Obama re-affirms US support for Israel
West Palm Beach – US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that his nation’s staunch support for Israel was not up for partisan debate as he hit the campaign trail in swing state Florida.
Obama also reiterated his condemnation for what he called the “barbaric” bomb attack on a bus filled with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that left six dead and which the Jewish state has blamed on Iran.
“I want everybody to know, under my administration, we haven’t just preserved the unbreakable bond with Israel, we have strengthened it,” Obama told a mainly elderly audience at a campaign event in West Palm Beach.
“We stood by Israel’s side in the face of criticism. Our military and intelligence co-operation have never been closer,” he said, pointing out it was a “great moment of uncertainty in the Middle East”.
“Now’s the time to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect Israel’s security, and I want you to know that that’s something that should transcend party. That’s not a Republican or Democratic issue.”
Florida, a key battleground state in the race for the White House, has many Jewish voters. A study conducted by the University of Connecticut last year said the state was home to 10% of the Jewish American population.
Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney said at a January debate of his party’s presidential contenders that the Democratic incumbent “threw Israel under the bus” in terms of his stance on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.