Obama in DNC address: ‘Commitment to Israel’s security must not waver’

Click photo to download. Caption: President Barack Obama waves to the crowd at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. Credit: Donna Bise.

(JNS.org) U.S. President Barack Obama, addressing the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, said America’s “commitment to Israel's security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace.”

Obama’s statement came after most of the Israel-related talk at the convention in Charlotte, NC, centered on the omission of an affirmation of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital in the Democratic Party Platform.

The language—that Jerusalem “is and will remain the capital of Israel”—was present in all but one (1988) Democratic platform from 1972 to 2008. Initially absent from the 2012 platform, the Democrats restored the language after three successive voice votes on the matter Wednesday night. 

On Thursday, Obama critiqued Republican challenger Mitt Romney and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan for being “new to foreign policy.”

“You don’t call Russia our number one enemy—not al-Qaida, Russia—unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp,” Obama said, referencing Romney’s comments from this March that Russia is America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”

Obama also said in his speech that Iran “must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.” At the Republican National Convention, Romney had said Obama has thrown Israel “under the bus” and has failed to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s recent statement that he does not want to be “complicit” in a potential Israeli strike on Iran has fueled concern about the administration’s military support for Israel. Additionally, a Yedioth Ahronoth article denied by the White House said the U.S. has indirectly told Iran that it won’t support Israeli military action on its nuclear program if the Islamic Republic agrees to “steer clear of strategic American assets in the Persian Gulf.”

In response to Obama’s Thursday speech, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement that the president “offered more promises, but he hasn't kept the promises he made four years ago.”

“Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record,” Rhoades said. “They know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction.”

Posted on September 7, 2012 .