Ayalon: I won’t retract

In his controversial op-ed in the Jerusalem Post last month, former Israeli Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon had this to say about Barack Obama:

As far as Israel is concerned, Obama has yet to suggest specific measures he would enact regarding the Jewish State’s Qualitative Military Edge that allows us to defend ourselves against our current and future enemies.

In fact, as the Obama campaign points out, Obama has been specific – more than once. Here’s what he told AIPAC in March 2007:

At the same time, we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing to work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs. This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza.

Obama’s position paper (PDF) on Israel, released over the summer, reiterates the point.

Ayalon concedes that he hadn’t read the AIPAC speech when he wrote the op-ed, but no matter. His point still holds, he says, because Obama has said he would negotiate with Iran, but hasn’t said what exactly he would negotiate about. Without that knowledge, it’s impossible to know how we would preserve Israel’s military edge.

“The QME is not just by counting bullets,” Ayalon said. “It’s also about a strategic approach to the Mideast.”

See full JTA story on this here.

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