Obama’s Support of Israel Gets My Support

— by Richard Rosenblatt

As an old, loyal, American Jew who cares about Israel I want to explain why I am committed to Obama for a second term as president.  I am a WWII veteran and former USAF pilot.  In the early 1930s I traveled to Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv to visit an uncle, an aunt, and my grandparents. I returned on many occasions.

I have watched U.S. administrations come and go in the years since the British Mandate. Never has any American president done more for Israel than has President Obama. Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, The Jerusalem Post, and Ambassador Shapiro have all spoken out publicly confirming Obama’s extraordinary support and unconditional commitment to Israel.

The following are some of the areas in which Obama has exceeded all other U.S. presidents in his actions to support the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel:

  • Obama provided Israel with the largest amount of military aid in U.S. history.
  • Obama has restored Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge with advanced weaponry.
  • Obama’s diplomatic support for Israel in the UN and around the world is unparalleled and unprecedented.
  • Obama recently personally and forcefully intervened to rescue Israel’s diplomats in Cairo.
  • President Obama said in front of the United Nations,

    “Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them… Those are facts. They cannot be denied.”

A Tale of Two Trips

— by Elizabeth Leibowitz

Perhaps the most interesting moment in Monday’s presidential debate was one of President Obama’s best lines of the night:

…when I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors, I didn’t attend fundraisers, I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.” He continued, saying, “I went down to the border towns of Sderot … I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms, and I was reminded of … what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.

Now, let me begin by saying that I know Romney visited Yad Vashem in 2007 and traveled to Sderot in 2011. But when the details of the two men’s trips to Israel as presidential candidates are contrasted and evaluated for who was more “presidential,” only one individual fits the bill.

President Obama visited Israel during his 2008 presidential campaign and met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and – unlike Governor Mitt Romney – with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He traveled to Sderot, where he talked with families who faced the daily fear of Palestinian rocket fire. He visited Yad Vashem, where he laid a wreath on a tomb that contains ashes from Nazi extermination camps. Obama’s trip to Israel greatly affected his actions once in office, prompting him to provide record aid to Israel, restore the country’s Qualitative Military Edge, fund the Iron Dome missile defense system, and more.

Governor Romney had quite a different trip as a candidate. He did meet with Peres, Netanyahu, and various other Israeli leaders — though he opted to cancel his meeting with the Labor Party’s Shelly Yachimovich. He chose to only meet with Fayyad, selecting to return to Jerusalem on the eve of Tisha B’Av to focus on his speech as well as his $50,000-a-plate fundraiser. Standing in front of his supporters, Romney spoke broadly about his stances on the Middle East, all the while dishing out subtle jabs at the President and breaking the “politics stop at the water’s edge” protocol. The next day, he managed to stretch U.S.-Palestinian relations even further when he chalked up the difference between Israeli and Palestinian economies to “culture.” During Romney’s August 2012 trip as a candidate, there was no trip to Sderot, no visit to Yad Vashem, and no conversations with average Israelis about their hopes for the future. Instead, his trip to Israel served a political purpose.

There is only one candidate in the 2012 race whose trip to Israel was presidential and whose actions afterward were presidential-President Barack Obama.

Women’s Issues are Economic Issues

— by Elizabeth Leibowitz

Contraception, choice, access to reproductive health care – these are terms synonymous with the all-encompassing phrase “women’s issues.” And yet, as President Barack Obama eloquently demonstrated in Tuesday’s presidential debate, “[t]hese are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues.” Access to affordable contraception is key if we wish for women to one day achieve equality in the workplace.

More after the jump.
Just this September the Guttmacher Institute published the results of a study that asked women to identify their reasons for using contraceptives and results were fascinating: 63 percent of respondents said their birth control allowed them to take better care of themselves or their families. What’s more, a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research released earlier this year found that the availability of oral contraception played a principal role in closing the gender wage gap since the 1980s. Being able to plan for children is necessary for women who wish to achieve their goals.

If we were to believe what Governor Mitt Romney said in Tuesday’s debate, we might think he agrees with the president:  

“…I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care of not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.”

But this answer is unrepresentative of Romney’s true views on the issue and provides another example of just how desperate the Governor is to win the election.  

Aside from taking a stringently anti-choice stance from the beginning of his campaign, Romney has demonstrated that he is against access to contraception time and time again. The Governor has repeatedly said he would repeal Obamacare, once again placing the burden of paying for contraceptives on the shoulders of women. He has been vocal about his desire to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves as the only source of reproductive health care for many low-income women. He has even gone as far to voice his support for the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to deny contraception to their female employees based on religious objections. These are not the actions are someone supportive of contraception accessibility.

With this information, it’s not shocking to learn that Romney did not support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — he doesn’t seem to understand equality in the workplace is still unachievable for many women. The President, on the other hand, does. Between passing his landmark health care bill to signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act to ensuring that all women have access to affordable contraception, Obama understands that women’s issues are economic issues — even without “binders” of women.