Archive for July, 2012

When presidents have traveled to Israel

July 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Over the past four years, President Obama has built on his unwavering commitment to Israel by offering unprecedented aid and standing squarely by Israel on the world stage. But conservatives, who are equally committed to misleading Americans about the President’s record, are pushing an attack about the President’s visits to Israel. The conservative group Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) released an ad that uses the President’s travel itinerary to mislead Americans about his support for Israel.

But the ECI’s complaint rings hollow when considering how President Obama’s record compares with previous presidents:

  • No Republican president has visited Israel in their first term. President George W. Bush didn’t visit Israel until the eighth year of his presidency. The only two U.S. presidents to make an official state visit to Israel during their first term were Presidents Carter and Clinton.
  • President Ronald Reagan never visited Israel during his presidency.

In prioritizing the alliance between the two countries, President Obama has also met nine times with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to closely coordinate on a wide range of issues.

President Obama has also visited Israel twice, including once as a candidate in 2008—just like Mitt Romney is doing now. While in Israel, President Obama visited Sderot to see the impact of repeated rocket attacks out of Gaza and went to Yad Vashem, where he participated in a wreath laying ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance.

Prime Minister Netanyahu recognized President Obama’s trip when asked a question about Romney’s, adding that he’d say “pretty much the same things [to Romney that] I’ve said to the presumptive Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, when I greeted him four years ago—roughly the same time—in the campaign.”

But the President has done more than meet with Israeli leaders and travel to Israel as a candidate. He’s offered unprecedented support to Israel—including a record high request for security assistance to the Jewish State and standing up for Israel in front of the international community. More than his travel itinerary or the GOP’s empty rhetoric, the President’s historic support for the country reflects his deep commitment to the sacred bond between the U.S. and Israel.