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As US Election Draws Near, Israel Remains Rife in American Politics

The central position Israel has played in the race for the White House since the early days of the Republican primaries continues uninterrupted with six weeks remaining. This week’s Sunday news programs featured the candidates, with President Obama using his appearance on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to rebuff Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s criticism of his Middle East policies. Apparently responding to polling indicating that few Americans are interested in becoming entangled in another war, the president admonished Romney to “say so” if he’s advocating “starting another war.” Romney has accused Obama of failing to stand by Israel and failing to provide Syrian opposition with the tools it needs to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad and end the carnage that has claimed more than 27,000 lives.  Romney used the forum to criticize Obama’s refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu while the Israeli leader is in the States to attend the opening sessions of the United Nations, arguing it sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends.” In a perceived blow-back to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s now celebrated comment criticizing those who “refuse to draw redlines for Iran” and therefore “place red lights before Israel,”  President Obama said his security decisions are based on “what’ s right for the American people…and I’m going to block any noise that’s out there.”