We live in a country where the liberal media truly doesn't leave any stone unturned when it comes to searching for the next big (and often pointless) story. Legitimately important topics such as gun control and taxation are no longer the core issues that our nation bickers about. Everything from the racial makeup of the Oscar awards to the type of boots worn by Marco Rubio are turned into political firestorms and front page headlines.
I'm a Republican both socially and fiscally. I believe in limited government regulations on private businesses, a strong and well-funded military, the inalienable right for Americans to keep and bear arms, lower corporate taxes to encourage corporations to bring jobs back to America, and a foreign policy that's something along the lines of pulverizing anybody foolish enough to threaten our nation. It goes without saying that as a Republican, I always have and always will support the State of Israel and its right to defend itself from its enemies.
As much as I might wish for it, not everyone shares my political viewpoints, so for the purpose of making this easier to understand, Let's create a new person named "Abraham." Now Abraham is your textbook liberal Democrat; He believes in gun control to reduce gun violence, higher taxes on the wealthy to eliminate our exorbitant spending deficit, and reduced military spending so we can spend that money on other services, such as education and healthcare. Now Abraham loves Israel, he believes Israel always has the right to defend itself and that instead of using brute military force against potential threats, it should try to de-escalate tensions with its enemies through more peaceful means.
So what happened here? Why are Democrats like Abraham so commonly clumped in with the minuscule number of leftists who're legitimately anti-Israel? Maybe it has to do with the current leader of the Democratic party's position on Israel (Barack Obama)? Let's take a look at President Obama's record on Israel to find out if such would be justified.
As a Senator, Barack Obama's voting record on Israel can be described as nothing less than stellar, voting in favor of Israel on virtually every bill related to it in the Senate. He even co-sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. He signed his name on several letters from members of the Senate calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. As both a Senator and President, Obama was up until recently, a staunch advocate of sanctions and divestment from Iran. He has continued to support the annual 3.1 billion dollars in foreign aid to Israel and during Israel's war with Hamas in 2014, signed off on providing Israel with over two hundred million dollars of emergency funding for its Iron Dome rocket defense system.
So where does the Obama "Pro-Israel" narrative begin to fall apart? Well, for one, it doesn't take a political science major from Harvard to figure out that President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have their fair share of disagreements; primarily concerning sanctions on Iran. He strongly pushed for a nuclear deal with Iran that the Israeli government, Republicans, and even some Democratic leaders argued gives Iran far too much leverage and room to cheat. Upon the passage of this bill, U.S-Israel relations slid into what can unarguably be considered as the rockiest point in our alliance with Israel since its establishment.
Iran aside, President Obama has been a consistent critic of Israel's settlement policy which he claims only makes a two-state solution harder to achieve. Some argue that the President has been too weak on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and won't call out Abbas for openly inciting hatred and terrorism against Israeli civilians.
So we've established that under President Obama, the U.S-Israel alliance has had its fair share of high and low moments (perhaps more low moments than not). But certainly he's been a far worse friend of Israel's than the Republicans have been, right? WRONG! Plenty of Republican presidents have had their fair share of high-profile disagreements with the State of Israel, don't believe it? Below are just a few of the many examples of such disagreements.
Following Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, President Ronald Reagan not only swiftly condemned Israeli actions but also halted a planned shipment of F-16 fighter jets to Israel. Then-Secretary of State Alexander Haig called the shipment delay a response to "the escalating violence in the Middle East." During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Republican President Richard Nixon initially opposed sending military equipment in what was indisputably Israel's most perilous point in modern history. It took a phone call from then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to convince Nixon to send desperately needed military hardware to Israel. In tape recordings released in 1999, Nixon made comments that to be subtle, went above and beyond mere criticism of Israel.
So to answer the question of whether Democrats or Republicans are better for Israel, both parties have their ups and downs with the Jewish State. That's how alliances work, having disagreements with your friends is nothing unusual. It's these disagreements and difficult times that test our relationship with Israel and prove it for what it is: an unbreakable bond based on the core values of democracy and human rights. The political nature of support for Israel is far different than that of other issues such as gun control or gay marriage; it's by nature a bipartisan issue. So long as it stays bipartisan, our relationship with Israel can never be broken. However the moment that either party turns it into a partisan issue, our relationship with Israel will be permanently dismantled.
My name is Benjamin Jaffe. I was born and raised in South Florida and plan on majoring in political science at Hebrew University in Israel.