President Barack Obama, in State of the Union address Tuesday night, urged a “diplomatic solution” for the Iranian nuclear threat and said the U.S. stands with Israel “in pursuit of security and a lasting peace.”
Obama, who is set to visit Israel this spring, said those are “the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month.”
“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon,” Obama said.
He added, “And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace.”
National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) Chair Marc R. Stanley said in a statement that Obama’s “strong words in support of Israel” Tuesday “reflect his unyielding commitment to the safety and security of the Jewish state.”
“From his leadership on the Iron Dome missile defense system and his vocal support for Israel’s right to defend itself to his commitment to achieving peace, the President has been Israel’s most important ally,” Stanley said. “We appreciate that the President reaffirmed his commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran tonight, and that he continued to make clear that he stands with Israel as its neighbors experience instability and violence.”
The Obama administration has repeatedly stressed that there is “time and space” for diplomacy and sanctions to solve the Iranian issue. The nuclear threat has been an area of tension for Obama and Netanyahu, regarding the setting of a “red line” that, if crossed, would prompt U.S. military action against Iran. Obama has thus far resisted Netanyahu’s calls for a red line, calling those calls “noise” in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes” last year. The two leaders would be well-served finding common ground on the Iranian issue when Obama visits Israel, American Thinker political correspondent Richard Baehr told JNS.org last week.
“There is a special need for [U.S.-Israel] coordination on Iran, especially if sabotage or military action against Iran is a possible option, as it certainly is at least for Israel,” Baehr wrote in an email.
NJDC’s Stanley said Tuesday night that because of Obama’s “exceptionally strong support for Israel,” the group is “eagerly anticipating his upcoming trip to the Jewish state.” Baehr is less optimistic, saying last week that Obama and Netanyahu “have met several times before, never with great warmth or accomplishment.”