President Barack Obama “has been a deep, deep ally” of Israel and has taken unprecedented steps to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Israel’s Channel 2 on Tuesday as the US elections entered their decisive stage.
In an interview in Chicago, the president’s Jewish former White House chief of staff expressed his support for the president, who knew that this would be “a tough election and a tight election.” At this point, Emanuel said, Obama could only “make sure that the voters that you know want to support the president show up and vote, since every vote’s going to count.”
He detailed the president’s recent track record, which demonstrated why he should be reelected. Emanuel pointed at Obama’s “leadership, judgment, and his ability to move the government to come and help” the beleaguered areas of New York and New Jersey following last week’s superstorm.
Emanuel also cited the creation of 150,000 auto industry jobs in the battleground state of Ohio during Obama’s first presidential term.
“The people of Ohio know that the president stood by them,” he said.
Regarding Israel, Emanuel posited that, if reelected, Obama would continue his “unwavering commitment” to Israel, mentioning the president’s extensive military cooperation and coordination with Jerusalem.
“There’s been no better friend for the State of Israel,” he said. “He has never allowed the isolation of Israel to happen on his watch.”
Despite arguments to the contrary, Emanuel said, Obama has taken unprecedented steps towards isolating Iran and preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons by levying international economic sanctions.
“That coalition that was put together internationally was done by one person, the president of the United States,” the mayor said, pointing out the fact that such measures were not in place four years ago, before Obama was elected to office, and that they’ve had a devastating effect.
Speaking “as a colleague and friend,” Emanuel said Obama’s “commitment to the security of Israel is felt,” and that “on every level he’s been a deep, deep ally of Israel.”
He predicted the same “patterns” of behavior regarding Israel in a second term, and brushed away the interviewer’s suggestion that Obama might prove impatient with the Netanyahu government and would pressure it more. He also would not be drawn on a question as to whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been overly friendly and supportive of Republican candidate Mitt Romney.