WASHINGTON – In the latest effort to use Israel as a partisan wedge during the 2012 election year, the Republican Jewish Coalition released on Sunday an internet video against US President Barack Obama.
Titled "Security" the video bashes Obama for cutting $6 million in missile defense aid to Israel. The ad accuses Obama of seeking to "weaken Israel's security just when it needs it the most".
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However, the ad ignores the fact that Washington increased security aid to Israel for 2013. There is also no reference to the fact that the US missile defense program was also cut by $700 million.
"President Obama's rhetoric have you believe he's doing all he can for Israel's security. In reality he wants to slash American support for Israel's critical defense," RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks says in the ad.
The Obama administration has recently asked Congress to budget $99.8 million for Israel's defense systems in 2013, a $6 million cut compared to 2012's $106.1 million. However, the $6 million cut is only a small part of the overall $700 million cut in the US missile defense development program.
In spite of the cut, the overall security aid to Israel will be increased in 2013 by $250 million, reaching $3.1 billion according to the US-Israel security aid agreement. Republicans, on their part, wish to depict Obama as disregarding Israel's security and are calling on the public to urge the White House to withdraw the cut.
Focusing on the negative - the RJC web ad
Historically, US presidents and congressmen of both parties supported defense aid to Israel for the most part. In recent years Congress doubled the aid requested by the White House, and is expected to do so again this year.
During his tenure, President George W. Bush signed a 10-year security aid deal with Israel, an agreement still respected by Obama. The $205 million aid package for the development of missile defense systems was pushed by Obama, with the hope of expediting the deployment of anti-missile systems.
National Jewish Democratic Council President David Harris said that under President Obama the largest-ever military aid package for Israel was made in a time of a difficult budgetary climate.
"This is yet another example of how President Obama continues to stand with Israel," Harris said.
He argued: "This is the President who initiated the building of the Iron Dome missile defense shield and secured the funding to make it a reality."
"One thing is certain here; President Obama will ensure that Israel gets every dollar it needs for missile defense," Commented the NJDC in response to the ad.
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