President Barack Obama said Wednesday he has done more for Israel’s security than any other administration, and vowed no ally is more important to the U.S. than the Jewish state.
“I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration,” Obama said.
Speaking to prominent Jewish supporters at a New York City fundraiser, Obama said there is “enormous tumult” in the Middle East because of the Arab Spring, but that the U.S. stands firmly “on the side of democracy” and on Israel’s side, ABC reported.
“Whether it’s making sure that our intelligence cooperation is effective, to making sure that we’re able to construct something like an iron dome so that we don’t have missiles raining down on Tel Aviv, we have been consistent in insisting that we don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security,” Obama said.
“Obviously, no ally is more important than the state of Israel,” he said.
Obama faced heavy criticism earlier this year when he said negotiations for a Palestinian state should be based on the pre-1967 borders, and has had a sometimes strained relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including when he was caught disparaging him on a live microphone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy last month.
American Jewish Congress chairman Jack Rosen, who hosted the fundraiser at his home, acknowledged there are those who are doubtful of Obama’s commitment to Israel, Reuters reported.
“It would be remiss for me not to say there are many in the Jewish community who are concerned” about the relationship between Israel and the United States, Rosen said.
But he added, “America has never been as supportive of the state of Israel as President Obama and his administration.”
According to ABC, 30 Obama supporters each paid at least $10,000 per person to attend. It was one of three fundraisers he attended in New York City Wednesday, marking 69 total fundraisers he has attended this year.