Trying to convince Jewish leaders that American support for Israel would be safe on his watch, the Texas governor drew a distinction between “foreign aid” and “strategic defensive aid.”
Perry raised eyebrows at a debate last month when he called for zeroing out foreign aid and then restoring it on a case-by-case basis.
“There have been questions asked. … I want to clear something up while I have your attention here today,” he said at the Republican Jewish Coalition candidate forum. “Israel is our strategic ally. … Strategic defensive aid is what we will continue to be focused on.”
“Strategic defensive aid, strategic aid in all forms, will increase to Israel,” he added, calling Israel “the cornerstone of my larger global strategy.”
He warned direly that Iran is marching unimpeded toward nuclear weapons and that an Israeli strike is increasingly the only option left to avoid a nuclear regime. Crediting the Israelis for “taking out the nuclear capabilities” of Iraq in 1981, he said it “made the free world safer.”
“And yet President Obama systematically undermines that relationship with Israel,” said Perry.
“Israel will face terrible reprisals from Iran … so the military option is not one Israel will take easily or lightly,” he added, stressing that the U.S. should offer guarantee supply chain and “vocal, unerring moral support” in the face of international commendation.
American foreign policy to the country has become “an incoherent mess,” he said.
“They’ve emboldened our adversaries by isolating our allies,” he said.
Perry reiterated his support for a Palestinian state, “but it should be the Palestinians who meet certain preconditions,” including recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state