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February 17, 2012

FACT CHECK: President Obama INCREASED Military Assistance to Israel in FY2013 Budget

Listed in: Israel, GOP Hypocrisies, NJDC News, Press Releases

FACT CHECK: President Barack Obama has increased foreign military assistance to Israel in his FY2013 budget request. (Follow links to page 172 of the State Department’s FY2013 budget report, showing a $25 million overall year-to-year increase in the White House foreign military assistance budget request.)

The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) responded today to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s latest divisive effort to use Israel as a partisan wedge issue during this election year. Following a report in Politico that the Jewish Republican group has released a web video attacking President Barack Obama surrounding his record-setting foreign military assistance budget request for Israel, NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris commented:

“The National Jewish Democratic Council applauds this increased, largest-ever military assistance requested for Israel under President Barack Obama—made all the more significant against the backdrop of a difficult budgetary climate. This is yet another example of how President Obama continues to stand with Israel, time and time again.

“We are truly through the looking glass here; only those with the most partisan, facts-be-damned agenda would view the largest military assistance package for any foreign country in history at a difficult budgetary time as anything but a powerful way of supporting our closest ally, Israel. The hypocrisy here is astonishing; the simple fact is that the overall budget request for military assistance to Israel is increasing. Further, as has been reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the missile defense funding previously requested by President George W. Bush for Israel needed to routinely be dramatically increased—and even doubled in 2003—by Congress. This was met with deafening silence on the part of Jewish Republicans, and by us as well, as this was hardly an indicator that President Bush was no friend of Israel. 

“These Republicans continue to play a dangerous game with Israel’s security through such antics. By suggesting anything but the truth—that this Administration has dramatically strengthened Israel’s military capabilities—such tactics as these dreadful videos can incorrectly suggest to the Iranian leadership that now is the time to become even more belligerent against a supposedly weakened Israel. Here we have Republicans sadly placing partisanship above Israel’s safety and security—and placing politics above the rich tradition of bipartisan support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. 

“This is the President who initiated the building of the Iron Dome missile defense shield over Israel and secured the funding to make it a reality, protecting the lives of Israelis on a daily basis today. One thing is certain here; President Obama will ensure that Israel gets every dollar it needs for missile defense.”

Additional facts and citations regarding President Obama’s record regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship, including quotations from Israeli leaders, can be viewed here.