President Obama's Middle East policy got a strong endorsement from the head of a leading Jewish organization Wednesday night at a Manhattan fundraiser. "America has never been as supportive to the state of Israel" as under the Obama administration, said Jack Rosen, head of the American Jewish Congress.
The President, who has had a rocky relationship with some of Israel's hardline supporters and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally, reassured his audience at Rosen's home that "No ally is more important than the state of Israel."
About 30 people reportedly paid $10,000 each to meet with the President. He was questioned about strains between the United States and Israel.
"As you know many in the Jewish community are concerned" about the US relationship with Israel, Rosen told the President and his guests. But "there are many things that we don't know… America's never been as supportive to the state of Israel" than since the start of the Obama administration, he added.
The President responded, "This administration – I try not to pat myself too much on the back – has done more for the security" of Israel "than any previous administration. We don't compromise when it comes to Israel's security."
"And that's not just our opinion, that's the opinion of the Israeli government. Whether it's making sure that our intelligence cooperation is effective, to making sure that we're able to construct something like an Iron Dome so that we don't have missiles raining down on Tel Aviv, we have been consistent in insisting that we don't compromise when it comes to Israel’s security. And that’s not just something I say privately, that’s something that I said in the U.N. General Assembly. And that will continue."
While the security relationship has never been stronger the warmth that characterized the prior two administrations is not the same.
More recently Obama has won praise for the increased level of security cooperation, the intensified pressure on Iran and especially for leading the successful fight in the U.N. Security Council to block Palestinian membership in the United Nations.
Republicans, as in previous elections, are trying to make support for Israel a political wedge issue. They hope to make serious inroads into the 78 percent of the Jewish vote Obama got in 2008, particularly in key swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania.