Being here today, I am reminded of a passage in Isaiah: “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night, they shall never be silent.”
President Harry Truman certainly understood the importance of Israel. He recognized the new nation just 11 minutes after David Ben-Gurion read the proclamation of independence.
Today I want to lay out three principles that I hope will guide us in all that we do with Israel.
First, I have a bedrock commitment to Israel’s security because Israel’s security is critical to our security.
We must continue to demand a return of the Israeli soldiers captured by Hamas and by Hezbollah - Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, Gilad Shalit.
The second principle is a simple one: no nuclear weapons for Iran.
We should start by developing an international consensus against Iran’s nuclear program with a set of tougher sanctions if Iran continues to defy the international community. We should also work with Israel and moderate Arab neighbors to roll back Iran’s influence in that region. If the Iranian government wants to become a responsible member of the international community, we would wholeheartedly welcome that change but Iran simply cannot be allowed to continue its current behavior and I wish to underscore I believe that we are further behind in constraining Iran today because of the failed policies of President Bush than we would have been had we taken a much more aggressive engagement course earlier. That is why it is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late.
Now my third principle is standing up against hatred and anti-Semitism wherever it is found.
I have spoken out for years against anti-Semitism in Palestinian schools. I am appalled, still today, the Palestinian textbooks reject Israel’s right to exist and describe Israel’s founding as a catastrophe that’s unprecedented in history. That is not education, it is indoctrination.
To the members of AIPAC, just know your cause is just, your voice is strong. Washington and the world is listening. So go forth and speak up for what you know is right.