"Most of the pro-Israel community is now convinced that when President Obama says he will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, he means it," said Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.). He cited a litany of muscular actions, including SEAL raids on Osama bin Laden and Somali kidnappers, drone strikes around the world, and a shift of American military assets toward Iran, which he said have "for the moment given pause to those who wondered about the president's mettle in using force against America's and Israel's enemies."By the way, a Boltonesque "full-measure" re: Iran would be shooting an Iranian nuclear scientist, burying him, then digging him up and shooting him again.
The shift has had consequences through Democratic politics. Rothman, redistricted into a tough primary with Rep. Bill Pascrell, is seeking to draw a contrast based on Rothman's hawkishly pro-Israel record.
That's no longer a position that would put him in conflict with the popular Democratic president.
"Constituents and relatives who were otherwise regularly calling to inquire whether the president really felt the need to protect Israel in his guts are not now calling me so much with those kinds of questions," he said.
Indeed, the targeted actions against Iran - and in particular the assassinations of civilian scientists, for which the U.S. has not taken credit - have made it difficult to make the case that Obama is being insufficiently ruthless in his approach. (Difficult, but not impossible: Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton recently described assassinations as "half-measures.")
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