The Corner

Marco Rubio Delivers Withering Rebuke of Obama’s Treatment of Israel

On the Senate floor on Thursday, Florida senator and prospective Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio delivered a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration’s recent treatment of Israel.

Beginning with a declaration of Israel’s virtues — “How much better would the world be if the Middle East looked more like Israel?” he asked — and noting its special purpose as a homeland for the Jewish people, Rubio launched into a withering condemnation of the Obama administration.

“As far as I know, after this election, the president has yet to call the prime minister,” said Rubio (the president has since been in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu). “That is unlike the fact that in March 2012, he was among the first to call and congratulate [Vladimir] Putin in Moscow. Or that in June of 2012, he was among the first to call [Mohamed] Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood when they won the Egyptian presidency. Or that in November of 2012, they called to congratulate the top Chinese communists on their new position — which by the way is not elected in the way you and I would consider there to be an election.”

Rubio chronicled several years of the Obama administration’s distaste for Netanyahu and for Israel, and also recounted the several times that the Palestinian Authority has refused peace accords offered by Israel.

The Obama White House’s decision to air its grievances with Israel publicly earned Rubio’s harshest criticism: “Allies have differences, but when allies like Israel, when you have a difference with them and it is public, it emboldens their enemies to launch more rockets out of southern Lebanon and Gaza, to launch more terrorist attacks, to go to international forums and delegitimize Israel’s right to exist,” said Rubio, accusing the Obama administration of “a historic and tragic mistake.”

“This is outrageous, it is irresponsible, it is dangerous, and it betrays the commitment this nation has made to the right of a Jewish state to exist in peace,” he concluded. “If America doesn’t stand with Israel, who would we stand with? If Israel — a democracy, a strong American ally on the international stage — if they are not worthy of our unconditional support, then what ally of ours around the world can feel safe in their alliance with us?”

The speech is likely to bolster significant recent pro-Rubio presidential buzz.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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