Obama set to defend policies on Israel

President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

President Barack Obama is fighting back against Republicans who claim he is not fully supporting Israel, saying the efforts by his opponents are playing politics with the volatile middle east.

Still, Obama is treading politically-sensitive waters Sunday when he tried to defend his differences with the Jewish state over Iran’s nuclear program in a speech before Israel’s primary lobbying group in America.

He also faces a tense meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday.

“The President is walking a political tightrope,” political scientist Andrew Gallimore tells Capitol Hill Blue. “Anything perceived as less than 100 percent support for Israel is dangerous.”

Obama insists he backs Israel without hesitation and has done so consistently during his time in office, but he does admit policy differences. In a magazine interview last week, he claimed his Republican rivals ignore that record.

Israel insists it has the right to, and will, take out Iran’s nuclear power plant if it feels the country is using it to develop weapons.

Obama urges caution and that is the kind of disagreement with Israel that can get a President in hot water.

(c) Copyright 2012 Capitol Hill Blue

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