U.S. President Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the Union for Reform Judaism conference on Friday, saying his administration has done more than any other to support Israel.
"It's hard to remember a time when the 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 from the 6,000 attendees at the conference that belied his critics' claims that he is losing Jewish support.
Heading into the 2012 election, Obama has come under persistent attack from Republicans who say he hasn't done enough for Israel.
But in Friday's speech, the president 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 unshakable."
Obama prefaced his remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by citing the need to promote universal human rights.
He said the Israelis and Palestinians must find a way to reach a peace agreement. "I know that many of you share my frustrations from time to time," he said. "But here is what I know. 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 United States 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," he 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."
Before his speech, Obama met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The Defense Ministry said in a statement that in the 30 minute-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.
Obama quoted Barak in his speech as telling the president that it was difficult to remember a U.S. administration that has given more support to Israel's security than the current one.
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