Why the Jewish Community should support
Senator Barack Obama for
by Nathan Weissler
As we approach the November 4th elections, the Republicans are directly and indirectly portraying Democratic nominee Illinois Senator Barack Obama as at best, a weak advocate for Israel, and at worst, an enemy of Israel. The facts show the opposite. Senator Obama has a perfect pro-Israel voting record, having voted in favor of foreign aid
to Israel every time it was presented during his Senate tenure. In a letter to President Bush in June 2008, Senator Obama declared, "[a] fundamental principle of America's Middle East policy must be our unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. I believe that [this] is a bipartisan commitment, and I will work to continue and advance that consensus." Additionally, while serving in the Illinois State Senate, Senator Obama cosponsored a bill authorizing Illinois to invest in Israel bonds.
Prominent members of the Jewish community recognize Senator Obama's support for Israel. Lester Crown, a prominent Jewish philanthropist from Chicago, called Obama's record on Israel "stellar" and expressed confidence that if elected, "he will be the friend to Israel that we all want to see in the White House." Senator Joseph Lieberman, responding to whether he trusts Senator Obama's commitment to Israel said, "I have no doubt about that."
Senator Obama also has committed to being tough on Iran. In February 2008, he declared that his Iranian policy "will be aggressive diplomacy. I will not take any military options off the table." While
Senator Obama introduced the Iran divestment bill in Congress, Republican nominee Senator John McCain voted for the amendment that maintained a loophole to permit companies like Haliburton to continue
doing business with Iran.
Senator Obama is a strong proponent of separation of church and state, declaring that, "[w]e are a nation of many faiths and those with no
faith at all. The religious practices of all must be respected." Senator McCain, however, maintains that the "Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation, and it is hardly a
On domestic issues including the environment, Senator Obama is clearly progressive. He scored 96% on the League of Conservation Voters
Scorecard for Environmental issues during the 109th Congress, which met from 2005 to 2007. Senator McCain, on the other hand received a 0% rating from this organization for the same period. While Senator Obama maintains that the issue of climate change is one of the greatest challenges our generation faces, Senator McCain was the only member of Congress to skip every crucial environmental vote that was scored during the 109th Congress. On the issue of healthcare, Senator Obama supported the reauthorization of SCHIP while Senator McCain opposed it. He told CNN that President Bush's veto of the program was the "right call by the president."
Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been a supporter of Israel during his Senate tenure. By contrast, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, has far less foreign policy experience. Until this election, she has primarily been involved in city and state
As Election Day is only a few days away, we can confidently vote for Senator Obama without fear and remember that he will make our country stronger and by extension, Israel.
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