The funding would be included in the 2011 federal budget. As White House spokesman Tommy Vietor put it, “The president recognizes the threat missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israelis, and has therefore decided to seek funding from Congress to support the production of Israel’s short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome.” Thus, the United States-Israel Rocket and Missile Defense Cooperation and Support Act was sponsored by Representative Glenn Nye (D-VA) in the House and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the Senate. Following almost unanimous approval by both chambers, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) said, “With nearly every square inch of Israel at risk from rocket and missile attacks, we must ensure that our most important ally in the region has the tools to defend itself.”

US assistance for this essential program was in question as the 2011 federal budget was negotiated. Despite Republicans holding up a budget agreement in the House for months, an agreement to be voted on later this week appears highly likely to include Obama’s request for this crucial funding.

As we’ve seen this week, the Iron Dome is saving the lives of Israelis-and making a critical difference, surely to the dismay of Hamas. Tremendous credit for American support of this vital system goes to Obama-stemming from before he was even President. Thanks to Obama’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security, Israel now has the technology and capability to defend its borders from rocket attacks.

See the BBC for photos and explanation of the system.