US President Barack Obama courted Jewish voters and defended his record on Israel in a fiery keynote address to the Union for Reform Judaism outside Washington, DC on Friday.
"No US administration has done more in support of Israel's security than ours. None. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. It is a fact," Obama said forcefully, his voice betraying hints of frustration at having to defend his record in the face of sharp criticism of his Israel policy.RELATED:US House-Senate panel approves Iran sanctions Obama marks Hanukka early at White House party
To back up his position, Obama cited American cooperation with Israel on developing the Iron Dome anti-rocket system
, efforts to clear out the besieged Israeli embassy
in Cairo in September, and actions to counter attempts to delegitimize Israel in international forums
like the United Nations
Shoring up his hard line on Iran, Obama reiterated that no options were off the table in preventing the Islamic Republic from obtaining a nuclear weapon
, and touted his administration's imposition of "the most comprehensive, the hardest-hitting sanctions the Iranian regime has ever faced. We haven't just talked about it, we've done it."
Acknowledging tensions with Israel over the peace process that have
largely resulted from differences over settlement policy
, Obama told the room of American
Jews, "I know that many of you share my frustration, sometimes, in terms
of the state of the peace process."
Citing the Jewish saying that one is not required to finish the work,
but neither can he desist from it, Obama stated that America would work
for "an independent Palestine alongside a secure, Jewish state of
Israel," even if that outcome would not be actualized under his
administration. "The fact that peace is hard can't deter us from
"America's commitment to Israel and my commitment to Israel and its
security is unshakable," the President concluded, repeatedly re-emphasizing his points. "We have been there,
and we will continue to be there. Those are the facts."