Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, sent the following letter to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu:
September 12, 2012
Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
I write to you as one of Israel's staunchest supporters in Congress to express my deep disappointment over your remarks that call into question our country's support for Israel and commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Your remarks are utterly contrary to the extraordinary United States-Israel alliance, evidenced by President Obama's record and the record of Congress.
As the author of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, I know that President Obama's support for Israel is unshakeable. I cannot tell you how proud I was to stand next to the President as he signed this important legislation into law in July, further enshrining the strong security ties and friendship between our two nations.
As you know, this law addresses many of Israel's top security priorities, including extending loan guarantees to Israel and increasing the U.S. weapons stockpile in Israel, which is available for Israel's use in the event of a crisis. The bill also recommits the United States to vetoing any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations Security Council.
President Obama has made clear time and time again that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. During a speech earlier this year, he stated: "I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power," including "a military effort to be prepared for any contingency." Anyone who has watched our President go after al Qaeda knows that he is resolute.
President Obama has also reaffirmed that Israel has the right to make its own decisions regarding its security, stating that Iran "should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also repeated these commitments.
In addition, President Obama has worked tirelessly to enact a crushing sanctions regime against Iran. He has helped rally the international community to make difficult economic decisions regarding imports of Iranian oil in a time of severe economic crisis. Today, the European Union imports no oil from Iran and other countries are reducing their purchases every day. Iran is also completely isolated from international financial markets.
In light of this, I am stunned by the remarks that you made this week regarding U.S. support for Israel. Are you suggesting that the United States is not Israel's closest ally and does not stand by Israel? Are you saying that Israel, under President Obama, has not received more in annual security assistance from the United States than at any time in its history, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System?
As other Israelis have said, it appears that you have injected politics into one of the most profound security challenges of our time -- Iran's illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.
I urge you to step back and clarify your remarks so that the world sees that there is no daylight between the United States and Israel. As you personally stated during an appearance with President Obama in March, "We are you, and you are us. We're together. So if there's one thing that stands out clearly in the Middle East today, it's that Israel and America stand together."
Thank you for that statement. I am hoping to hear that statement again.
United States Senator