Special Dossier: Presidential Primaries
Why I Am Voting For Barack Obama For President
-- David Broida
I am voting for Barack Obama in the April 22 Democratic primary election because of his strong and consistent support for the State of Israel. Here are a few examples:
On November 10, 2005, Obama voted in favor appropriating $2.2 billion in military aid to Israel.
On July 18, 2006, in the wake of the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers Gilad Shalit on the Gaza border, and Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, on the Lebanese border, and the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the US Senate considered a Resolution, co-sponsored by Barack Obama. The Resolution endorsed Israel's right to self-defense and condemned the violence of Hamas and Hezbollah. The resolution also supported Israel's right to take appropriate action to deter aggression by terrorist groups and their state sponsors. Barack Obama voted for the Resolution, and it passed.
In 2007 Senator Barack Obama sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which made it US policy to support the decisions of state and local governments and educational institutions to divest from, and prohibit the investment of assets they control, in companies doing business with Iran. The Act passed.
In 2006, Barack Obama co-sponsord The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, discouraging international aid to the Palestinian Authority until and unless Hamas recognizes Israel, disarms, and renounces violence. The resolution passed.
In 2002, while an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama sponsored a Resolution that condemned terrorist attacks against Israel, and called on Yasir Arafat to put an end to terrorist attacks which emanate from areas under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction. The resolution passed.
While an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama voted to ammend the State Moneys Act to provide for constitutional authority for the State Treasurer of Illinois to invest in Israel Bonds. The bill also prohibits State of Illinois funds from being invested in Sudan. The bill passed.
In all his time in the US Senate, on every military appropriations and foreign aid bill for Israel, Barack Obama voted exactly in tandem with AIPAC's position on the proposed legislation. His voting record is no less supportive of Israel than the records of Senators McCain or Clinton.
We should judge Senator Obama by his record, not just by what he says. His record of support for Israel, judged by his votes and speeches, is sterling.
On February 14, 2007, at an AIPAC meeting, he said, "We must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missle defense programs".
Barack Obama has said that Israel is among the "most important of America's allies, and its security is sacrosanct". One of the reasons he has so many Jewish supporters, in Illinois and across the nation, is that he has been a stalwart friend of Israel and has supported the special relationship between the US and Israel.
Senator Dick Durban of Illinois first came to the attention of the Jewish community with his successful run for the US House against the virulently anti-Israel Congressman Paul Findlay. His voting record in support of Israel is well-known in the Jewish community. He stands 100% behind the candidacy of Barack Obama. Pennsylvania's US Senator Bob Casey, Jr. has been a staunch friend of Israel, from his work as State Treasurer to the present. Senator Casey wholeheartedly supports the candidacy of Barack Obama.
Senator Obama spoke with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as the Annapolis talks convened, reiterating his commitment to Israel's security as the basis for peace negotiations. In the wake of deadly rockets coming from Gaza into to Sderot and Ashkelon, he called Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to express support for Israel, as well as condolences for the families of Jewish victims.
The US-Israel relationship has been and remains the centerpiece of Barack Obama's Middle East policy.
George W. Bush has mostly neglected the region for the past 7 years. It's time for a new direction. It won't be easy to bring Hamas to the table. But discussions must begin, on the basis of Hamas renouncing violence, in deed and word. When that moment arrives, we need a leader who will not neglect the prospects for peace, but instead, will engage all parties.
Barack Obama is that leader.
David Broida is a former board member of American Jewish World Service and current Lower Merion Democratic Committeeman.
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