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Hope and Change on Israel?

10:44 AM, Mar 5, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Foreign policy expert Dan Senor, writing in the Wall Street Journal

Barack Obama

"'I try not to pat myself too much on the back,' President Barack Obama immodestly told a group of Jewish donors last October, 'but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.'

"Mr. Obama struck a similar tone at the annual policy conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in Washington Sunday, assuring the group that 'I have Israel's back.' And it's little wonder why. Monday he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid growing concern that a military strike will be necessary to end Iran's nuclear weapons program. He also knows that he lost a portion of the Jewish vote when he publicly pressured Israel to commence negotiations with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders with land swaps. With the election nine months away, he's scrambling to win back Jewish voters and donors....

"In an interview last week with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Mr. Obama dismissed domestic critics of his Israel policy as 'a set of political actors who want to see if they can drive a wedge . . . between Barack Obama and the Jewish American vote.' But what's glaring is how many of these criticisms have been leveled by Democrats....

"Election-year politics may bring some short-term improvements in the U.S. relationship with Israel. But there's concern that a re-elected President Obama, with no more votes or donors to court, would be even more aggressive in his one-sided approach toward Israel.

"If Mr. Obama wants a pat on the back, he should make it clear that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability, and that he will stand by Israel if it must act. He came one step closer to that stance on Sunday when he told Aipac, 'Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.' Let's hope this is the beginning of a policy change and not just election year rhetoric."

Whole thing here.

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