WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama spoke Monday at a fundraiser for potential Jewish donors to his 2010 presidential campaign and assured then that Jerusalem and Washington's relations were unshakable.
"One inviolable principle will be that the United States and Israel will always be stalwart allies and friends, that that bond isn’t breakable and that Israel's security will always be at the top tier of considerations in terms of how America manages its foreign policy – because it's the right thing to do, because Israel is our closest ally and friend, it is a robust democracy, it shares our values and it shares our principles," Obama said to roaring applause.
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Speaking of the regional changes sweeping the Middle East, Obama stressed that, "Both the United States and Israel are going to have to look at this new landscape with fresh eyes. It's not going to be sufficient for us just to keep on doing the same things we’ve been doing and expect somehow that things are going to work themselves out.
"We’re going to have to be creative and we’re going to have to be engaged. We’re going to have to look for opportunities where the best impulses in the Middle East come to the fore and the worst impulses are weakened."
Obama at AIPAC (Photo: AP)
Such achievements, he continued, would have to be carved from a position of strength: "This is why my administration has done more to promote Israel’s security, its qualitative military edge, its defense capabilities than any administration over the last 25 years. And we have made that commitment consistently.
"But it also means that we’ve got to engage diplomatically… there are going to be moments over the course of the next six months or the next 12 months or the next 24 months in which there may be tactical disagreements in terms of how we approach these difficult problems.
"But the broader vision, is one in which Israel is a secure Jewish state," Obama stressed. "One where it is able to live in peace with its neighbors, where kids can get on the bus or go to bed at night and not have to worry about missiles landing on them, where commerce and interactions between peoples in the region is occurring in a normal fashion, where the hopes and dreams of the original travelers to Israel, the original settlers in Israel, that those hopes and dreams that date back a millennium, that those hopes are realized. That will remain our North Star. That will remain our goal."
Obama told the crowd that he was "absolutely confident" the goal could be achieved, reiterating that it was "going to require some hard work."
"It going to require that not only this administration employs all of its creative powers to try to bring about peace in the region, but it’s also going to require all of you as engaged citizens of the United States who are friends of Israel making sure that you are giving us suggestions, you are in an honest dialogue with us, that you’re helping to shape how both Americans and Israelis think about the opportunities and challenges."
"My hope," he concluded, "Is that through the kind of conversations that we’re having here tonight, that we’re going to be able to, together, craft the kind of strategy that not only leads to a strong America, but also leads to a strong Israel."
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