US President Barack Obama smile 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama defended his record on Israel and Iran at
a fundraiser in New York Thursday night, pushing back against a frequent line of
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“We’re not going to tolerate a nuclear weapon in the
hands of this Iranian regime,” Obama told about 100 predominantly Jewish
supporters who each paid at least $5,000 to attend.
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“We’ve been able to
organize folks like China and Russia that previously would have never gone along
with something like this,” he said. “And it’s been so effective that even the
Iranians have had to acknowledge that their economy is in a
Obama also declared that since he’d been in office he has
unequivocally said Israel’s security is nonnegotiable, and that he will do
everything to make sure Israel is able to thrive and prosper as a secure Jewish
He said the two countries now had the strongest military
cooperation that they have ever had.
“That’s not my opinion, by the way,
that’s the Israeli government’s opinion.” Obama allies have been highlighting
videos that show Israeli political leaders making similar statements.
while many in the American Jewish community have been concerned about how
changes in Arab governments due to the Arab Spring could affect Israel, Obama
reassured his audience.
“We are pushing hard on countries like Egypt to
make sure that they continue to abide by the peace treaties that have served
both countries well.”
Republicans have tried to use Obama’s posture
towards Israel and Iran against him, believing they see an opening for a winning
strategy among a constituency that has historically voted overwhelmingly
Israel and other issues of foreign policy took a back seat at
the Republican debate held Thursday, the last before Saturday’s primary in South
The Anti-Defamation League strongly condemned the
“There is absolutely no excuse, no justification, no
rationalization for this kind of rhetoric. It doesn’t even belong in fiction.
These are irresponsible and extremist words. It is outrageous and beyond the
pale. An apology cannot possibly repair the damage,” National Director Abraham
Former speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich was received
well by the audience, and his performance was seen as giving added momentum to
his bid to unseat front-runner Mitt Romney, former governor of
Polls show Gingrich taking a significant bite out of
Romney’s lead, which had been in the double digits until recent days. Romney has
also been damaged by results reversing his win of the Iowa caucuses and putting
it in the hands of Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator, and Rick Perry’s
decision to drop out.
Perry, the governor of Texas, was fighting Gingrich
and Santorum for the support of Christian conservatives, who have been largely
wary of Romney, and his endorsement of Gingrich could help the latter
Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief, was quoted on MSNBC
describing Romney’s lead as “collapsing.”
The latest Gallup national poll
shows Romney leading Gingrich by 30 percent to 20%, but Romney had recently been
leading Gingrich by 23 points.