Obama: I gave Israel more military aid than anyone

Former president defends his actions vis-a-vis Israel in speech before Reform synagogue in New York.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Former U.S. President Barack Obama this week addressed a Reform synagogue in New York City, telling the audience that he would joke with his staff that he was “basically a liberal Jew.”

In the speech, which was held at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side this past Wednesday, the former president insisted he was not anti-Israel, telling the audience his administration gave Israel more military aid than any other previous administration.

“It is not a subject for dispute,” Obama said in comments quoted by The Daily Mail.

The former president also defended his decision not to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, and which was approved in December of 2016, weeks before he left office.

Obama said he allowed the resolution to go forward because “the pace of [Israeli] settlement construction skyrocketed making it almost impossible to make any kind of Palestinian state.”

“Voting against the resolution would have damaged our credibility on affirming human rights only when it's convenient not when it has to do with ourselves and our friends,” Obama further claimed, according to The Daily Mail.

While Israeli officials criticized Obama for choosing to abstain and allowing the resolution to pass, the former president insisted in the past that his actions did not trigger a significant crisis in relations with Israel.

In his comments at the synagogue, Obama opined that domestic politics in the U.S. makes it hard to speak truths about Israel.

“To be a true friend of Israel it is important to be honest about it, and the politics of this country sometimes do not allow for it,” Obama said.

According to The Daily Mail, tickets for the event, which went on sale for $225 each in September, sold out within an hour. Obama's appearance was one of the few public appearances he has made in the year since he officially left office.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)