No foreign entity has played so large a role in American presidential elections as the tiny Jewish state, and that phenomenon has only grown as President Barack Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, head into the home stretch ahead of the November poll.
Republican critics sounded an alarm this week as the Democratic National Convention (the major party event preceding the election) got underway, noting that Obama's party had removed from its official platform a number of pro- Israel provisions.
In his 2008 campaign for the presidency, Obama openly stated that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, that so-called "Palestinian refugees" cannot be settled in Israel proper, and that Hamas will not be accepted as a negotiating partner until it denounces its goal of destroying Israel.
None of those provisions were on the policy agenda as the Democrats gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and instead made do with a vague "unwavering commitment to Israel's security."
That bolstered assertions made last week by Romney at the Republican National Convention that Obama had "thrown Israel under the bus."
But Jewish Democratic activists fired back, noting that no one who had actually sat in the Oval Office had been able to keep his promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, including Republican presidents.
"President Bush signed waivers 16 times to avoid moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem," David Harris of the National Jewish Democratic Council told The Times of Israel, referencing a six-month national security loophole that every American president has abused since Congress decided in 1995 that the US Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
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