U.S. Congressman Lashes Out at Obama Over Israel Remarks

Leading Republican official Eric Cantor criticizes U.S. president's comments at nuclear security summit.

Eric Cantor, a leading Republican official in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Thursday lashed out at U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks about Israel at this week's nuclear security summit.

Cantor on Thursday lashed out at Obama's remarks, saying the U.S. administration is manufacturing fights with Israel and pandering to the Arab world.

Obama on Tuesday urged all countries, including Israel, to sign the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

"Whether we're talking about Israel or any other country, we think that becoming part of the NPT is important," Obama said. "And that, by the way, is not a new position. That's been a consistent position of the United States government, even prior to my administration."

‫Obama also said that unresolved conflicts, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, affect the United States.

"It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower," Obama said. "And when conflicts break out, one way or another, we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.‬"

Cantor responded in a statement by saying, "The administration's troubling policy of manufacturing fights with Israel to ingratiate itself with some in the Arab world is no way to advance the cause of Mideast peace."

He added, "What kind of message is sent to the world when our country appears to turn its back on key strategic allies who share our values?"

Cantor went on to say that the list of grievances "supposedly stoking the hatred of Islamic terrorists is endless and evolving."

"The suggestion that terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan will lay down their weapons if we distance ourselves from Israel is blindingly naïve," he said.

"We know this because it's been tried before. For example, Russia has sided with Israel's Arab enemies since the days of the Cold War, and today it condemns Israel at the UN, sells arms to Israel's arch-enemies Syria and Iran, and is attempting to block meaningful international sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. Did this stop Islamist suicide bombers from murdering 38 in an attack on two Moscow subway stations last month?"

Cantor was also among the members of Congress who on Wednesday called on Obama to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran over its nuclear program.

Officials from the Senate and the House of Representatives sent bipartisan letters to Obama, urging him to crack down on Iran.

The letters were signed by over three-quarters of Congress with 363 signatures on the House letter and 76 signatures on the Senate letter.

"We urge you today to reaffirm boldly and unambiguously that the U.S. can and will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. We call on you to fulfill your June 2008 pledge that you would do 'everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," the letters read.

Cantor last month criticized the Obama administration for its public rebuke of Israel during a row over new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem.