Democrats unveil 2012 platform, stress Israel ties

Ahead of Democratic National Convention, Obama touts strong bilateral cooperation, "unshakable commitment to Israel's security."

US President Barack Obama in NY 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
US President Barack Obama in NY 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
The Obama administration reiterated its "unshakable commitment to Israel's security" in the 2012 Democratic National Platform released Monday, amid ongoing speculation of a rift in Israeli-US relations.
"A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values," the national platform stated.
Listing examples of the Obama administrations support for Israel, the platform stated that the US president worked to "increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office," citing the $10 billion in aid the US has sent to Israel in the past three years, and emphasizing funding of the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
"The president’s consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel’s security," the platform stated.
The new National Platform also outlined steps Obama has taken to further the peace process, adding its position that negotiations are in the interest of Israel.
Turning to Iran, the platform stated that Obama is committed to "checking Iran’s destabilizing activities," mentioning the need to counter the threat of proliferation in the region. "The world must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," the platform stated, adding that the administration's preferred strategy remains diplomatic rather than military. "We will present Iran with a clear choice: if you abandon your nuclear weapons program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, you will receive meaningful incentives; so long as you refuse, the United States and the international community will further ratchet up the pressure, with stronger unilateral sanctions; stronger multilateral sanctions inside and outside the UN Security Council, and sustained action to isolate the Iranian regime," it stated.
The platform was released just a day before the Democrats hold their nominating convention aimed at re-electing US President Barack Obama to the White House.
Obama's Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has made Israel a central component of his foreign policy strategy, attacking Obama for having "thrown allies like Israel under the bus.” Romney has also spoken extensively about Iran, slamming the US president for having "failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat.”
Former deputy foreign minister Yossi Beilin commented Monday on the state of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United States, saying that Obama has a big problem with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“Whether the US administration admits it or not, they see Bibi [Netanyahu] as interfering in the US election and gambling on [Republican candidate Mitt] Romney winning,” Beilin said. “Shapiro says relations between countries are good, which is true. But the relations between the two leaders are very poor. I don’t remember it being so bad before, and Israel will pay a price for it.”