Obama's fair-weathered friendship with Israel

By:  Sen. Jim Inhofe


Obama’s fair-weathered friendship with Israel

By: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe

Friday, March 9, 2012

Link to Op-Ed 

President Obama's speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last Sunday was an attempt at making an empty glass look half full. Then on Monday, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House, President Obama said his commitment to Israel is "rock solid." But when surveying all of Obama's policies toward Israel to date, that rock solid support looks more like putty. 

Obama's viscous position on Israel began shortly after his inauguration. His 2009 Cairo speech equated the Holocaust to the history of the Palestinian Authority (PA). During the same speech, he naively intoned, "no nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation -- including Iran -- should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power." 

These statements, made at the dawn of his administration, reveal the true predisposition of Obama toward the state of Israel. 

Last year, after his ill-advised and disastrous foray into thinking that the Middle East peace process negotiations could be restarted by returning Israel to its pre-1967 borders and dividing Jerusalem, Obama was forced to abandon his position by true friends of Israel on Capitol Hill. 

In fact, it was protests by members like me and others - both Republican and Democrat-that forced Obama to beat a retreat and accommodate legislative mandates to increase funding for programs that provide for the continued existence of the only democracy in the Middle East. 

In this election year, President Obama sure is talking a good game when it comes to supporting Israel. The problem is, he isn't living up to the old adage: "Put your money where your mouth is." 

For example, his recently released budget request for this year is the second one in a row in which Obama has decreased his already inadequate budget request for Israeli missile defenses, dropping it from $121.7 million in 2011 to $106.1 million in 2012, and $99.8 million in 2013. 

Given the constant missile attacks from Gaza, Lebanon, and Iran's rapid development of a deliverable nuclear weapon, these decreases put Israeli lives and the nation itself at risk. Close to 30 years of American funding and cooperation with the Israeli military has resulted in the deployment of a layered missile defense system that includes the Arrow, Standard Missile-3, Patriot, THAAD, Iron Dome, David's Sling, and associated ground and sea based radars. 

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC).