| Extracts of remarks by Sen. Frank Lautenberg blasting Gov. Mitt Romney and other members of the Republican Party for their continued use of Israel as a political wedge issue.
I rise today out of disbelief with the rhetoric coming from Republicans and their presidential candidate concerning the U.S. relationship with Israel. Unfortunately, Republicans want to use our relationship with Israel as a political game, which is terrible for U.S. national security and bad for Israel. The implication that we are weak in our support for Israel is foul play.
We have built a relationship between our countries that is firm and unshakeable since 1948. To try and clumsily interfere with that is shameful.
Republicans are distorting the state of U.S. - Israel relations for political gain, and sending the wrong signal to the rest of the world. When you listen to Republicans - especially their Presidential candidate Mitt Romney - discuss Israel, reality is often replaced with distortion and fantasy. Mitt Romney says President Obama has not been a friend of Israel. But that couldn't be any further from the truth.
When we examine the record, it is clear that President Obama shares my convictions about the enduring bond between Israel and the U.S.
It is clear that there is no greater friend to Israel than this President. But you don't have to take my word for it.
So that is the view from the Defense Minister of Israel. He says that President Obama has done more for Israel's security than any Administration in the past. This is coming from one of Israel's most decorated military leaders -a man who helped plan the historic raid on Entebbe. He understands Israel's security.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the Obama Administration's security policy for Israel 'unprecedented.'
But if you listen to Republicans over here in the U.S., they say we have all but abandoned Israel's security. They are encouraging hostile neighbors with their misrepresentations. Shame on them.
Governor Romney in particular has demonstrated frightening ignorance about Israel and its security needs. The prime example of this behavior is the Republican presidential nominee's complete inability to articulate what exactly he would do differently.
When asked about what his policy regarding Israel would be, Romney famously said he would-'Look at the things the President has done and do the opposite.' What a threatening statement that is.
He says he wants to do the opposite of President Obama. So let's look at what that would really mean:
- Last September, when the Palestinian Authority aggressively pursued a UN vote on statehood, President Obama stood strong and blocked it. If we are to believe Mitt Romney, however, he would have allowed this unilateral action on Palestinian statehood at the U.N. to proceed.
- Under President Obama, the U.S. has sent Israel the largest-ever amount of military aid in American history - over three billion dollars. That's an annual commitment over ten years that started in 2009.
- And just a few days ago, President Obama signed into law a new bill that will strengthen U.S. security cooperation with Israel even further. But again, if we are to believe Mitt Romney, he would have lowered Israeli aid and weakened Israel's defenses against the threats it faces.
- And lastly, President Obama has stood absolutely firm in his call to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The Obama Administration has been clear that all options are on the table to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threat to its neighbors. And President Obama has put in place the strongest sanctions ever against Iran-sanctions that have punished and isolated Iran more than ever before.
If we are to believe Mitt Romney here as well, under a President Romney, America's policy toward Iran would be one of accepting a nuclear-armed Iran that threatens Israel's very existence.
M. President, the bottom line is this: these are not simple problems and they will require real leadership to tackle. And we cannot play games with America's bestfriend. Israel continues to be threatened by rockets launched by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Iran appears intent on developing a nuclear weapon and is the foremost state sponsor of terror.
But instead of approaching these issues with the careful consideration they deserve, the Republicans seem intent on twisting reality for political gain.
And we see it on the domestic front too. The Republican Leader, has said his party's top priority is to make President Obama a one term president, and they are using any pretense they can establish...
And if we take Mitt Romney's word for it, they are certainly not aimed at doing what is in Israel's best interests. Because when they simply wish for our President's failure, they hurt America's chances for success. And when they fail to put forth any ideas of their own, Mr. President, they show themselves to be unfit to govern and unable to lead. And the whole world knows that America's leadership depends on its domestic strength and not casual political rhetoric that challenges America's loyalty to its friends.