Israel Political Brief March 3, 2013: Michael Oren at AIPAC forum makes appeal for pro-Israel outreach

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Oren at AIPAC forum makes appeal for pro-Israel outreach

Source: JTA, 3-3-13

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, opened the annual AIPAC policy conference with an appeal for pro-Israel outreach to African-Americans, Latinos and Muslims….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 3, 2013: AIPAC policy conference opens

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AIPAC policy conference opens

Source: Washington Post (blog) , 3-3-13

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) began its annual policy conference this morning with an appearance by Israel’s ambassador, Michael Oren, and a panel with former Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and former deputy national security….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 3, 2013: Live Blogging: Annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC Policy Conference 2013

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LIVE: Annual AIPAC Policy Conference 2013

Source: Jerusalem Post, 3-3-13

Jerusalem Post’s living blogging includes  live video and Twitter coverage of AIPAC’s policy conference, featuring Netanyahu, Barak, Biden and more….READ MORE

AIPAC Policy Conference 2013

The AIPAC Policy Conference is the pro-Israel community’s preeminent annual gathering. The event attracts more than 10,000 community and student activists from all 50 states, and more than half of the Senate, a third of the House of Representatives and countless Israeli and American policymakers and thought leaders. Over three jam-packed days, Policy Conference participants choose from hundreds of informative sessions and participate in the pro-Israel community’s largest and most important advocacy day.

 

AIPAC 2013 Schedule

Saturday, March 2, 2013

3:00 PM

Registration and AIPAC Village Open

Sunday, March 3, 2013

9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Opening General Session

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Breakout Session 1

2:15 PM – 4:30 PM

Breakout Session 2

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Afternoon General Session

Monday, March 4, 2013

9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Monday Morning General Session

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Club Member Lunches

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Breakout Session 3

2:15 PM – 4:30 PM

Breakout Session 4

4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

Regional Lobbying Training

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Club Member Receptions

8:30 PM – 10:30 PM

Gala Event

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Tuesday Morning General Session

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Lobbying Appointments

 

Confirmed Speakers

Featured Speakers

  • The Honorable Joe Biden Vice President of the United States of America
  • The Honorable Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli Prime Minister – live via satellite
  • The Honorable Ehud Barak Israeli Defense Minister
  • The Honorable John Baird Canadian Foreign Minister
  • The Honorable Eric Cantor (R-VA) Majority Leader, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable John Cornyn (R-TX) Republican Whip, United States Senate
  • The Honorable Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Democratic Whip, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Member, Armed Services Committee, United States Senate
  • The Honorable John McCain (R-AZ) Member, Armed Services Committee, United States Senate
  • The Honorable Robert Menendez (D-NJ) Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee United States Senate
  • The Honorable Marcia Fudge (D-OH) Chairwoman, Congressional Black Caucus, United States House of Representatives
  • Ambassador Dennis Ross Counselor, The Washington Institute For Near East Policy
  • Elliott Abrams Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies Council on Foreign Relations

Ambassadors

  • Ambassador Yehuda Avner, Former Advisor to Israel’s Prime Ministers; Former Israeli Ambassador to Australia and the United Kingdom
  • Ambassador Dan Benjamin, Norman E. McCullogh Director, John Sloan Dickey Center for Understanding, Dartmouth College
  • Ambassador Barukh Binah Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Israel to the United States
  • Ambassador Marc Ginsberg, Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco
  • Ambassador Brad Gordon, Director, Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC
  • Ambassador Fred Hof, Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Council; Former Special Representative on Syria, United States Department of State
  • Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff, Deputy Director General for Strategic Affairs, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ambassador Michael Oren*, Ambassador of Israel to the United States
  • Ambassador Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
  • Ambassador Dennis Ross, Counselor, The Washington Institute For Near East Policy; Former National Security Council Senior Director for the Central Region
  • Ambassador Kristen Silverberg, President, United Against Nuclear Iran; Former United States Ambassador to the European Union
  • Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States
  • Ambassador Daniel Taub, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, State of Israel to the Court of St. James

 

Members of Congress

  • The Honorable Shelley Berkley, Former Member, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Leader, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable John Cornyn (R-TX), Republican Whip, United States Senate
  • The Honorable Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Vice Chair, Democratic Caucus; Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Ted Cruz (R-TX), Member, Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate
  • The Honorable Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Chairwoman, Congressional Black Caucus, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Democratic Whip, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Peter King (R-NY), Chairman, Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee, United States Senate
  • The Honorable Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives
  • The Honorable Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rannking Member, Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, United States House of Representatives

Israel Political Brief February 26, 2013: No President Obama or PM Benjamin Netanyau, but AIPAC conference still looking to make noise

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No Obama or Bibi, but AIPAC conf. still looking to make noise

Source: JTA, 2-26-13

President Obama, shown addressing the AIPAC policy conference in Washington in March 2012, will not be attending this year's conference for the second time in his presidency.  (Robert J. Saferstein)

President Obama, shown addressing the AIPAC policy conference in Washington in March 2012, will not be attending this year’s conference for the second time in his presidency. (Robert J. Saferstein)

Next week’s annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington may be as notable for what — and who — is missing as what’s planned.

For the first time in at least seven years, neither the U.S. president nor the Israeli prime minister will attend. In addition, for the second year in a row, no mention of the Palestinians, negative or positive, appears on the conference’s legislative agenda….READ MORE

Israel Brief July 17, 2012: In Christian Version of AIPAC Conference, CUFI Conference Draws 5,600 to Washington for Pro-Israel Lobbying

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In Christian version of AIPAC conference, CUFI draws 5,600 to Washington for pro-Israel lobbying

Source: JTA, 7-17-12

Despite its pro-Israel voice, many Jews remain wary of Christians United for Israel and its evangelical adherents….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 7, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on Return to Israel from Canada & US Trip

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Return to Israel from Canada and the US:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned a short while ago today from his visit to Canada, where he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the US, where he met with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense US and members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Upon landing, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I return from a very important visit to the US and Canada. I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends. We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”

Video: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Return to Israel from Canada and the US

Netanyahu says Israel’s friends will stand by her

Source: JTA, 3-7-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has “many courageous friends.”

In remarks after landing in Israel following a visit to Canada and the United States, Netanyahu said, “I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends.”

“We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their own fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”

On his North American visit, Netanyahu met with President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

At his meeting with Obama on Monday, Netanyahu reportedly gave the U.S. leader a copy of the book of Esther. The leaders’ talks reportedly centered on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidates slam President Barack Obama on Iran in AIPAC Speeches

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Republican White House hopefuls slam Obama on Iran

Source: AFP, 3-6-12

Republican White House hopefuls told Israel’s supporters Tuesday that they would take tougher steps than US President Barack Obama to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Frontrunner Mitt Romney suggested he would be more willing than Obama to consider using military force while Rick Santorum backed an ultimatum demanding Iran stop nuclear production to avoid action by the US to “tear down” its facilities.

Newt Gingrich, a long-shot for president, told the Washington gathering he would back everything short of war to “undermine and replace” the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…. READ MORE

Prior to the Republican speeches, US Democratic Senator Carl Levin warned AIPAC delegates against those who might use the issue of how to provide security to Israel, the top US ally in the Middle East, for partisan gain.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Secretary of Dense Leon Panetta’s Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference 2012 — US-Israel Partnership Will Become Closer

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Panetta: U.S.-Israel Partnership Will Become Closer

Source: American Forces Press Service, DOD, 3-6-12

Defense cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is already close, and it will get closer as both countries face the threats of the future, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta delivers remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., March 6, 2012. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Panetta spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee here and said the United States and Israel will work closely together in the face of the dangers that confront both countries.

“The security bonds between Israel and the United States will only grow as America goes through a historic turning point after a decade of war,” he said.

In fact, defense cooperation will grow even with U.S. defense budget reductions. Panetta delivered “an ironclad pledge” that the United States will provide whatever support is necessary so Israel maintains military superiority over any state or coalition of states, as well as non-state actors, in the region.

“Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged wars against it,” he said. “The Israeli people have been subjected to rocket attacks, to terrorism, and they live in a world where larger nations have threatened to wipe them off the map.”

Supporting Israel is the right thing to do and isin America’s best interests, Panetta said.

“We have no better ally in this critical region of the world,” he said. “A strong Israel deters potential aggressors. A strong Israel sends a message to the region and to the world that America will not waver in defense of our allies.”

The U.S. has increased security assistance to Israel substantially. This year, the budget calls for $31 billion in assistance to the nation, up from $2.5 billion in fiscal 2009.

“This is part of a 10-year, $30 billion commitment to Israel’s security,” Panetta said. “Over and above this commitment, the President has committed more than $650 million in DOD funding for Israeli missile defense.”

The U.S. is working with Israel to develop an anti-missile system to address the threat from all levels. The system will deal with short-range defense to counter the continued threat of rocket barrages from Gaza. The United States provided more than $200 million for the Iron Dome rocket defense system.

“Iron Dome is fielded, it is operational, and this new system has already saved the lives of Israeli civilians with over 30 real world successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 2011,” Panetta said.

The two nations are also working on medium range missile defense, developing David’s Sling, and upper tier ballistic missile defense with the Arrow-3 system.

“We are also working to upgrade Israel’s Patriot missile system and batteries,” he said. “We are committed to moving forward with all of these systems and more — because as the Prime Minister told me — these missile shields do not start wars, they prevent wars.”

The secretary noted the Israeli air force will receive the world’s most sophisticated warplane — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“The F-35 is the future of tactical aviation for the United States military, and providing Israel with this advanced fighter makes it the only country in the Middle East with a true fifth-generation fighter capacity, upholding Israel’s edge not just now but for many years to come,” the secretary said.

The two militaries will not only share equipment, but also operational concepts. U.S. and Israeli service members will build greater capability and improve partnership through realistic exercises, joint training and personnel exchanges, Panetta said.

“Each year, U.S. and Israeli forces take part in numerous exercises,” he said. One example is missile defense exercise Austere Challenge that this year will include more than 3,000 U.S. troops.

“This kind of cooperation is mutually beneficial to both the United States and Israel. It has made both of our militaries stronger,” Panetta said.

The secretary pointed out that cooperation is not just a one-way street. It was an Israeli company that met the call to help protect American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan by surging production of up-armor kits for Humvees and mine-resistant vehicles.

“The kits were made in an Israeli kibbutz, and they saved the lives of our men and women in uniform,” Panetta said.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Leon Panetta’s AIPAC Speech: When all else fails, the U.S. will act against Iran

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Panetta: When all else fails, the U.S. will act against Iran

Speaking at the AIPAC conference in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Defense says Israel, United States are stronger when they ‘work together’ to ensure Israel’s security.

Source: Haaretz, 3-6-12

When all else fails the U.S. will “act against Iran,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said at the AIPAC conference on Tuesday, adding that Washington and Jerusalem were stronger when “working together.”

Panetta’s address to the pro-Israel U.S. lobby came following appearances by President Shimon Peres, U.S. President Barack Obama, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all of whom addressed Israel’s concerns regarding the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program.

Leon Panetta - Reuters - 6/3/2012 Leon Panetta addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington, March 6, 2012.
Photo by: Reuters

On Monday, Netanyahu called on the international community to acknowledge the fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, saying that, “amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons.”

“You see, Iran claims that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical research. Yeah, right,” he said, adding: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it? That’s right, it’s a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck and it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck.”

Addressing AIPAC on Tuesday, Panetta referred to the possibility of taking military action against Iran, saying that “when all else fails we will act against Iran.”

Leon Panetta - Reuters U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Photo by: Reuters

“The U.S. must always have the unshakable trust of Israel,” the defense secretary said, referring to Israeli concerns regarding the timing of an attack against Iran, saying that the two states were “stronger when we act as one and when we work together for the security of Israel.”

Panetta, however, reiterated the American stance on Iran, giving precedence to diplomatic pressure and sanctions, saying that the U.S. wanted “diplomacy to work, but we will keep all options including military ones on the table.”…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s Speech / Remarks to AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference 2012 — Transcript

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Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks to AIPAC Policy Conference

Source: Mitt Romney, 3-6-12

romney-2012-blog-photo-mitt-speech-podium.jpg
Thank you for the opportunity to address the AIPAC Policy Conference. And thanks to Teddy and Ed, who have been great friends, supporters, and teachers over the years.
I regret that my Super Tuesday travel schedule prevents me from being with you in person. But while I can’t be with you, I stand with you. I share your commitment to a strong and secure Israel. And I salute your tireless work to strengthen our alliance.
This year, we are gathering at a dangerous time for Israel and for America. Not since the dark days of 1967 and 1973 has the Middle East faced peril as it does today. This is a critical moment. America must not – and, if I am President, it will not – fail this defining test of history.
The current administration has distanced itself from Israel and visibly warmed to the Palestinian cause. It has emboldened the Palestinians. They are convinced that they can do better at the UN – and better with America – than they can at the bargaining table with Israel.
As President, I will treat our allies and friends like friends and allies.
In recent days and weeks, we’ve heard a lot of words from the administration. Its clear message has been to warn Israel to consider the costs of military action against Iran. I do not believe that we should be issuing public warnings that create distance between the United States and Israel. Israel does not need public lectures about how to weigh decisions of war and peace. It needs our support.
Israel’s democratically elected leaders will always be welcomed and respected by my administration. Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend; he’s an old friend. We worked together over 30 years ago at the Boston Consulting Group. He is a leader whose intellect and courage I admire – and whose family’s sacrifice I profoundly respect. In a Romney administration, there will be no gap between our nations or between our leaders.
I have seen Israel by land and by air. I have seen its narrow waist, and its vulnerability to positions on the Golan Heights. I have spent time with families in Sderot who have been terrorized by rocket barrages from Gaza. I have walked the streets of Jerusalem, seen schools pocked by rifle rounds fired from the foreboding hills that nearly surround it. I would never call for a return to the ’67 lines because I understand that in Israel, geography is security.
I have studied the writings and speeches of the jihadists. They argue for a one-state solution—one all-dominating radical Islamist state, that is. Their objective is not freedom, not prosperity, not a Palestinian state, but the destruction of Israel. And negotiating and placating such jihadists will never, ever yield peace in the Middle East.
I recognize in the ayatollahs of Iran the zealot refrain of dominion. Their passion for the martyrdom of Arab youth is matched only by their cowardice in avoiding it for themselves. Nuclear ambition is pursued by Iran to dominate, to subjugate, and to obliterate. A nuclear Iran is not only a problem for Israel; it is also a problem for America and the world.
We may not know when Iran will secure sufficient fissile material to threaten the world, but the IAEA warns that that the hour is fast approaching.
In the Gulf, Iran prepares to close the Strait of Hormuz, to hold hostage 20 percent of the world’s oil. In their nuclear laboratories, they prepare the means to hold hostage the entire planet.
Iran has long engaged in terrorism around the world, most recently in Georgia and in Thailand. In Washington, DC, Iran plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador by bombing a Georgetown restaurant. Iran has deployed Hezbollah and Hamas and armed the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan, killing our sons and daughters. They war against America.
Yet, the current administration has promoted a policy of engagement with Iran. The President offered to sit down with Ahmadinejad during his first year in office without preconditions. He sat silent as Iranian dissidents took to the streets of Tehran, not wanting to disrupt the potential opportunity for dialogue with Iran’s fanatical tyrants. This President not only dawdled in imposing crippling sanctions, he has opposed them.
Hope is not a foreign policy. The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.
Of course, the administration’s naïve outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most. It gave them time. Whatever sanctions they may now belatedly impose, Iran has already gained three invaluable years.
There are some in this administration who argue that Iran’s leaders are “rational,” and that we can do business with them. The President speaks of common interests. Let me be clear: we do not have common interests with a terrorist regime. Their interest is in the destruction of Israel and the domination of the Middle East. It is profoundly irrational to suggest that the ayatollahs think the way we do or share our values. They do not.
I will bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end. I will not delay in imposing further crippling sanctions, and I will not hesitate to fully implement the ones we currently have. I will make sure Iran knows of the very real peril that awaits if it becomes nuclear. I will engage Iran’s neighbors. I will station multiple carriers and warships at Iran’s door. I will stand with the Syrian people who are being mercilessly slaughtered. I know that the fall of Assad would not only be an important victory for liberty, but also a strategic blow to Tehran.
As President, I will be ready to engage in diplomacy. But I will be just as ready to engage our military might. Israel will know that America stands at its side, in all conditions and in all consequence.
Of course, American strength abroad depends upon our strength at home. My economic plans will buttress our capacity to project power. And as President, I will repair and strengthen our military. President Obama wants to shrink our Navy, our Air Force, and our contingent of fighting men and women. I will expand them. A military in retreat invites adventurism by the world’s worst actors, just as we are seeing today. A strong and superior military is the best ally peace has ever known. I do not seek military superiority solely for the purpose of winning wars. I seek it to prevent wars.
As President, peace will be my solemn goal. A peace based not on empty assurances, but on true security and defensible borders. This will require American strength, and a demonstration of our resolve. That’s why, as President, my first foreign trip will not be to Cairo or Riyadh or Ankara. It will be to Jerusalem.
We will make clear to the world that Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state is a vital national interest of the United States.
I believe the right course is what Ronald Reagan called “peace through strength.” There is a reason why the Iranians released the hostages on the same day and at the same hour that Reagan was sworn into office. As President, I will offer that kind of clarity, strength, and resolve.
In a Romney administration, the world will know that the bond between Israel and America is unbreakable – and that our opposition to a nuclear Iran is absolute. We must not allow Iran to have the bomb or the capacity to make a bomb. Our enemies should never doubt our resolve and our allies should never doubt our commitment.
This is a critical time, and AIPAC has a vital voice. Together, let’s achieve peace for the region and ensure a secure future for Israel – and America.
God bless America, and God bless our friendship with Israel.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Newt Gingrich to President Barack Obama in AIPAC Speech: Deliver ‘Red Line’ Ultimatum to Iran

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Gingrich to Obama: Deliver ‘Red Line’ Ultimatum to Iran

Source: WSJ, 3-6-12

Newt Gingrich joined other Republican presidential candidates Tuesday in attacking President Barack Obama’s policy toward Iran, suggesting the president has not delivered a sufficient “red line” ultimatum to Iran’s leaders.

Newt Gingrich, appearing via satellite, speaks before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“The red line is not the morning the bomb goes off, or the morning our intelligence committee tells us they’ve failed once again,” Mr. Gingrich said. “The red line is now. Because the Iranians now are deepening their fortifications …deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons, while we talk.”

In a characteristic flourish, Mr. Gingrich also made the broader case to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby, that the Obama administration, along with the entire State Department and intelligence community, completely miss the scope and nature of Islamic radicalism.

“We need a fundamental reassessment of our entire understanding of the threat of radical Islam,” Mr. Gingrich told the AIPAC convention in Washington. “We need an administration with the courage to use the words ‘radical Islam.’ ”

He added, “We need to be clear that the teaching of hatred, the recruitment of martyrs, the anticipation that children will grow up to be martyrs are not patterns compatible with a peace process.”…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum’s Speech / Remarks to AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference 2012 — Transcript Excerpts

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Rick Santorum delivers remarks at the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference (AFP, Karen Bleier)

Santorum at AIPAC: “If Iran Doesn’t Get Rid of Nuclear Facilities, We’ll Tear Them Down Ourselves”

Source: Rick Santorum, 3-6-12

On this all-important Super Tuesday, Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum stepped away from the campaign trail to personally address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, DC regarding the vital national security threat facing both the United States and Israel.

In his speech, Santorum said:

“This is a somewhat important day in my life today, but I wanted to come off the campaign trail to come here, because one of the reasons that I decided to run for president is because of the grave concern I have about the security of our country.”

“A nuclear Iran with a nuclear shield to project terror around the world is a nightmare for all freedom-loving people in the world.

“If Iran doesn’t get rid of nuclear facilities, we will tear down them ourselves.”

“This is not bellicosity and warmongering, this is preventing the most radical regime in the world from having a weapon that could fundamentally change the security posture” of “all freedom-loving people in the world.”

“Under a Santorum Administration, we would find no gap between Israel and the United States because our interests are united.”

“I’ve seen a president who has been reticent, he says he has Israel’s back. From everything I’ve seen from the conduct of this administration, he has turned his back on the people of Israel.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference 2012 — Transcript

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Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference, 2012

6 March, 2012

Thank you. Todah rabah.

Thank you very much.

Sara and I want to thank you for that wonderful reception. This applause that could be heard as far away as Jerusalem .  Jerusalem – the eternal and united capital of Israel.

Thank you Howard, Rosy, Michael, and thank you all the leadership of AIPAC.  Thank you for everything that you do.

I know that more than a half of the members of Congress are in attendance here tonight.  I deeply appreciate your being here.

Michael, you said that when I spoke last May, in Congress, you – the members of congress – stood up to applaud the State of Israel.

Now I ask for another applause.  Now I ask the 13,000 friends of Israel who are here tonight to stand up and applaud you – the representatives of the United States for standing up for Israel.  Democrats and Republicans alike, I salute your unwavering support to the Jewish state

I want to send a special message to a great friend of Israel who is not here tonight:  Senator Mark Kirk, the co-author of the Kirk-Menendez Iran Sanctions Act.

Senator Kirk, I know you’re watching this tonight.  Please get well soon.  America needs you;  Israel needs you.

I send you wishes for a speedy recovery.  So get well and get back to work.

I also want to recognize Yossi Peled, who is here tonight.  Yossi, would you please stand up.

Yossi was born in Belgium.  His parents hid him with a Christian family during the Holocaust, World War II.  His father and many other members of his family were murdered at Auschwitz.

His mother survived the Holocaust, returned to reclaim Yossi, and brought him to Israel.  He became one of Israel’s bravest and greatest generals.  And today, he serves as a minister in my cabinet.

Yossi’s life is the story of the Jewish people – the story of a powerless and stateless people who became a strong and proud  nation, able to defend itself.

And ladies and gentlemen, Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.

I want to recognize Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.  Michael, you’re doing an outstanding job.  Thank you for all you do for our country.  And thank you for everything you are doing for the friendship between Israel and the United States.

I also want to recognize Ambassador Dan Shapiro, the United States’ Ambassador to Israel.  President Obama is right, your Hebrew is improving, though it is not on par with Michael Oren’s.  Dan, we appreciate your efforts to strengthen the alliance between America and Israel.

Are there any students here tonight?

Is there anyone here from Florida?

from New York?

from Wisconsin?  — that’s important. I’ll tell you about it later

from California?

You’re the future, and thank you all for ensuring the future of the great alliance between America and Israel.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tonight, I’d like to talk to you about a subject that no one has been talking about recently…: Iran.

Every day, I open the newspapers and read about these redlines and these timelines.  I read about what Israel has supposedly decided to do, or what Israel might do.

Well, I’m not going to talk to you about what Israel will do or will not do, I never talk about that.  But I do want to talk to you about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran.  I want to explain why Iran must never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

President Obama has reiterated his commitment to prevent that from happening.  He stated clearly that all options are on the table,   and that American policy is not containment.

Well, Israel has exactly the same policy — We are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; we leave all options on the table; and containment is definitely not an option.

The Jewish state will not allow those who seek our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal.

A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped.

Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons.  You see, Iran claims to do everything it’s doing, that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical isotopes.

Yeah, that’s  right.

A country that builds underground nuclear facilities,  develops intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactures thousands of centrifuges, and that absorbs crippling sanctions,  is doing all that in order to advance…medical research.

So you see, when that Iranian ICBM is flying through the air to a location near you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.  It’s only carrying medical isotopes.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it?

That’s right, it’s a duck.  But this duck is a nuclear duck.  And it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck.

Fortunately, President Obama and most world leaders understand that the claim that Iran’s goal is not to develop nuclear weapons is simply ridiculous.

Yet incredibly, some are prepared to accept an idea only slightly less preposterous: that we should accept a world in which the Ayatollahs have atomic bombs.

Sure, they say, Iran is cruel, but it’s not crazy.   It’s detestable but it’s deterrable.

My friends,

Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the belief that the world’s most dangerous regimes won’t use the world’s most dangerous weapons.

And I promise you that as Prime Minister, I will never gamble with the security of the State of Israel.

From the beginning, the Ayatollah regime has broken every international rule and flouted every norm.  It has seized embassies, targeted diplomats.  It sends its own children through mine fields; it hangs gays and stones women; it supports Assad’s brutal slaughter of the Syrian people; it is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism: It sponsors Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa, even South America.

Iran’s proxies have dispatched hundreds of suicide bombers, planted thousands of roadside bombs, and they fired over twenty thousand missiles at civilians.

Through terror from the skies and terror on the ground, Iran is responsible for the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans.

In 1983, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 240 US Marines.  In the last decade, it’s been responsible for murdering and maiming American soldiers in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

Just a few months ago, it tried to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US in a restaurant just a few blocks from here.  The assassins didn’t care that several Senators and members of Congress would have been murdered in the process.

Now this is real chutzpa, Iran accuses the American government of orchestrating 9/11, and that’s as brazen as denying the Holocaust, and they do…

Iran calls for Israel’s destruction, and they work for its destruction – each day, every day

This is how Iran behaves today, without nuclear weapons.  Think of how they will behave tomorrow, with nuclear weapons.  Iran will be even more reckless and a lot more dangerous.

There’s been plenty of talk recently about the costs of stopping Iran.  I think it’s time we started talking about the costs of not stopping Iran.

A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically increase terrorism by giving terrorists a nuclear umbrella. Let me try to explain what that means, a nuclear umbrella.

It means that Iran’s terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas will be emboldened to attack the United States, Israel, and other countries because they will be backed by a power that has atomic weapons.  So the terrorism could grow tenfold.

A nuclear-armed Iran could choke off the world’s oil supply and make real its threat to close the Straits of Hormouz.

If you’re worried about the price of oil today, imagine how high oil prices could get once a nuclear-armed Iran starts blackmailing the world.

If Iran gets nuclear weapons, it would set off a mad dash by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.  The world’s most volatile region would become a nuclear tinderbox waiting to go off.

And here’s the worst nightmare of all, with nuclear weapons, Iran could threaten all of us with nuclear terrorism.

It could put a nuclear device in a ship heading to any port or in a truck parked in any city, anywhere in the world.

I want you to think about what it would mean to have nuclear weapons in the hands of those who lead millions of radicals who chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

When you think about that m you’ll reach a simple conclusion: for the sake of our prosperity, for the sake of our security, for the sake of our children, Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons!

Of course, the best outcome would be if Iran decided to abandon its nuclear weapons program peacefully.  No one would be happier than me and the people of Israel if Iran dismantled its program.

But so far, that hasn’t happened.  For fifteen years, I’ve been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country and to the peace and security of the entire world.

For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy.  It hasn’t worked.

For six years, the international community has applied sanctions.  That hasn’t worked either.

I appreciate President Obama’s recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran.  These sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy, but unfortunately, Iran’s nuclear program continues to march forward.

Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue.  We’ve waited for diplomacy to work.  We’ve waited for sanctions to work.  None of us can afford to wait much longer.

As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some commentators would have you believe that stopping Iran from getting the bomb is more dangerous than letting Iran have the bomb.  They say that a military confrontation with Iran would undermine the efforts already underway; that it would be ineffective; and that it would provoke an even more vindictive response by Iran.

I’ve heard these arguments before.  In fact, I’ve read them before — In my desk, I have copies of an exchange of letters between the World Jewish Congress and the United States War Department.

Here are the letters:

The year was 1944.  The World Jewish Congress implored the American government to bomb Auschwitz.  The reply came five days later.  I want to read it to you.

Such an operation could be executed only by diverting considerable air support essential to the success of our forces elsewhere…

and in any case, it  would be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources…

And, my friends, here’s the most remarkable sentence of all, and I quote:

Such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.

Think about that – “even more vindictive action” — than the Holocaust.

My Friends,

2012 is not 1944.  The American government today is different.  You heard it in President Obama’s speech yesterday.

But here’s my point:

The Jewish people are also different.  Today we have a state of our own.  And the purpose of the Jewish state is to defend Jewish lives and to secure the Jewish future.

Never again will we not be masters of the fate of our very survival. Never again.

That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

We deeply appreciate the great alliance between our two countries.  But when it comes to Israel’s survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel’s fate is to continue to be the forward position of freedom in the Middle East.  The only place in the Middle East where minorities enjoy full civil rights; the only place in the Middle East where Arabs enjoy full civil rights; the only place in the Middle East where Christians are free to practice their faith; the only place in the Middle East where real judges protect the rule of law.

And as Prime Minister of Israel, I will always protect Israel’s democracy – always.  I will never allow anything to threaten Israel’s democratic way of life.  and most especially, I will never tolerate any discrimination against women.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This week, we will read how one woman changed Jewish history.

In Synagogues throughout the world, the Jewish people will celebrate the festival of Purim.  We will read how some 2,500 years ago, a Persian anti-Semite tried to annihilate the Jewish people.

And we will read how that plot was foiled by one courageous woman – Esther.

In every generation, there are those who wish to destroy the Jewish people.

In this generation, we are blessed to live in an age when there is a Jewish state capable of defending the Jewish people.

And we are doubly blessed to have so many friends like you, Jews and non-Jews alike, who love the State of Israel and support its right to defend itself.

So as I leave you tonight I thank you for your friendship.  Thank you for your courage.  Thank you for standing up for the one and only Jewish state.

Thank you all and happy Purim.

PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the AIPAC 2012 – Washington DC

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu in AIPAC speech: Israel cannot afford to wait much longer on Iran

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Netanyahu in AIPAC speech: Israel cannot afford to wait much longer on Iran

Netanyahu warns the U.S. of danger of a nuclear nation of ‘death to America’ chanting crowds, providing a nuclear umbrella to terror.

Source: Haaretz, 3-5-12

Following his meeting with US President Obama in Washington Monday morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking at the AIPAC conference, calls on the international community to acknowledge the fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

“If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck – it’s a nuclear duck. It’s Time for the world to call a duck a duck,” Netanyahu said.

netanyahu - GPO - May 20 2011 U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the White House Lawn.
Photo by: GPO

In his speech, Netanyahu reiterated the fact that Israel reserves its right to protect itself. He added that for Israel all options remain on the table. “I will never gamble on the security of the state of Israel,” he explained.

Netanyahu warned of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. “We need to talk about the cost of not stopping Iran. I will give terrorists a nuclear umbrella,” he said.

Netanyahu also hinted at internal Israeli issues criticized lately by the American Jewish community such as the exclusion of women from the public sphere. “I will defend the Israeli democracy. I will never allow discrimination of women in Israel.”

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu at AIPAC: Israel cannot wait long on Iran

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Netanyahu: Israel cannot wait long on Iran

Source: JTA, 3-5-12

Sanctions and diplomacy have not stopped Iran’s nuclear push, and Israel cannot wait much longer for these efforts to succeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“I appreciate President Obama’s recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran, and these sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy, but unfortunately Iran’s nuclear program continues to march forward,” Netanyahu said in his address Monday evening to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference.

“We’ve waited for diplomacy to work, we’ve waited for sanctions to work, none of us can afford to wait much longer. As prime minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihiliation,” he added.

Netanyahu’s speech came after his meeting earlier in the day with President Obama. In a pre-meeting appearance before reporters with Netanyahu at the White House, Obama said that there was “still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution” to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Israeli leaders have begun to speak openly of the prospect of a military strike to stop Iran’s suspected nuclear program. Obama and his top officials have endeavored to persuade Israel to give U.S.-led efforts to isolate Iran more time.

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s AIPAC Speech: Israel won’t live under shadow of annihilation

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Netanyahu: Israel won’t live under shadow of annihilation

Source: USA Today, 3-5-12

By CHRIS KLEPONIS, AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds documents from World War Two regarding the possible bombing of the concentration camp in Auschwitz while speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at their annual conference in Washington DC, March 5, 2012.

In a speech before the chief American-Israel lobby group late Monday, Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said he was running out of patience with international sanctions meant to force Iran to give up their nuclear program and vowed not to gamble with Israel’s security.

“I will never let Israel live under the shadow of annihilation,” said Netanyahu, in his addresss before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Hours after meeting with President Obama and other administration officials, Netanyahu took a tough line with Iran and members of the international community that don’t share Israel’s position that time is running out to deal with Tehran. He bristled at those who question the costs of stopping Iran with military action.

“It’s about time we start talking about the cost of not stopping Iran,” Netanyahu said.

The U.S. and other European allies have said that Iran has not yet made a definitive decision to develop a nuclear weapon, a notion that Netanyahu has issues with.

“If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…It’s time the world started calling a duck, a duck,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, who made his address before thousands who convened for the annual AIPAC conference, recalled that the Jewish people were only saved from being wiped out by the help of the U.S. and their own determination.

“In every generation, there are those who wish to destroy the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said. “In this generation, we are blessed to live in a time when there is a Jewish state capable of defending the Jewish people,” he said.

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Speech Outlines Threshold for U.S. Intervention in Iran at AIPAC Conference

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At AIPAC Conference, McConnell to Outline Threshold for U.S. Intervention in Iran

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will deliver a major policy address to the 2012 AIPAC Conference tonight in which he outlines the threshold for American intervention to end the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The proposal provides clarity and specificity to the administration’s stated policy on Iran’s nuclear efforts as well as a concrete plan for the role of Congress in providing authority for the use of military force if required.
“If at any time the intelligence community presents the Congress with an assessment that Iran has begun to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels, or has taken a decision to develop a nuclear weapon — consistent with protecting classified sources and methods — I will consult with the President and joint congressional leadership and introduce before the Senate an authorization for the use of military force,” McConnell said in prepared remarks. “This authorization, if enacted, will ensure the nation and the world that our leaders are united in confronting Iran, and will undermine the perception that the U.S. is wounded or retreating from global responsibilities.”

McConnell stressed that he has the same goal as the administration in stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program. But the White House’s repeated insistence that ‘all options are on the table’ in dealing with Iran became a threat that has ‘lost its intended purpose,’ and has blurred what McConnell identified as an important option in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran — military action to end Iran’s nuclear program before it is successful.

“The administration has used this same language about preserving all options in developing its policy toward Libya, Iran, and, now, Syria,” McConnell said. “Clearly, the threat has lost its intended purpose. And the markers this administration has identified, whether they be a program to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels, or a decision to construct a weapon, are only truly red lines if crossing them brings about painful consequences.

“Another way to put it is that the administration’s mistake has been to pursue negotiations, and sanctions consecutively rather than simultaneously, without articulating a clear military consequence for the crossing of red lines.”

McConnell said the only way the Iranian regime can be expected to negotiate is if the administration imposes the strictest sanctions while at the same time enforcing a “firm declaratory policy” that reflects a commitment to use force.

“This is so crucial a step, I believe, that tonight I am prepared to propose such a policy — that is, a policy which has the clarity and the specificity that the situation demands,” McConnell said in prepared remarks. “And that policy is this: if Iran, at any time, begins to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels, or decides to go forward with a weapons program, then the United States will use overwhelming force to end that program.”

A full text of McConnell’s prepared remarks will be released shortly.

Israel Political Brief March 4, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Reactions to President Barack Obama’s AIPAC Speech

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Netanyahu welcomes Obama’s statements on Israel’s right to self-defense

PM Benjamin Netanyahu reacts postively to U.S. President Barack Obama’s AIPAC speech; Peres meets with Obama for 35 minutes after speech.

Source: Haaretz, 3-4-12

רה”מ נתניהו מגיב לנאום הנשיא אובמה באייפק

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama’s earlier speech at the AIPAC conference in Washington, saying that he appreciated more than anyone Obama’s statement on Israel’s right to defend itself by itself against any threat.

Speaking before a meeting with Jewish leaders in the Canadian capital Ottawa, Netanyahu noted positively Obama’s statements that Iran should not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons and that all options remain on the table to prevent it from doing so.

Benjamin Netanyahu March 2, 2012 (Reuters) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks during a news conference with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, March 2, 2012.
Photo by: Reuters

“I appreciate all of these statements and expect to discuss them tomorrow with President Obama,” Netanyahu said.

Immediately after his speech at the AIPAC conference, Obama met for 35 minutes in a side room with President Shimon Peres. The two discussed both Iran and the Palestinians. After the meeting, Peres spoke by phone with Netanyahu and updated him on the meeting with Obama.

“It was an excellent meeting with President Obama,” Peres said. “He reinforced the things he said in his speech and went into more details. I left with the feeling that he is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and he is very serious. Obama told me that Israel’s security is an American national security interest. I didn’t find him to even stutter. He is sharply clear and is not playing politics. I am sure that [Netanyahu] will be received very warmly in the White House tomorrow.”

Netanyahu is to meet with Obama at the White House on Monday.

President Shimon Peres and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, March 4, 2012.
President Shimon Peres and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, March 4, 2012. Moshe Milner / GPO

Israel Political Brief March 4, 2012: Reactions in Israel to President Obama’s Speech — Likud politicians mock Obama AIPAC speech

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Likud politicians mock Obama AIPAC speech

Labor’s Yacimovich calls the speech “unquestionably pro-Israel”; Livni blames Netanyahu for tensions.

Source: JPost, 3-4-12

Livni, Netanyahu and Yacimovich.
By Marc Israel Sellem

Israeli reactions to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday were divided along party lines.

Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) criticized Obama for saying that too much bluster played into Iranian hands and suggesting that it led to higher gas prices.

“There is a saying that it’s easier to watch a fire from far away,” Kara said. “We are facing an existential threat, not the US. If Israel doesn’t bluster, the US will also be in danger, because Iran’s missiles will reach them too. Israel is doing everything possible to keep the world safe, and it’s unfortunate that the White House doesn’t see things the way we see them here.”.

Likud MK Danny Danon mocked Obama’s promises to protect Israel’s security. He said history had proven that Israel can rely only on itself.

“Looking back at the way the United States criticized Israel for destroying the nuclear reactor in Iraq, Israel must make its decisions based on its own good judgment,” Danon said

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich called Obama’s speech unquestionably pro-Israel. In a speech in Herzliya, she wished Netanyahu well in his meeting with the president.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni blamed tension between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Obama on Netanyahu. She predicted that there would be a large gap between Obama’s praise for Israel in his speech and what he would say to Netanyahu behind closed doors.

“Relations between Israel and the US have become political during Netanyahu’s term,” she said. “Netanyahu made Israel an issue in the American election and it’s a mistake. Netanyahu must understand that relations with with the US are an essential need. Our deterrence depends on it. He will be tested on whether he is able to draft the US into our interests or whether he will continue just manipulating internal American politics.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 4, 2012: Israeli President Shimon Peres Speech at AIPAC / American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference There is No Space Between United States, Israel on Iran — Transcript

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Pres. Shimon Peres: There is No Space Between United States, Israel on Iran

Remarks as prepared from Israeli President Shimon Peres at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

As The President of the State of Israel I came here first and foremost to say on behalf of my people: Toda. Thank You.

Thank you President Obama, for being such a good friend. Thank you AIPAC, for your dedication and excellence. It is great to be here. To be together. Strong and united. I see old friends and new ones. I see many young faces. The future belongs to you.  Israel loves you. I am moved by your generous tribute.

I stand here, before you, a hopeful man. Proud to be Jewish, Proud to be Israeli, Proud to be there at the birth of Israel, Proud to have served it for 65 years, Proud of our alliance with the United States. Israel, like America, was conceived as an idea, Born in defiance of history; Creating a new world by drawing on the values of the past and the innovations of the future.

Friends, the restoration of Jewish statehood after two thousand years in exile – is a historic miracle. We started as a doubt and wound up as a certainty. We had to fight six wars in six decades. We did not lose one. We never will.  We can not afford it. We had to defend ourselves. Self-defense is our right and obligation.

With little land, water or resources, Israel grew tenfold in population. Fifty-fold in gross domestic product. Israel’s high-tech and innovation enriches the world its agriculture makes deserts green. Israel built new villages, new cities, new universities, new theatres and cultural centers. Our children are speaking the language of the prophets. Hebrew literature is flourishing. From a dispersed people we became a united democracy. No day of war ever interrupted a day of Democracy.

Dear Friends, permit me a personal note. Fate placed me in the eye of the storm. I was eleven years old when my beloved grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Melzer, accompanied me to the train-station on my way to Israel. He hugged me and whispered in my ear only three words, “Shimon…. stay Jewish.” Those were his last words to me. I never saw him again.

In 1942, when the Nazis arrived to his village, they forced my Grandfather, together with the remaining Jews into the wooden synagogue and set it on fire. No one survived. Not one. What remained was my Grandfather’s legacy, His last words to me “Stay Jewish.”

Dear Friends,

I was privileged to work with the father of our nation, my mentor, David Ben-Gurion.  For me, Ben Gurion’s great leadership with my Grandfather’s legacy became my compass. That compass is comprised of four core values: Our moral code. Our pursuit of peace and security. Our quest for knowledge. Our alliance with America.

The moral code, the return to the Book and its values, enabled the Jewish people  to survive, for four thousand years. Not because of quantity – Because of quality. Not due to thousands of guns – but due to Ten Commandments. We are guided by the call of our Prophets, to me it means: To be just. To do justice. To never deny justice to others.

Dear Friends,

The pursuit of peace, for us, is not a passing opportunity it is a moral imperative.  It is the tenet of our national security. To make peace, Israel must be strong. Let me assure you, Israel is strong.

Dear Friends,

The Middle East is undergoing its greatest storm. With horrible bloodshed in Syria, where a tyrant is killing his people, killing children.  I admire the courage of the Syrian people. We wish them peace and freedom. In spite of the storm, we have to reach out to the young generation in the Arab world,  to those who strive for freedom, democracy and peace.  The Palestinians are our neighbors for life.  Peace can and must be achieved. A peace based on a Two State Solution: A Jewish state – Israel, An Arab state – Palestine.

It was accepted by past and present Israeli Prime ministers and American presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The principle of “The Two State” solution is a paramount Israeli interest.

We want to preserve an Israel that is Jewish, democratic and attractive.  I meet from time to time with President Abbas and PM Fayyad.  They need and want peace. I believe that peace is possible.

They are our partners for peace.  Not Hamas.

A peace that is a dream for both of us, is a nightmare for the Ayatollahs in Iran. Iran is an evil, cruel,  morally corrupt regime. It is based on destruction. and is an affront to human dignity. Iran is the center. The sponsor.  The financer of world terror.  Iran is a danger to the entire world.  It threatens Berlin as well as Madrid, Delhi as well as Bangkok. Not just Israel. Iran’s ambition is to control the Middle East, so it can control a major part of the  world’s economy. It must be stopped. And it will be stopped.

Israel experienced the horrors of war. It does not seek it. Peace is always our first option. But, if we are forced to fight, trust me, we shall prevail.

President Obama is leading and implementing, an international  complex and decisive policy, imposing economic and political sanctions against Iran.  President Obama made it clear  that the US will not permit Iran to become nuclear. That containment is not a sustainable policy, all options are on the table.

The United States and Israel share the same goal – to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. There is no space between us. Our message is clear: Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The quest for knowledge defines Jewish history. Judaism is a constant debate. It is about asking the right questions.  It is about being a liberal and pluralistic society. I believe, Jews are never satisfied because they are always seeking new answers. A better tomorrow, Tikun Olam.

I believe that the next decade will be the most scientific, the most dramatic chapter in human history. It will expose possibilities that today sound like science fiction. Its center will be brain research. The more we shall know about ourselves, the more we shall be able to control ourselves. In a global world without a global government self-control is vital.

Friends,

In a world of science and knowledge the Jewish people and Israel have an exciting role to play. Much to contribute.

Ladies and Gentlemen, members of Congress,

America was, is, and will remain the indispensable leader of the free world. The indispensable friend of our people. Today more than ever, the world needs America.

I have had the privilege to meet all American Presidents in the last fifty years, Democrats and Republicans. I was strongly impressed by their deep commitment. Their care for Israel. That commitment was and is bipartisan.

Mr. President, members of the Administration, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, we are forever grateful for your unwavering support of the unbreakable alliance between the US and Israel.

I first met President Barack Obama, our great friend, when he was a Senator from Illinois. I saw before me a born leader. His care and devotion to Israel’s security were evident.

Mr. President,

I know your commitment to Israel is deep and profound. Under your leadership, security cooperation between the US and Israel has reached its highest level.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have a friend in the White House. He reflects the values that make America great and make Israel secure. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people.

Soon I will return home. Great challenges and promising opportunities await us. Thanks to your love and commitment and America’s great friendship. I return home, much more hopeful much more encouraged.

Thank you very much,

God Bless America. God Bless Israel. Shalom.

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