These are facts, not opinions.
BY COLIN H. KAHL
As the Defense Department official with primary responsibility for enhancing Israel’s defense capabilities and deepening joint military cooperation with the United States from 2009 to 2011, I can attest to the reality: No president in history has done more for Israel’s security than Obama.
The case for Obama’s Israel policy begins with record-high levels of Foreign Military Financing (FMF). The Obama administration has increased security assistance to Israel every single year since the president took office, providing nearly $10 billion in aid—covering roughly a fifth of Israel’s defense budget—over the past three years…
Under Obama’s direction, the United States has also deepened defense cooperationaimed at helping Israel address its most pressing security concerns, including rocket and missile threats emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. When then-Senator Obama traveled to Israel in 2008, it wasn’t for a political fundraiser. Instead, he visited Israeli victims of Palestinian rocket fire in the southern town of Sderot, declaring ‘I came to Sderot with a commitment to Israel’s security.’ These were not just words. As president, Obama has championed efforts to provide Israel with $275 million over and above its annual FMF to help finance Iron Dome, an anti-rocket system that has already saved Israeli lives by intercepting approximately 90 percent of projectiles launched against protected areas in the country’s south in the past year…
providing Israel with advanced technology, such as the fifth-generation stealth Joint Strike Fighter, to which no other state in the Middle East has access.
This assistance is part of a comprehensive package<http: crs=”" mideast=”" rl33222.pdf=”" sgp=”" www.fas.org=”"> that underwrites Israel’s multitiered rocket and missile defense. The package includes U.S. aid for the development of the David’s Sling long-range rocket defense system and the Arrow ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems. It also involves maintaining an advanced U.S. X-band long-range radar <http: 0,8599,2115955,00.html=”" article=”" time=”" world=”" www.time.com=”"> system in Israel’s Negev desert, positioning U.S. Aegis BMD ships in the eastern Mediterranean, and conducting the largest joint military exercises in history to improve U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation.
Beyond efforts to build Israel’s military capabilities, Obama has attempted to shape a regional and international environment that enhances Israel’s security over the long haul.
Time and again, Obama has mobilized the diplomatic might of the United States to protect Israel, even when doing so generated substantial criticism abroad. Obama has consistently defended Israel at the United Nations, rejecting the unbalanced Goldstone report, defending Israel over the Gaza flotilla incident with Turkey, and blocking Palestinian attempts to circumvent direct negotiations with Israel and impose an outcome through early recognition of statehood. In doing so, Obama has repeatedly shown his willingness to shield Israelis from international efforts aimed at isolating and delegitimizing the Jewish state.
Even as Obama has pressed all sides to make peace, he has stood shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish state in the face of mounting international challenges. As uprisings swept over the Arab world, the administration made clear to Egypt’s new leaders that U.S. aid was conditioned on Egypt continuing to abide by its peace treaty with Israel. And when an angry mob stormed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last September, Obama personally and directly intervened with Egypt’s military to ensure the safety of Israeli diplomats.
I remember sitting in my Pentagon office that night when the phones started ringing off the hook from the White House. “You have to get Secretary [of Defense Leon] Panetta on the phone with [Egyptian Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein] Tantawi, now,” a senior National Security Council staffer urged. “We may only have 20 to 30 minutes before it is too late.” The call was part of a five-alarm fire drill orchestrated by the president to ensure that every possible avenue of communication and influence was directed at the Egyptian military. And it worked. Afterward, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahusaid<http: apps=”" content.aspx?c=”keJNIWOvElH&b=5772823&ct=11213247&notoc=1″ nlnet=”" site=”" www.hadassah.org=”">, “I requested his [Obama's] assistance at a decisive — I would even say fateful — moment. He said he would do everything possible, and this is what he did. He activated all of the United States’ means and influence — which are certainly considerable. I believe we owe him a special debt of gratitude. This testifies to the powerful alliance between Israel and the United States.”
Obama has also taken aggressive action to counter the threat Israeli leaders describe as their No. 1 national security concern: Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Obama has repeatedly stated that an Iranian nuclear weapon is ‘unacceptable,’ and he has committed to using all instruments of U.S. power—economic, diplomatic, intelligence, and military—to prevent, not contain, this outcome… These sanctions—which have cut Iranian oil exports in half, have cost the Iranians billions of dollars in revenue every month, have increased inflation, and have caused the value of Iran’s currency to plummet—have finally pushed the regime back to the negotiating table…
Obama clearly prefers a diplomatic outcome to the crisis, seeing it as the most sustainable solution. But he has also made clear that all options, including military force, remain on the table to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold should diplomacy fail. Both the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have stated that the United States possesses a viable military plan in the event of a conflict with Iran. And the president has authorized additional military deployments to the Persian Gulf to ensure the option is credible…</http:></http:></http:>