For four years, many of President Obama’s Republican critics have condemned the White House for being insufficiently supportive of Israel. Indeed, throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney and his allies routinely attacked the president on this, running ads complaining about Obama and Israel, even accusing the president of throwing Israel “under the bus.”
Barack Obama will receive one of Israel’s most prestigious honours during his upcoming visit to the Middle East. On Monday, the office of the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, announced that Obama will be given the presidential medal of distinction in March.
A statement said that the honour recognised Obama’s “unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens”.
Peres’ statement added, “Barack Obama is a true friend of the State of Israel, and has been since the beginning of his public life.”
Making matters slightly worse for Republican talking points, it’s also worth noting that Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to receive the honor.
I don’t imagine Obama’s trip to Israel next month will produce any policy breakthroughs, but he certainly won’t return home empty handed.