President Obama’s Jewish Problem

— by Steve Sheffey

Move a Chicagoan to Miami and soon he’ll forget the sleet and snow and start complaining when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.

Relations between Israel and the United States are warmer under President Obama than under previous administrations. Yet we hear that the President has a “Jewish problem.” The problem is not President Obama, but us: We’ve lost historic perspective. We’re criticizing President Obama for what would have gone unnoticed in other administrations.

Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger threatened to “reassess” America’s relationship with Israel. President Obama has declared that America’s bond with Israel is “unbreakable,” and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak credited President Obama for the strongest relationship between the two countries ever.

Ronald Reagan suspended arms shipments to Israel, supported a UN resolution criticizing Israel for bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor, sold sophisticated arms to Saudi Arabia over AIPAC’s strong opposition, and told Israel that “the relationship between our two countries is at stake.” Reagan never visited Israel in his entire life, but he did visit a cemetery where Nazi war dead were buried, over the objections of Elie Wiesel.

George W. Bush rebuked then-prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2003 by rescinding $289.5 million in loan guarantees for Israel as punishment for what Bush considered illegal settlement activity. In 2004, the Bush administration abstained rather than veto a UN resolution condemning Israel for its actions in Gaza during a military operation aimed at stopping terrorism and weapons smuggling.

President Obama’s UN voting record is perfect, he successfully fought UN recognition of a Palestinian state, and just last week, President Obama extended loan guarantees to Israel to 2016. Israeli officials said that the extension is “important evidence” of the special economic relationship between the US and Israel and is also a considerable diplomatic expression of support.

Bush pressured Israel to allow Hamas to participate in Gaza elections, thus conferring on Hamas a legitimacy it could never have otherwise achieved. Perhaps worst of all, Bush made little progress in stopping Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons. President Obama has not negotiated with Hamas. He has mobilized the international community to impose the toughest sanctions ever against Iran and has repeatedly and unambiguously warned Iran that he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Period.

President Obama’s pro-Israel accomplishments compare favorably with any Republican president. Yet we keep complaining.

We say he hasn’t visited Israel as president, forgetting that Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are the only two presidents who visited Israel during their first terms in office. George W. Bush did not visit Israel until his seventh year as president. Ronald Reagan never visited in his entire life. Obama went to Israel as recently as 2006 and 2008, when he visited Sderot and saw first-hand the damage inflicted by Hamas terrorists.

We forget that during his first term, in 2003, George W. Bush visited the Port of Aqaba in Jordan, just nine miles from Israel (closer to Israel than Cairo). But Bush didn’t visit Israel. Instead, Bush said that “we have a problem with Sharon” and was visibly irritated with the then-Prime Minister. Remember how the Democrats exploited this for political gain in the 2004 election? Me neither.

We complain that the Obama administration criticizes Israel’s settlement policy, forgetting that every administration since 1967 has criticized Israel’s settlement policy and that no administration has ever recognized Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. But unlike previous Republican administrations,  the Obama administration has never threatened to withhold U.S. aid to Israel because of settlement activity; instead, President Obama has taken U.S. financial assistance to Israel to record levels.

We complain about imagined slights to Prime Minister Netanyahu, forgetting that when the chips were down, President Obama came through for Israel and Netanyahu. When Israel asked for help fighting the Carmel forest fires, President Obama’s response was “get Israel whatever it needs. Now.”

In September 2011, when the late-night call came from Israel to President Obama asking for help in rescuing the Israelis trapped in the Egyptian embassy, Netanyahu himself called it a “decisive and fateful moment,” recalling that Obama “said ‘I will do everything I can.’ And he did.”

The list goes on and on. Obama opposed the Goldstone Report, stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla, boycotted Durban II and Durban III, and successfully derailed Palestinian attempts to unilaterally declare statehood at the UN. He’s done more than any president to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And Mitt Romney says he’d “do the opposite” when it comes to Israel.  Maybe that’s why so many of Romney’s key foreign policy advisors are hold-overs from the Bush administration.

We hear when Israel is not invited to a conference or is omitted from even the most trivial list. But take another look at an important list, perhaps the most important list of this century: George W. Bush’s list of the Coalition Members for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bush did not include Israel. Whether we like it or not, George W. Bush and every president, Democratic and Republican, has taken Arab sensibilities into account when formulating foreign policy.

Yet despite the facts, the despite the historic perspective, it’s almost as if some of us want President Obama to be anti-Israel because that would validate our worst fears and confirm our ugliest prejudices. Attacking President Obama on Israel is like attacking John Kerry on his personal military record. The Swift Boat campaign worked because Kerry and his supporters were too slow to take it seriously and fight fiction with facts. The result was four more years of George W. Bush.

Maybe it’s our nature to complain. But President Obama’s words and deeds prove that he is not only a strong friend of Israel, but that he is willing to stand up for Israel publicly and behind the scenes. That’s what matters, and that’s why polling shows that about 70% of American Jews will again vote for President Obama in 2012. Adam Serwer was right:

If President Obama has a Jewish problem, it’s that more Americans aren’t Jewish.

And what about the 30% of American Jews who are voting Republican? My guess is that the percentage would be even less if they read this article from last week’s Forward, which explains that “Jewish Republicans may pretend that they’re pulling a lever for smaller government and more free enterprise. But that same lever advances ignorance, theocracy and religious coercion. Of course, most Jewish Republicans don’t favor the Christian Right’s positions. But that’s what a Republican vote means, and to pretend otherwise is just willful ignorance.” This article is a must-read.  

Another kind of video. This video doesn’t feature ominous music, or attractive women, or emotional images. It’s not slick. It’s for people who think. Dennis Ross, who has served in two Democratic administrations and two Republican administrations, talks about the relationship between Israel and the United States under President Obama.

Republicans have a major Jewish problem

Originally published in Politico

In the last two weeks, the Republican Party has demonstrated that it is simply out of touch with the majority of American Jews. First, its standard bearer selected a running mate who has been criticized by the Jewish community for his plans to end Medicare as we know it and gut the social safety net. Then, its 2012 official party platform took policy stands that are the opposite of those held by most Jews. When you add on RNC Platform Chair Gov. Bob McDonnell mixing up former President Ronald Reagan with Rabbi Hillel — well, the GOP has proven that there isn’t much room in their tent for most Jews.

But if that weren’t enough proof of the wide chasm separating the Republican Party from most American Jews, two of their representatives emerged in recent days as poster children for why Jewish voters do not trust or support the GOP. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) made his outrageously offensive statements on rape — the policies of which are now enshrined in the GOP’s official platform. Akin then bucked party leadership — including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — to remain a candidate for the Missouri Senate seat. And, according to a news report broken by POLITICO, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and several of his colleagues took a less-than-kosher nighttime dip in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) during their Israel trip last summer — behavior that reportedly enraged House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress.

As Americans begin to tune back in to politics in the coming weeks, they’re going to see a Republican Party that is more extreme than the one they last saw two and four years ago. To put it plainly, the GOP of 2012 will help reinforce why most American Jews will be backing President Obama.

GOP Platform Mistakenly Attributes Rabbi Hillel Quote to Reagan

Republicans have long idolized former President Ronald Reagan but now, according to Buzzfeed, they seem to be confusing him with one of Judaism’s important sages – Rabbi Hillel. According to Buzzfeed:

— by David Streeter

Republicans have long idolized former President Ronald Reagan but now, according to Buzzfeed, they seem to be confusing him with one of Judaism’s important sages – Rabbi Hillel. According to Buzzfeed:

The Republican Party’s 2012 platform misattributes a quote from Hillel the Elder, the Mishnaic sage, to former President Ronald Reagan.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell read the platform’s preamble after the conclusion of the platform committee’s business on Tuesday:

We must answer Ronald Reagan’s question: “If not us who? And if not now, when?”

But Reagan was loosely quoting Hillel the Elder’s guidance in the Jewish text of Pirkei Avoth (Ethics of the Fathers).

If I am not for myself, who will be?
And when I am for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?

Israel Can’t Afford Reagan 2.0

Originally published in Haaretz

— by David A. Harris

During these perilous times, a strong U.S.-Israel relationship is more important than ever. Mitt Romney’s admiration for the Reagan and Bush administrations, which consistently gave Israel slaps in the face, is a warning sign of his potential policies towards Israel if elected.    

We hear it from Republican candidates all the time – the pledge to be the next Ronald Reagan, to return to the conservative principles and policies of Republican presidents of the past.

More after the jump.
Mitt Romney is no different. His proposals look like carbon copies of Republicans’ greatest hits: tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, weakened regulations that ensure public safety, an end to Medicare as we know it, and an embrace of the same failed ideas that undermined our middle class and left our economy in tatters.

Governor Romney says he’ll do all of this and more, and we should take him at his word. Yet, when it comes to Israel, is following the path of Republican predecessors really in the best interest of the Jewish state?

Given Romney’s admiration for former U.S. presidents Reagan and Bush, a look at their records reveal some clues to how Romney might approach the U.S.-Israel relationship. The results do not bode well for Israel.

Think back to the days of President Reagan. To protest Israeli actions of which he didn’t approve, Reagan suspended a U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation agreement – in what the conservative commentator William Safire has called “the most stinging slap in the face administered to any US ally in recent history.” The Reagan Administration sold sophisticated weaponry to Saudi Arabia – AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) surveillance planes – while blocking the delivery of F-16s to Israel. And it supported anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, while condemning Israel’s attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

Time after time, Reagan publicly humiliated the United States’ best friend in the Middle East. Is Mitt Romney going to follow suit?

Now, think back to President George W. Bush. His administration allowed Israel’s qualitative military edge to erode and deteriorate, violating security agreements with Israel. It rescinded nearly $300 million in loan guarantees to our closest Middle East ally as punishment for construction activities in the West Bank. The Bush Administration endorsed Hamas’ participation in Palestinian elections over Israeli objections.

When Bush took office, Iran’s nuclear weapons program was virtually non-existent. By the time he left, Iran had thousands of centrifuges spinning and its power in the region was on the rise. Yet, when Israel requested bunker-busting bombs for potential use against the Iranian nuclear threat, Bush said no. Will Mitt Romney follow in his footsteps?

With this history, a pro-Israel voter would think Mitt Romney would want to “do the opposite” of these Republican presidents and not model his proposals after their actions. But instead, he claims he’ll reverse course from U.S. President Barack Obama’s policies, which leads to the question: why?

Obama has restored Israel’s qualitative military edge with record levels of aid and the deepest security cooperation in the history of our alliance. He has repeatedly defended Israel at the UN, vetoing anti-Israel resolutions, denouncing the Goldstone Report, and boycotting the anti-Semitic Durban conference. He has said that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with any entity dedicated to its destruction and that Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, from any threat.

To combat the rise of a nuclear Iran, the president imposed the most crippling sanctions regime in history – and the sanctions are biting. He secretly sold bunker-busting bombs to Israel to ensure it had the tools necessary to defend against the Iranian threat. He has stated that America will take no options off the table to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran – and, as we know, this president doesn’t bluff.

Elections are about choices, and this year is no different. In November, voters must choose between a candidate who seeks to follow the path of Reagan and Bush or a president who backs his words with actions and stands up for Israel’s security through thick and thin.

Many of Romney’s advisors were part of the Reagan and Bush Administrations, including Dan Senor, Tevi Troy, Mary Beth Long, and John Lehman – among many others. Will they steer Romney in the same direction, such as rejecting Israel’s request for bunker-busting bombs for use against Iran’s nuclear weapons program?

During these perilous times, a strong U.S.-Israel relationship is more important than ever. When it comes to Bush’s freezing of loan guarantees or Reagan’s blocking of arms sales to Israel, we can’t afford for the next president to follow in their footsteps.

Ten Israel Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer

— by David A. Harris

We are thrilled that Mitt Romney will be following the lead set by President Obama and visiting Israel as a presidential candidate. Romney’s visit to Israel will provide him with the perfect opportunity to clarify a number of broad and unclear foreign policy statements that he’s made on the campaign trail. Our hope is that Romney will be inspired by his surroundings and give the thorough and detailed answers to the questions on which many have been seeking answers.

  1. Governor Romney, when you say that you will “do the opposite” of President Obama on Israel, to what are you referring? Are you planning to reverse the unprecedented amount of military assistance that has come from this Administration? Are you planning to stop voting with Israel 100% of the time in the United Nations Security Council? Are you planning on driving a wedge between the U.S. and Israeli militaries, which are cooperating closer than ever before?
  2. Governor Romney, what is your Iran policy? Several media outlets — including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times — have noted that when it comes to a specific Iran policy, the steps you mention are not much different from those of the current Administration. What will you actually do differently? Sound bites like “If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will get a nuclear weapon… If we elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not” are unacceptable answers.
  3. Governor Romney, if Russia is indeed the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe,” what do you make of the growing closeness between Israel and Russia — particularly vis-à-vis stopping Iran? Perhaps you could provide your answer to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, who recently hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  4. Governor Romney, in addition to your campaign forming a “strategic partnership” with Ron Paul, one of the U.S.-Israel relationship’s staunchest opponents on the Hill to win your nomination, your campaign advisors include:
    • Israel-challenged former Governor and White House Chief of Staff John Sonunu as an attack dog;
    • “Special Adviser” Vin Weber who lobbied for companies that did business with Iran;
    • “Special Adviser” Norm Coleman who dog whistled about the U.S. embassy while belittling Jewish voters; and
    • Surrogate John Bolton who passed off a false story authored by an “anti-Israel warrior” and former Yasser Arafat adviser as fact.

    How will these individuals shape your Israel policies? Are these individuals with checkered pasts on Israel part of your “do the opposite” plan?

  5. Governor Romney, are you actually vetting former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for vice president? How do you account for Rice’s much-criticized record on Israel? Are you comfortable with her comparison of Palestinians to African Americans fighting for civil rights in the 1960s? Do you agree with the way she pressured Israel to accept a peace treaty with Hezbollah before the Israeli military had a chance to complete its military operations?
  6. Governor Romney, do you intend to start all foreign aid at zero, including to Israel? You went on record as agreeing with Texas Governor Rick Perry during the primary debates, without clarifying whether or not this promise included any memorandums of understanding in regards to Israel. Furthermore, you failed to clarify your stance during an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition. You may want to make your position clearer when meeting with Israeli citizens who have benefitted from President Obama’s unprecedented foreign aid record.
  7. Governor Romney, does your admiration for President Ronald Reagan extend to his mixed Israel record? As a reminder, Reagan — who never visited Israel throughout his lifetime — sold weaponry to Israel’s enemies while refusing sales to the Jewish state, supported anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, condemned Israel’s attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor, and suspended key cooperation agreements between the United States and Israel. Are these the actions that inspire your “do the opposite” plan?
  8. Governor Romney, with so many of President George W. Bush‘s advisors — including Dan Senor, Tevi Troy, Mary Beth Long, and John Lehman — on your staff, how similar will your foreign policies be? After serving in an Administration that allowed Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge to collapse, revoked hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees, endorsed participation by Hamas in Palestinian elections, and refused to sell bunker-busting bombs for potential use to halt the Iranian nuclear efforts, isn’t it fair to wonder whether these advisors will push you in a similar direction as their previous boss?
  9. Governor Romney, do you still believe that politics ends at the water’s edge? You strongly criticized members of the Democratic Party during President George W. Bush’s time in office, arguing that “we need to not have people running their own separate foreign policies.” During your travels overseas, will you keep your own words in mind, as well as the pledge you made this week in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention, and refrain from criticizing a sitting president’s foreign policies?
  10. Governor Romney, you repeatedly have failed to offer any of your own original ideas for how you would conduct foreign policy in your own administration. Rather than offer criticisms of President Obama — what would you do?

IsraelQuiz.org Launches: Compares Obama, Romney, Bush, Reagan

— by David Streeter

The National Jewish Democratic Council today officially launched the website IsraelQuiz.org to provide an informative and fun opportunity to compare and contrast the records of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. The website is a game in which players match up each individual with statements and actions from their careers in public life.

IsraelQuiz.org is an important tool to educate voters about the real differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as Presidents Bush and Reagan,” said NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris. “Anyone who takes the quiz will realize that President Obama is a great friend of Israel, which is why American Jews will overwhelmingly choose him as the right person to continue strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Click the image on the right to test your knowledge!

Barry Rubin’s Fuzzy Thinking

Barry Rubin— by Steve Sheffey

A recent article by Barry Rubin provides a preview of the misleading arguments and half-truths we can expect from now until November. Rubin compresses so much nonsense into so little space that I’ll only cover some of his article today, and the rest later.

Rubin begins his article with a strawman argument, that we claim President Obama is good simply because he speaks warmly about Israel. It is true that President Obama speaks warmly about Israel, but his record is the basis for the claim that he is strong on Israel.

President Obama’s record on Israel is outstanding.

President Obama has called for the removal of Syrian President Assad, ordered the successful assassination of Osama bin-Laden, done more than any other president to stop Iran’s illicit nuclear program, restored Israel’s qualitative military edge after years of erosion under the Bush administration, increased security assistance to Israel to record levels, boycotted Durban II and Durban III, taken US-Israel military and intelligence cooperation to unprecedented levels, cast his only veto in the UN against the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution, opposed the Goldstone Report, stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla, and organized a successful diplomatic crusade against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

Not all presidents say “nice” things about Israel.

Rubin gets it wrong even on his own terms. Words do matter, and not all presidents say nice things about Israel. Gerald Ford threatened to reassess America’s strategic relations with Israel, Ronald Reagan condemned Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Bush I decried lobbyists for Israel (he actually attacked citizen lobbyists like you and me), and in 2003 Bush II rebuked then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by rescinding $289.5 million in loan guarantees for Israel as punishment for what Bush considered illegal settlement activity. In 2004, the Bush administration abstained rather than veto a UN resolution condemning Israel for its actions in Gaza during a military operation aimed at stopping terrorism and weapons smuggling. If President Obama had done anything like what Ford, Reagan, Bush I or Bush II had done to Israel, then maybe Rubin would have something to write about.

It is true that President Obama speaks warmly of Israel, but Rubin leaves out to whom President Obama speaks warmly about Israel.

It’s easy to tell AIPAC how important the US-Israel relationship is. AIPAC already knows. The difference between President Obama and previous presidents is that President Obama eloquently delivers the case for Israel and a strong US-Israel relationship to those who need to hear it most.

During the 2008 campaign, I participated in a conference call with Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), one of Israel’s best friends in Congress in either party. Rothman asked us to imagine the impact of a president named Barack Hussein Obama telling the entire world, including the Arab world, that America stands with Israel.

That’s exactly what President Obama did when he went to Cairo in 2009 and told the Arab and Muslim world that America’s bond with Israel is “unbreakable.”

He told the Arab and Muslim world, a world rife with Holocaust denial, that to deny the Holocaust is “baseless, ignorant, and hateful.”  He told them that threatening Israel with destruction is “deeply wrong.” He said that “Palestinians must abandon violence” and that “it is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus.” And he said that “Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.” Who knows where we’d be today if previous Presidents had had the courage to personally deliver this message on Arab soil.

In 2011, President Obama went to the UN, another forum not known for its love for Israel, and told the world that

America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let’s be honest: 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. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, persecution, and the fresh memory of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they were.

These facts cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

The Israeli newspaper Yehidot Aharonot said that “An American President has never given such a pro-Israel speech at the UN.”

Isn’t that what we want from our President?

Under President Obama, the US-Israel relationship is warmer than ever.

Yet Rubin says that President Obama is “cold” toward Israel. Former Congressman Robert Wexler explained just last month that this “coldness” argument is

the argument Republican surrogates make. They say he’s cold. I hear that he doesn’t feel Israel in his kishkes. I think that’s something you say when you don’t have any factual arguments to make. What does it mean that he’s cold? Does being cold mean articulating the strongest pro-Israel argument ever at the UN – a forum not warm to Israel? Is it cold that America has engaged in the largest joint military operation between the US and Israel in Israel’s history during the Obama administration? Is it cold that more than 200 high-level Pentagon officials visited Israel during the last calendar year? Is it cold that America and Israel will likely engage in an even larger joint military exercise this year? And I’ll tell you one group who doesn’t believe the relationship is cold – that’s the current leadership in Tehran.

No wonder the vast majority of Jews vote Democratic and will continue to vote Democratic.

Aside from exceptions like Congressmen Joe Walsh and Ron Paul, the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans support pro-Israel positions. But only the Democratic party is good on Israel and the other values we cherish.

The New Republican Hagaddah

Satire originally posted in the Huffington Post

— Steve Sheffey

Jewish history is littered with sects, groups of people kind of like Jews who celebrate the same holidays and have many of the same customs, yet are somehow different.

Today’s sect is known as “Jewish Republicans,” few in number but very loud. Like most Jews, they celebrate Pesach, but they’ve got their own Haggadah. The differences between their Haggadah and ours are instructive.

Kadeish קדש
Urchatz ורחץ
After drinking the first cup of wine, most Jews wash their hands, but the Republicans stay seated and wait for the water to trickle down.

Karpas כרפס
Most Jews then eat a green vegetable, but the Republican Haggadah follows the ruling of Rabbi Reagan that ketchup qualifies as a vegetable. Ketchup is not green, but green is the last thing any Republican would want to be. (Reagan does have this in common with Moses: Neither ever set foot in the land of Israel.)

Yachatz יחץ
Next, we break the middle of the three matzot. Most Jews break the middle matzah into two roughly equal pieces, replacing the smaller piece on the Seder plate and hiding the larger piece as the afikoman. The Republican Haggadah asks the leader (or in Republican parlance, the Seder CEO) to keep 99 percent of the matzah for himself and let the other participants share the remaining 1 percent.

Maggid מגיד
The Torah speaks of four sons, but the Republican Haggadah speaks of four candidates:

  • The simple candidate (Santorum),
  • the wicked candidate (Paul),
  • the candidate who does not know how to answer (Romney), and
  • the simple candidate who thinks he’s the wise candidate (Gingrich).

They have no wise candidates.

The highlight of the Republican Haggadah is its version of “Dayenu” — “it would have been enough.” The Republican motto when it comes to President Obama is “nothing is enough” — no matter how much President Obama does for Israel, it’s never enough for some of our Republican friends:

President Obama has called for the removal of Syrian President Assad.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama ordered the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama has done more than any other president to stop Iran’s illicit nuclear program.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama restored Israel’s qualitative military edge after years of erosion under the Bush administration.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama increased security assistance to Israel to record levels.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama boycotted Durban II and Durban III.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama has taken U.S.-Israel military and intelligence cooperation to unprecedented levels.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama cast his only veto in the U.N. against the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama opposed the Goldstone Report.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama stood with Israel against the Gaza flotilla.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama organized a successful diplomatic crusade against the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama immediately intervened to rescue Israelis trapped in the Egyptian embassy.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama gave orders to give Israel “whatever it needs” to put out the Carmel fire.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama maintained the U.S. policy of ambiguity on Israel’s nuclear weapons.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama has repeatedly condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel and attempts to delegitimize Israel.

But that’s not enough.

President Obama pulled out of joint exercises with Turkey after Turkey excluded Israel.

But that’s not enough.

There’s probably nothing President Obama can do to convince some Republicans that he’s pro-Israel. If President Obama split the Sea of Reeds and walked through it dry-shod, they’d accuse him of not being able to swim. They made their mind up before he was elected that he could not be trusted and they ignore everything that contradicts their biases.

The ultimate message of the real Haggadah is hope (sound familiar?). Let’s hope that just as the vast majority of American Jews voted for Barack Obama in 2008, the vast majority of us will remember who we are and what we value and vote to re-elect President Obama in 2012.