Sunday, March 4. Barack Obama, US president and long-suffering partner of insanely jealous and (some would contend) certifiably mad Bibi Netanyahu, aka Mr Israel, finds himself once again at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, preparing to reaffirm his love and commitment for his moody, unpredictable partner.
'Shit, what sort of marriage is this?' thought the president - and not for the first time, either. 'I mean, it was only last May* I was here renewing our vows. Now here I am again! Why is he so damn insecure? Honestly, it's not only me, he's driving everyone nuts! As I confided to Sarko at the G20 conference last year: You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day!** I just couldn't control myself. He treats me like a doormat. No matter what I do for him, it's just never good enough. And as for gratitude - forget it! Oh well, here we go again':
"[B]ecause of AIPAC's effectiveness in carrying out its mission, you can expect that over the next several days you will hear many fine words from elected officials describing their commitment to the US-Israeli relationship. But as you examine my commitment, you don't just have to count on my words. You can look at my deeds. Because over the last 3 years, as President of the United States, I have kept my commitments to the state of Israel. At every crucial juncture - at every fork in the road - we have been there for Israel. Every single time.
"Four years ago, I stood before you and said that, 'Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable'. That belief has guided my actions as president. The fact is my administration's commitment to Israel has been unprecedented. Our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer. Our joint exercises and training have never been more robust. Despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance has increased every single year. We are investing in new capabilities. We're providing Israel with more advanced technology - the types of products and systems that only go to our closest friends and allies. And make no mistake: We will do what it takes to preserve Israel's qualitative military edge - because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.
"This isn't just about numbers on a balance sheet. As a senator, I spoke to Israeli troops on the Lebanese border. I visited with families who've known the terror of rocket fire in Sderot. And that's why, as president, I have provided critical funding to deploy the Iron Dome system that has intercepted rockets that might have hit homes and hospitals and schools in that town and in others. Now our assistance is expanding Israel's defensive capabilities, so that more Israelis can live free from the fear of rockets and ballistic missiles. Because no family, no citizen, should live in fear.
"And just as we've been there with our security assistance, we've been there through our diplomacy. When the Goldstone report unfairly singled out Israel for criticism, we challenged it. When Israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them. When the Durban conference was commemorated, we boycotted it, and we will always reject the notion that Zionism is racism.
"When one-sided resolutions are brought up at the Human Rights Council, we oppose them. When Israeli diplomats feared for their lives in Cairo, we intervened to save them. When there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them. And whenever an effort is made to delegitimize the state of Israel, my administration has opposed them. So there should not be a shred of doubt by now - when the chips are down, I have Israel's back."
[*See my 27/5/11 post Obama: Feel the Love; **See my 8/11/11 post That Shitty Little Prime Minister.]