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U.S. President speaks before Union for Reform Judaism conference, stresses that U.S. support for Israel is ‘unshakeable.’
U.S. President Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the Union for Reform Judaism conference in Maryland on Friday, where he said that his administration has done more than any other to support Israel.
“It’s hard to remember a time when the [U.S.] administration gave more support to the security of Israel. Don’t let anyone to tell you otherwise. It’s a fact,” said Obama, who received a standing ovation and enthusiastic applause from the thousands of attendees at the conference.
Obama has come under persistent attack from Republicans heading into the 2012 election, who say he hasn’t done enough for Israel.
However, in Friday’s speech, Obama stressed his commitment to Israel and its security.
“We stand with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” he said. “America’s commitment and my commitment to the security of Israel is unshakeable.”
Obama said that the Israelis and the Palestinians must find a way to reach a peace agreement, and told those in the crowd, “I know that many of you share my frustrations from time to time.”
“But here is what I know,” Obama continued. “Peace can’t be imposed from the outside. Ultimately, Israelis and the Palestinians have to reach agreements on issues that divide them.”
Obama also reiterated that the U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and that no options are off the table.
“We have imposed the most comprehensive, the hardest-hitting sanctions that the Iranian regime has ever faced,” Obama said.
“We haven’t just talked about it, we have done it. And we’re going to keep up the pressure. And that’s why, rest assured, we will take no options off the table. We have been clear.”
Right before his speech, Obama met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The Defense Ministry said in a statement that in the 30 minute-long meeting, the two discussed regional issues and the challenges facing the Middle East, the United States and Israel.
Barak thanked Obama for strengthening the security ties between Israel and the United States during his term.