With a new falsehood, Ben Stein advanced old myth that Obama "does not like Israel"

››› ››› LILY YAN

On Fox News' Glenn Beck, Ben Stein claimed that "at the 2004 Democratic convention," President Obama "gave this list of terrible misconduct in the world. And at one of them things was Israeli misconduct towards the Palestinians. And I remember thinking, 'Whoa, this guy is part of that Minister Farrakhan axis that does not like Israel.' And that, in fact, has proved to be true." In fact, Obama did not mention Israel or Palestine at the 2004 convention; moreover, Obama has repeatedly expressed support for Israel, and Stein's claim echoes that of other conservatives who have falsely claimed otherwise.

From the July 28 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: So, Ben, I have a lot of Jewish friends here in New York, and almost all of them voted for Obama. And I said, "Are you nuts?" And they said, "Oh, no. I think he's going to be fine." Now they're all going, "Oh, no, he's not really a friend, is he?" Do you think he is a friend of Israel?

STEIN: Not at all. I mean, he came on the national radar screen for a speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. And out of nowhere, he gave this list of terrible misconduct in the world.

And at one of them things was Israeli misconduct towards the Palestinians. And I remember thinking, "Whoa, this guy is part of that Minister Farrakhan axis that does not like Israel." And that, in fact, has proved to be true.

BECK: Yeah, but nobody paid attention to that.

Obama didn't mention Israel or Palestine in 2004 DNC speech

Contrary to Stein's claim, Obama did not discuss Israel or Palestine in his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech. In his July 27, 2004, keynote address at the convention, Obama did not mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [transcript of Obama's remarks at 2004 DNC]

Stein's claim that Obama "does not like Israel" is baseless

Obama has repeatedly expressed support for Israel. During his presidential campaign, Obama outlined a platform "to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship," noting "our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the Middle East." In a March 2, 2007, AIPAC speech, while declaring that "the Israelis must trust that they have a true Palestinian partner for peace," Obama stated, "That is why we must strengthen the hands of Palestinian moderates who seek peace and that is why we must maintain the isolation of Hamas and other extremists who are committed to Israel's destruction."

In his policy positions and public statements, Obama has consistently supported aid to Israel:

  • On November 10, 2005, Obama voted in favor of the conference report for the bill making appropriations for the State Department, including more than $2.2 billion in military aid to Israel.
  • On February 14, 2007, Obama voted in favor of a continuing resolution that included more than $2.3 billion in military aid to Israel.
  • Obama's presidential campaign's position paper on Israel says that Obama has "consistently supported the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and has advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. Additionally, Obama has called for sustaining the unique U.S.-Israel defense relationship by fully funding military assistance and continuing cooperative work on missile defense programs, such as the Arrow."
  • In a January 29, 2008, fact sheet, the National Jewish Democratic Council stated that Obama "has voted multiple times in favor of foreign aid and is a leader in pushing for divestment from Iran."
  • An article in the March 3, 2008, issue of Newsweek reported: "Almost unanimously, American Jewish leaders say Obama's voting record and public pronouncements paint him squarely as an Israel supporter. 'Senators Clinton, Obama, McCain and Governor Huckabee have demonstrated their support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,' AIPAC president Howard Friedman wrote to NEWSWEEK. (AIPAC says all three senators have strong congressional voting records on issues important to the U.S.-Israel relationship.)"
  • During his June 4, 2008, comments to AIPAC, Obama said, "We must isolate Hamas unless and until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements." He also said, "As President, I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade -- investments to Israel's security that will not be tied to any other nation."
  • In a May 18 press availability with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while referencing "the special relationship between the United States and Israel," Obama stated that Israel "is a stalwart ally of the United States." He added, "We have historical ties, emotional ties. As the only true democracy of the Middle East it is a source of admiration and inspiration for the American people."
  • In a May 28 press availability with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, Obama reiterated, "We are a stalwart ally of Israel and it is in our interests to assure that Israel is safe and secure."
  • The Council on Foreign Relations currently states that on the "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," "President Obama has taken a strongly pro-Israel tone in addressing the conflict." [Council on Foreign Relations, accessed July 29]

Stein's claim echoes conservative myth that Obama, liberals do not support Israel

Numerous media figures have perpetuated the myth that Obama and liberals don't support Israel. Other media outlets and personalities like Michael Savage, Tammy Bruce, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill Cunningham have advanced the falsehood that Obama does not support Israel, or that liberals cannot sufficiently support Israel. On June 3, CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley stated that Obama's "biggest advantage" with Muslims is "who he is not": "George Bush ... a stalwart defender of Israel." And on the June 11 edition of Glenn Beck's radio show, Beck and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin claimed that conservatives are "bigger fan[s] of Israel than anyone on the left."

From the July 28 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: So, Ben, I have a lot of Jewish friends here in New York, and almost all of them voted for Obama. And I said, "Are you nuts?" And they said, "Oh, no. I think he's going to be fine." Now they're all going, "Oh, no, he's not really a friend, is he?" Do you think he is a friend of Israel?

STEIN: Not at all. I mean, he came on the national radar screen for a speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. And out of nowhere, he gave this list of terrible misconduct in the world.

And at one of them things was Israeli misconduct towards the Palestinians. And I remember thinking, "Whoa, this guy is part of that Minister Farrakhan axis that does not like Israel." And that, in fact, has proved to be true.

BECK: Yeah, but nobody paid attention to that. I know -- Ben, I know you can't speak for all Jews, but --

STEIN: No. Yes, I can. Yes, I can.

BECK: All right. Ben is the official spokesman for all Jewish people today.

STEIN: Yes.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Glenn Beck, Ben Stein
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
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