Obama Says US Commitment to Israel "Unshakeable"

WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama pledged his support for the security and prosperity of Israel tonight at a celebration for the 60th anniversary of the state's independence. "It's a friendship rooted in shared interests, shared values, and shared history among our people," Obama said. "It is supported by a strong and bipartisan consensus in this country that I have been proud to be a part of. And it will withstand any challenge to Israel – because America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable."

American Jews are an important demographic for Obama. Last night, John McCain told Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" that Hamas, which is the ruling political party in Palestine and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., endorsed Obama. Obama has called McCain's comments about Hamas support "offensive."

The well dressed crowd gave the loudest round of applause when Obama referenced the "abiding friendship" between the United States and Israel. He also praised Zionist Theodore Herzl and President Harry Truman, who "recognized that America shared fundamental values with this new democracy, and that Israel's independence was hard-earned."

Obama spoke for just over seven minutes on a stage which featured the Star of David and the Stars and Stripes on either side of the podium. He praised Israel as "a strong and vibrant democracy," yet acknowledged the challenges the young state has had, and continues, to face. He also acknowledged that the friendship between both countries exists in part because of the Diaspora, "the millions of Jewish immigrants who sought opportunity on America's shores; in the liberation of those awful Nazi death camps in World War II; and in the courageous stance of an American president 60 years ago this week."