WASHINGTON (JTA) — Vice President Joe Biden said that "no president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s security than Barack Obama."
Biden delivered an attack Thursday on the foreign policies of Mitt Romney, the likely GOP candidate for president, a day after a top Romney surrogate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), had launched a broadside against Obama’s foreign policies. The exchange was seen as the launch of the 2012 general election season.
Taking aim at claims by Rubio and others that Obama had not done enough to isolate Iran and support Israel, Biden outlined increases in defense assistance to Israel under the Obama administration.
"We funded what’s referred to as the Iron Dome, a missile defense system that recently intercepted in those rockets coming out of Gaza, nearly 80 percent of the rockets fired from Gaza just a few weeks ago, saving homes, schools, hospitals and the men, women and children who inhabit them," Biden told an audience at New York University.
"We’re collaborating right now and have been on longer range missile defense systems like Arrow and David’s Sling, and tying Israel into our early warning radar system," he continued. "The U.S. and Israel’s top political, defense, and security intelligence officers are engaged in the most consistent, comprehensive consultations ever."
Biden also noted a joint exercise planned for the autumn and Obama’s defense of Israel at the United Nations.
Romney and his team have charged that Obama has lagged behind European allies in stepping up sanctions on Iran.
Biden countered that the Obama administration’s strategy of first rallying international support was more effective in isolating Iran.
"Iran is more isolated and the international community more united in their effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon than ever before," he said. "Tehran has deep difficulties acquiring equipment and technology for its nuclear and missile program. It’s increasingly cut off from the international financial system, unable to do the most basic business transactions."