February 29th, 2012
02:33 PM ET
Washington (CNN) – This may be a first. Ahead of the AIPAC meeting in Washington this weekend, the Democratic National Committee is pre-butting any Republican attacks on the President's position on Israel.
They're doing so by sending the Jewish press, activists and the general media a video featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in May of 2011, "President Obama spoke about his ironclad commitment to Israel's security. He rightly said that our security cooperation is unprecedented and he has backed those words with deeds."
It would seem the video is intended to buffer the President from Republican accusations that his policy on Iran has been too weak. In the course of the campaign Mitt Romney has said that if the President is re-elected Iran will have a nuclear bomb and Rick Santorum accused the President of actively allowing Iran to get a nuclear weapon.
In a statement DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse claims "never have more Republicans been as nakedly political about the US-Israeli relationship and not surprisingly they are deliberately lying about the President's record for nothing than more than pure politics." He calls it "reprehensible" and adds "it's going to backfire."
It features video clips from when then-Senator Obama toured Israel and newspaper clips showing $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel. Obama has yet to visit the country as President.
Why does all this matter so much? The Jewish vote is only a tiny portion of the overall electorate, and it's largely Democratic-leaning.
The issue comes to the fore amid continued advances in Iran's nuclear program and intensified speculation of a pre-emptive strike by Israel to set the program back.
On the politics – the President's position on Iran first became an issue during the 2008 campaign when he said he'd be willing to meet with US enemies. And although he's never met with the Iranian leader, Republicans still bring this up to accuse the president of appeasement and question his leadership.
The President will address the American Israeli Policy Conference this Sunday. He meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday.
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