Where I Agree And Disagree With President Obama On Israel
Thu, 08/09/2012
Special To The Jewish Week
Grace Meng
Grace Meng

Although I truly believe President Barack Obama has had good intentions in his policies toward Israel, and has accomplished much in the region, there are several key respects where he could have been — and still can be — a greater friend to Israel.

With regard to the Iranian nuclear threat, the President needs to clarify that he will not allow Iran to become capable of developing a nuclear weapon. We cannot allow Iran to get within sprinting distance of developing a nuclear warhead that can be used against Israel. President Obama should make clear to Iran and the world that the United States will use military force against Iran's nuclear program if Iran achieves nuclear weapons capability. So there are no tragic mistakes on the world stage, there should be no misunderstanding on this point.

On the issue of negotiations with the Palestinians, the President was misguided in calling for a return to pre-1967 borders, and he was misguided in linking the freezing of West Bank housing construction to the advancement of peace negotiations. Furthermore, he should have visited Israel. The failure of the President's peace initiative largely results from these missteps.

This is not to say that I entirely disapprove of the President's policies toward Israel. Over the last few years, President Obama has built unprecedented global cooperation for sanctions against Iran, and he is leading one of the most biting and crippling sanctions programs in modern history. Given that we live in a globalized economy, global cooperation was necessary here. It is the administration's deft diplomacy - of the kind that was lacking during the Bush years - that has given the sanctions a chance to work.

Under the current administration, Americans and Israelis have reached an unprecedented level of military, security, and intelligence cooperation, and U.S. aid to Israel is at an all-time high. We must also acknowledge the President's success in standing against the world and blocking the Palestinian statehood push at the U.N.

If elected to Congress, I will be a passionate friend of Israel, and will push the President to be a greater friend to Israel than he currently is.

My Republican opponent in this race, Dan Halloran, endorsed Rep. Ron Paul for president. Ron Paul has expressed disdain for Israel, attempted to end all U.S. aid to Israel,  supported leaving Israel to face its many threats alone, and has opposed confronting the Iranian nuclear threat at all. He is also Dan Halloran’s choice for commander-in-chief. Speaking of Ron Paul, Gov. Mitt Romney said, “One of the people running for president thinks it’s O.K. for Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

It’s great that Mr. Halloran says he would support Israel as a member of Congress. But it's the president who dominates our foreign policy and commands our military, and it's the president who arguably has more power in these areas than all of Congress combined. If Mr. Halloran had his way, Ron Paul would be our next President. While government and politics generally benefit from wide-ranging and spirited discussions, such outlier “fringe” positions should be recognized for what they are: dangerous. Ron Paul was one of only six members of congress to just vote against Iran sanctions this month, with 421 members voting in favor.

If Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat were really so important to Mr. Halloran, why would he endorse the one Republican presidential candidate — out of seven or eight options — who stood out for his anti-Israel views and his disinterest in the Iranian threat?  Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and Mr. Halloran's endorsement of Ron Paul is deafening, particularly for those who care about Israel.

There may be a diversity of opinions on President Obama, but no one can dispute that a Ron Paul presidency would truly have been devastating for Israel.

We need congressional candidates whom we can trust on Israel, who are clear in their views and actions, and for whom support for Israel will never waiver. When I visited Israel in 2010, I developed an emotional connection to the country, and was able to gain a better understanding of the connection so many of our Queens neighbors have with Israel. I have nothing to hide, and that's why I can tell you — specifically and with full confidence — where I agree and disagree with the current administration on Israel. I will never give you reason to question my support of Israel, our vital ally.

Grace Meng is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 22nd District in Queens, and is the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives' 6th District.

The Jewish Week has offered Councilman Dan Halloran, the Republican nominee, equal exposure to express his views.

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Comments

Only people with askewed or blindfolded eye can even say that there is one iota of respect that Obama has for Israel and its people. The mere fact that Obama has not visited Israel since his inauguration but visited Egypt and give speeches there, treated Netanyahu with disrespect allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons which if it succeed could engulf the Middle East in a very dangerous war treat the Muslim Brotherhood with more respect than Israeli leaders should give the author more hesitation in giving Obama any credit at all.Being an immigrant to this country and forgive me for being frank I could sense that the main reason why US Jews especially secular ones has more indifference towards evangelicals
who loves their home country and willing to defend it than this fraud who says one thing and does another. Also when you see Ed Koch who I used to view with respect contort himself just to justify Obama policies
I distrust Jewish leaders here in America more that they really dont have
the interest of Israel at heart.

Another aspiring Democratic congressperson throws the president under the bus and uses Israel as a political football for political gain. Who will tell me with a straight face that the conversation in this country over Israel is not horribly skewed? If an aspiring Congressman/woman in this district wants my vote on this issue, they should as least support policies that are in Israel's long-term interest (policies that support the two-state solution) and policies that abide by Jewish values.

(Thoughtless),

I will get as 'cozy' or supportive of Israel as I please, and I will double-down on figuratively smacking the face of those who libel Jews by charging dual loyalties. This is a free country. The effort to intimidate Jews with this old canard is fascism.

(Thoughtless) Cozying of American politicians to a foreign nation is very troubling. Are they running for office for jews or Israel or what?!! I will not tolerate this.

An anonymous poster wrote this ' Personally I believe our "ally" Israel does more harm to America then we believe.'
Two points: 1) This statement is just wrong factually. The cooperation (meaning equal sharing) between the two countries on intelligence and security is huge. America would be far weaker were it not for Israel. 2) This is a JEWISH internet site. The apparent fact that you don't understand that politicians running for office will say they are pro-Israel on this site suggests you lack common sense AND grasp of the facts..

Poor Grace Meng. You can see in the picture how she clutches to her microphone in fear.

She didn't wrote this. An AIPAC clone did. She's merely bumbling along in servility.

And for this refusal to be independent, renders her unfit for office.

Just a question, how are the ideas of anti-foreign-aid and anti-interventionism suddenly ant-Israel?

It is commendable for Grace Meng's support for Israel but there are other external issues that must be examined. Obama is eviscerating our national defense that directly effects Israel. A weak military America weakens Israel's military resolve. Obama is also eviscerating our constitution and that document must be heralded and enshrined for protecting Jews and all Americans over the past 240 years. Read my blog at http://nimshal.blogspot.com under "Tell Me Who Your Friends Are and I Will Tell You Who You Are" and the following 3 pages below to get an important different outlook on Obama. Although Mr. Halloran may have supported some of the elements of Ron Paul, it does not mean he supported all of his kooky policies. Ms. Meng does support Obama on his other failed kooky policies and that is equivalent to endangering our freedom and ultimately, Israel. It is very important to unite and drive a large voting block against Obama and his regime.

Ron Paul has never expressed disdain for Israel. He thinks we shouldn't be paying for ANY foreign country when we have economic problems paying our senior entitlements etc here at home.

Grace Meng your objections to Ron Paul's foreign policy have no basis whatsoever. Personally I believe our "ally" Israel does more harm to America then we believe. No foreign Aid to Any country this is the only fair way to deal with conflicts around the world.

You want to be a US congressman but it seems you would rather Live in Israel since you had such a "deep emotional connection". America First! Ron Paul is right and so is your challenger

"If Israel and the Iranian nuclear threat were really so important to Mr. Halloran, why would he endorse the one Republican presidential candidate — out of seven or eight options — who stood out for his anti-Israel views and his disinterest in the Iranian threat? Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and Mr. Halloran's endorsement of Ron Paul is deafening, particularly for those who care about Israel."

Israel gets 1/4 the funding that the U.S. sends to the middle east. Ron Paul was against it all. Wouldn't Israel be better off losing the funding it gets if that means its neighbors lose 4 times that much funding for their (mostly anti-Israel) armies?

As for Iran, it isn't in Israel's best interest to have a war with Iran, and it isn't in our best interest to drum up another war.

Ron Paul goes further to point out terrorists have a better chance getting one of the thousands of nuclear warheads out of the old USSR which are not being properly secured. The US should not be picking fights that are not going to make us safer. The US should invest its efforts against the most tangible nuclear threats, and these do not include Iran.

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