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Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Big Lie: President Obama threw Israel under the bus.

The Truth: President Obama’s popularity in Israel has never been higher, with an approval rating  at 54 percent — and Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said the president has done “more than anything that I can remember in the past” for the Jewish state.

Toward the end of his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday night, Mitt Romney tossed out an oddly placed colloquialism to condemn President Obama. “He threw Israel under the bus,” Romney said, as if he were a human being who regularly uses such “marvelous” street language.

You can go to the Urban Dictionary to get a definition of this idiom: “to sacrifice some other person, usually one who is undeserving or at least vulnerable, to make personal gain.” If it were true that the president threw Israel under a figurative bus, it would be news to the 54 percent of Israelis who told pollsters they approved of President Obama last December — and  for that matter the American Jewish voters who support the president over Romney by a two-to-one margin. Compare that to the 60 percent disapproval rating of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, according to recent polls.

The president’s commitment to Israel’s defense is consistent with American policy for decades. In his own colloquial way, the president frequently says we’ve “got Israel’s back.” He’s been unwavering in asserting that Iran will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

The president’s support takes concrete form in the Iron Dome missile defense system, which he has funded with millions of dollars. The system is designed to thwart steady rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak recent said, “the defense relations between Israel and the United States are extremely stable and good.”

Romney’s strange lie was yet another argument made at the Republican convention that only made sense and could only be believed by a devout viewer of Fox News. To the neo-conservatives on Fox who favored the Iraq War, what Israel’s right wing political bloc wants is synonymous with what Israel wants. Absolute loyalty to Ariel Sharon or Netanyahu is an article of faith. This gives Israel’s combative prime minister the virtual ability to dictate foreign policy – a position that is incredibly dangerous when an Israeli prime minister decides that he can unilaterally launch an attack that could trigger  war throughout the region.

To Romney, Netanyahu is Israel. And Netanyahu is eager to elect Romney and empower the reckless hawks on Romney’s foreign policy team, nearly all veterans of the Bush Administration.

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