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May 12, 2011

Facts on the Obama Administration’s Recent Actions to Secure and Support Israel

Listed in: Israel, Fact Sheets

Over the last year, President Barack Obama and his administration have taken a number of decisive and major steps to support and secure Israel against the backdrop of a changing Middle East. Below are some facts and statements from American and Israeli leaders that underscore the commitment that Obama has made to Israel.

This fact sheet can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Other information about Obama’s pro-Israel accomplishments from earlier in his presidency can be viewed here.

Pro-Israel at Two Years: President Barack Obama’s Pro-Israel Accomplishments:

* Obama restored Israel’s qualitative military edge and took U.S. military cooperation to unprecedented levels after erosion during the Bush Administration.

* President Obama worked with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to appropriate $2.8 billion for direct assistance to Israel’s security. This is the largest amount given to Israel in U.S. history specifically allocated for Israel’s security apparatus.

* Obama has provided more security assistance to Israel than any president in history. He has created an unprecedented level of military cooperation between the United States and Israel. Specific programs include:

* The Iron Dome missile defense system

* The Arrow 3 missile defense system

* The David’s Sling missile defense system

The Iron Dome Missile System

* In April 2011, Israel deployed the Iron Dome missile defense system which is equipped with cutting-edge technology capable of intercepting short-range rockets. Israel now has the capability to intercept and prevent rockets from landing within Israel’s borders and causing damage or killing Israeli citizens.

* President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress worked tirelessly to shepherd the $205 million in supplemental funding for this program past Republican budgetary obstruction.

* President Obama’s efforts were publicly acknowledged and thanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that “America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel in critical times, along with ongoing military and material cooperation, is a testament to our shared values and interests, and the bonds between our two peoples.”

Diplomatic Actions in Support of Israel

Standing with Israel During the Arab Spring:

* Amid the changes occurring in the Middle East, the Obama Administration has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to Israel’s security and the strength of the bilateral relationship.

* President Obama said, “This is a period of profound change in the Middle East and North Africa, as people across the region courageously pursue the path of dignity and self-governance. Just as I know that Israel will always be one of our closest allies, I believe that the region can be more peaceful and prosperous when its people are able to fulfill their legitimate aspirations.”

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “As you celebrate your independence, the Middle East is experiencing rapid change. This is a moment of uncertainty, but also of opportunity. The security of Israel is - and will remain - a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.”

* White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told the American Jewish Committee, “[A]s the Middle East evolves, some things will never change. The President’s support for Israel’s security has been, and will be, unshakeable.”

* Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region Dennis Ross told the Anti-Defamation League, “Now in this time of uncertainty and change, if there is one thing that isn’t uncertain it’s the relationship between the United States and Israel. And think about it-at a time of such upheaval and change, knowing we have a friend that we can count on is something that is critical to the United States. With Israel we have a relationship that is enduring because it is bound together by a set of shared values and a set of shared interests.”

* Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, “Regardless of the situation facing any government in the region, our friendship, our partnership and our alliance with Israel is unchanged.”

Standing up for Israel at the United Nations:

* President Obama instructed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to veto the recent anti-Israel resolution advanced by the Palestinians and their supporters in the UN Security Council that condemned Israel.

* President Obama also personally defended Israel’s legitimacy in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2010.

* Ambassador Rice has repeatedly defended Israel at the United Nations, specifically voting against anti-Israel resolutions at the Human Rights Council and the United Nations Security Council.

* Ambassador Rice has also defended Israel’s right to self defense: “After enduring dozens of rocket attacks on civilian targets in southern Israel-including the deeply disturbing use of an advanced anti-tank missile in a fatal attack on a yellow school bus-Israel responded by exercising its inalienable right to self-defense.”

* Secretary Clinton has loudly denounced the bias prevalent in the United Nations Security Council. In an address to the Human Rights Council, she said, “And I must add, the structural bias against Israel - including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item - is wrong. And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together. As member states, we can take this Council in a better, stronger direction.”

Condemning Palestinian Violence and Incitement:

* The Obama Administration forcefully condemned the Palestinian Authority’s decision to move forward with plans to name a square in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, despite claims to the contrary. Mughrabi was a Palestinian terrorist who killed 37 Israelis, including 13 Israelis, in 1978.

* Clinton issued a similar condemnation in March of 2010 when the proposal was first announced.

* The Obama Administration condemned the terrorist attacks on the family in Itamar.

* The Obama Administration condemned the Palestinian report that denied that the Western Wall is a Jewish holy site. “We strongly condemn these comments and fully reject them as factually incorrect, insensitive and highly provocative. We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of de-legitimization of Israel including denying historic Jewish connections to the land.”

Continuing Leadership on Iran Sanctions

* Obama has made preventing a nuclear-armed Iran a top foreign policy priority.

* He conveyed this in his State of the Union address.

* Administration officials have consistently reiterated this position as well.

* The Obama Administration has led the global effort to sanction Iran. The sanctions have made an impact on Iran’s economy, specifically in its petroleum and natural gas sectors.

* The State Department continues to sanction companies and individuals attempting to work around the sanctions.

* Secretary Clinton worked to enlist Gulf Arab States in the sanctions efforts

* Obama has received praise from Israeli leaders for his leadership on sanctioning Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren are just some of the leaders who have praises Obama’s leadership.