White House defends Israel policies

The White House website posted a defense of President Barack Obama’s Israel record, and several prominent Jewish Democrats penned op-eds defending his policies.

“President Obama: Advancing Israel’s Security and Supporting Peace,” which appeared online June 3, addressed the controversy surrounding the president’s call for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based on 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps.

“He has stated frankly what everyone knows — a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self determination, mutual recognition, and peace,” the post said.

The post lists a number of Obama’s pro-Israel statements, including his remark that Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with Hamas as long as the group does not recognize Israel and does not renounce terrorism; his pledge to combat delegitimization of Israel; his increases in security assistance to Israel; and his efforts to isolate Iran.

At least two conservative pro-Israel groups have launched media campaigns in recent days suggesting that Obama is distancing himself from Israel.

In addition to the White House posting, defenders of Obama’s Israel record took to newspapers’ op-ed pages, with his former White House chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel writing for the Washington Post, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Robert Wexler, a former Florida congressman, both penning opinion articles for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Florida, with a substantial Jewish population, is seen as a swing state in the 2012 election. — jta