Obama and Romney Vow Strong Support of Israel

Little Daylight Between Candidates in Foreign Policy Debate

By Reuters

Published October 23, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney vied on Monday over who was Israel’s strongest defender but both agreed that a military strike over Iran’s nuclear program must be a “last resort.”

Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is for developing weapons and that economic sanctions have so far failed to stop, is almost certain to be among the top foreign policy challenges facing the next president.

Yet Romney and Obama, in their foreign policy debate, did not offer sharply contrasting policies to address the challenge. They agreed on the need for tough economic pressure - and for safeguarding U.S. ally Israel.

“If Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily,” Romney said.

“I will stand with Israel if they are attacked,” Obama said.

Iran’s leaders have from time to time threatened to eradicate Israel, and Israeli leaders see an Iranian nuclear weapon as an existential threat. Israel has its own undeclared nuclear arsenal.

The question that has risen repeatedly this year is whether Israel would conduct a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear sites, which would put the United States in a difficult position of whether to enter another Middle East conflict.

The United States and its allies have significantly ratcheted up sanctions against Iran. Obama has often said all options are on the table, but has counseled that diplomacy and sanctions must have a chance to work.

The candidates did not say what they would do if Israel conducted a unilateral strike on Iran, and at one point Romney brushed aside a hypothetical question on what he would do if the Israeli prime minister called to inform him Israel’s bombers were en route to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

DISAGREEMENT

“The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that, during the course of this campaign, he’s often talked as if we should take premature military action,” Obama said at the final debate before the Nov. 6 election.

“I think that would be a mistake, because when I’ve sent young men and women into harm’s way, I always understand that that is the last resort, not the first resort,” he said.

Romney and Obama both said it was important to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“We need to increase pressure, time and time again, on Iran because anything other than … a solution to this … which stops this, this nuclear folly of theirs, is unacceptable to America,” Romney said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.