Full Text Israel Political Brief March 2, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at American Israel Public Affairs Committee AIPAC Policy Conference 2015 — Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Speech At The AIPAC Policy Conference

Source: PMO, 3-2-15

Thank you. Wow, 16,000 people. Anyone here from California? Florida? New York?

Well, these are the easy ones. How about Colorado? Indiana? I think I got it. Montana? Texas?

You’re here in record numbers. You’re here from coast to coast, from every part of this great land. And you’re here at a critical time. You’re here to tell the world that reports of the demise of the Israeli-U.S. relations are not only premature, they’re just wrong.
You’re here to tell the world that our alliance is stronger than ever.

And because of you, and millions like you, across this great country, it’s going to get even stronger in the coming years.

Thank you Bob Cohen, Michael Kassen, Howard Kohr and all the leadership of AIPAC. Thank you for your tireless, dedicated work to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.

I want to thank, most especially, Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans. I deeply appreciate your steadfast support for Israel, year in, year out. You have our boundless gratitude.

I want to welcome President Zeman of the Czech Republic. Mr. President, Israel never forgets its friends. And the Czech people have always been steadfast friends of Israel, the Jewish people, from the days of Thomas Masaryk at the inception of Zionism.

You know, Mr. President, when I entered the Israeli army in 1967, I received a Czech rifle. That was one of the rifles that was given to us by your people in our time of need in 1948. So thank you for being here today.

Also here are two great friends of Israel, former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar and as of last month, former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Thank you both for your unwavering support. You are true champions of Israel, and you are, too, champions of the truth.

I also want to recognize the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, for your genuine friendship, Dan, and for the great job you’re doing representing the United States and the State of Israel.

And I want to recognize the two Rons. I want to thank Ambassador Ron Prosor for the exemplary job he’s doing at the U.N. in a very difficult forum.

And I want to recognize the other Ron, a man who knows how to take the heat, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Ron, I couldn’t be prouder to have you representing Israel in Washington.

And finally, I want to recognize my wife, Sara, whose courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to me. Sara divides her time as a child psychologist, as a loving mother, and her public duties as the wife of the prime minister. Sara, I’m so proud to have you here with me today, to have you with me at my side always.

My friends, I bring greetings to you from Jerusalem, our eternal undivided capital.

And I also bring to you news that you may not have heard. You see, I’ll be speaking in Congress tomorrow.

You know, never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given. And I’m not going to speak today about the content of that speech, but I do want to say a few words about the purpose of that speech.

First, let me clarify what is not the purpose of that speech. My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.

I deeply appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel, security cooperation, intelligence sharing, support at the U.N., and much more, some things that I, as prime minister of Israel, cannot even divulge to you because it remains in the realm of the confidences that are kept between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. I am deeply grateful for this support, and so should you be.

My speech is also not intended to inject Israel into the American partisan debate. An important reason why our alliance has grown stronger decade after decade is that it has been championed by both parties and so it must remain.

Both Democratic and Republican presidents have worked together with friends from both sides of the aisle in Congress to strengthen Israel and our alliance between our two countries, and working together, they have provided Israel with generous military assistance and missile defense spending. We’ve seen how important that is just last summer.

Working together, they’ve made Israel the first free trade partner of America 30 years ago and its first official strategic partner last year.

They’ve backed Israel in defending itself at war and in our efforts to achieve a durable peace with our neighbors. Working together has made Israel stronger; working together has made our alliance stronger.

And that’s why the last thing that anyone who cares about Israel, the last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue. And I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here this week as doing that. Israel has always been a bipartisan issue.

Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Look at that graph. Look at that map. And you see on the wall, it shows Iran training, arming, dispatching terrorists on five continents. Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons.

And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.

And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them. For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves.

Well, no more, no more.

The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.

In our part of the world and increasingly, in every part of the world, no one makes alliances with the weak. You seek out those who have strength, those who have resolve, those who have the determination to fight for themselves. That’s how alliances are formed.

So we defend ourselves and in so doing, create the basis of a broader alliance.

And today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. And tomorrow, as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.

I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel, that’s devouring country after country in the Middle East, that’s exporting terror throughout the world and that is developing, as we speak, the capacity to make nuclear weapons, lots of them.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States agree that Iran should not have nuclear weapons, but we disagree on the best way to prevent Iran from developing those weapons.

Now disagreements among allies are only natural from time to time, even among the closest of allies. Because they’re important differences between America and Israel.

The United States of America is a large country, one of the largest. Israel is a small country, one of the smallest.

America lives in one of the world’s safest neighborhoods. Israel lives in the world’s most dangerous neighborhood. America is the strongest power in the world. Israel is strong, but it’s much more vulnerable. American leaders worry about the security of their country. Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.

You know I think that encapsulates the difference. I’ve been prime minister of Israel for nine years. There’s not a single day, not one day that I didn’t think about the survival of my country and the actions that I take to ensure that survival, not one day.

And because of these differences, America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship.

Now, it started with the beginning. In 1948, Secretary of State Marshall opposed David Ben-Gurion’s intention to declare statehood. That’s an understatement. He vehemently opposed it. But Ben-Gurion, understanding what was at stake, went ahead and declared Israel’s independence.

In 1967, as an Arab noose was tightening around Israel’s neck, the United States warned Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that if Israel acted alone, it would be alone. But Israel did act — acted alone to defend itself.

In 1981, under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor at Osirak. The United States criticized Israel and suspended arms transfers for three months. And in 2002, after the worst wave of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel’s history, Prime Minister Sharon launched Operation Defensive Shield. The United States demanded that Israel withdraw its troops immediately, but Sharon continued until the operation was completed.

There’s a reason I mention all these. I mention them to make a point. Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade.

And our friendship will weather the current disagreement, as well, to grow even stronger in the future. And I’ll tell you why; because we share the same dreams. Because we pray and hope and aspire for that same better world; because the values that unite us are much stronger than the differences that divide us values like liberty, equality, justice, tolerance, compassion.

As our region descends into medieval barbarism, Israel is the one that upholds these values common to us and to you.

As Assad drops bell bombs on his own people, Israeli doctors treat his victims in our hospitals right across the fence in the Golan Heights.

As Christians in the Middle East are beheaded and their ancient communities are decimated, Israel’s Christian community is growing and thriving, the only one such community in the Middle East.

As women in the region are repressed, enslaved, and raped, women in Israel serve as chief justices, CEOs, fighter pilots, two women chief justices in a row. Well, not in a row, but in succession. That’s pretty good.

In a dark, and savage, and desperate Middle East, Israel is a beacon of humanity, of light, and of hope.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States will continue to stand together because America and Israel are more than friends. We’re like a family. We’re practically mishpocha.

Now, disagreements in the family are always uncomfortable, but we must always remember that we are family.

Rooted in a common heritage, upholding common values, sharing a common destiny. And that’s the message I came to tell you today. Our alliance is sound. Our friendship is strong. And with your efforts it will get even stronger in the years to come.

Thank you, AIPAC. Thank you, America. God bless you all.

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Israel Musings March 1, 2015: Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war

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Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran political football in the partisan war

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on his trip to the United States on Sunday, March 1, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH argued about Netanyahu’s upcoming Joint…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 1, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Leaving for Washington

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Leaving for Washington

Source: PMO, 3-1-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks before departing for the US:

“A few days before the Fast of Esther, I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People. I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis, for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people and I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

Israel Musings February 26, 2015: Obama’s revenge chooses Netanyahu bashing Susan Rice to speak at AIPAC

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama’s revenge chooses Netanyahu bashing Susan Rice to speak at AIPAC

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama has filled his slate of speakers for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference on March 1-3, 2015 he has decided to send national security adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power as…READ MORE

Israel Musings February 25, 2015: Netanyahu refuses private meeting with Senate Democrats during US visit

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Turnabout is fair play; late Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, and Dianne Feinstein, D-CA invitation for a private meeting when he addresses Congress on March 3. News of…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 20, 2012: Poll shows gap between Republicans and Democrats in backing Israel in Gaza

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Poll shows gap between Republicans and Democrats in backing Israel in Gaza

Source: JTA, 11-20-12

A CNN poll showed a considerable gap between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to backing Israel in the current Gaza conflict.

In the CNN poll published Monday, respondents were asked whether “Israel was justified or unjustified in taking military action against Hamas and the Palestinians in the area known as Gaza.” Among Democrats, 40 percent said Israel was “justified,” compared to 74 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents.

In all, 57 percent of those polled said Israel was justified in launching the operation in the Gaza Strip.The poll, carried out by ORC International in 1,023 phone interviews from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points….READ MORE

Jewish Political Brief November 7, 2012: Fighting over every percentage point: Arguing about the Jewish vote and exit polls

JEWISH POLITICAL BRIEF

Jewish_Political_Brief

JEWISH POLITICAL BRIEF: JEWS & POLITICS

Fighting over every percentage point: Arguing about the Jewish vote and exit polls

Source: JTA, 11-7-12

President Obama earned 69-70 percent of the Jewish vote, according to exit polls, but it was a drop from his 2008 showing. Expect four more years of tussling between Democrats and Republicans as to why….READ MORE

Jewish Political Brief November 7, 2012: Congressional races: Republican Jewish hopefuls defeated, new faces for House Demcrats

JEWISH POLITICAL BRIEF

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Congressional races: Republican Jewish hopefuls defeated, new faces for House Dems

Source: JTA, 11-7-12

In a generally rough night for Republicans, the GOP’s top Jewish congressional prospects all went down to defeat, but there are some new Jewish faces in the House Democratic caucus. Read more »

 

Israel Political Brief July 30, 2012: Republicans Likelier Than Democrats to Favor PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Gallup Poll Shows

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Republicans likelier than Democrats to favor Bibi, Gallup poll shows

Source: JTA, 7-30-12

Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to view Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favorably, and President Obama’s Jewish support remains steady, according to polling by Gallup….READ MORE

Jewish News Brief June 1, 2012: Workman’s Circle Poll: American Jewish Voters Still Favor Obama Over Romney

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Poll: Jewish Voters Still Favor Obama Over Romney

New poll finds that Obama out-polls Romney by 59 percent to 27 percent among Jewish voters. Economics, not Israel, matters to voters.

Source: Israel National News, 6-1-12

President Barack Obama in Colombia

President Barack Obama in Colombia
Reuters

Jewish voters still prefer President Barack Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to a new poll released on Thursday by the Workmen’s Circle.

The poll was conducted by a team led by Professor Steven M. Cohen.

Among Jews, the Democratic President out-polls the Republican candidate by 59 percent to 27 percent, with 14 percent undecided. If the undecided voters split similarly, Obama would out-poll Romney by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin among Jewish voters.

The issues driving the Jewish vote, according to the poll, are economic justice including regulating financial institutions, support for progressive taxation, and the argument that government should do more to help the needy.

“These are extremely significant polling numbers. They offer a snapshot of the American Jewish community regarding the values and issues that are the highest priorities, though these are not the issues that are front and center in our communal debate,” Madelon Braun, the president of the Workmen’s Circle, said in a statement Thursday….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 1, 2012: Obama’s Jewish Numbers On The Rise

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Obama’s Jewish Numbers On The Rise

Source: The NY Jewish Week, 5-1-12

President Obama at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last month. getty images

President Obama at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last month. getty images

President jumps to 61 percent of vote from 45
in September, but observers cautious on AJC poll results.

Does President Barack Obama have his Jewish mojo back?

Did the rightward tilt of the Republican presidential primaries, where culture war issues surged to the top of the GOP agenda, scare off potential Jewish voters?

Or is Election Day simply too far in the future for a poll in April to carry much significance?

Those are some of the questions to emerge as analysts dissect the data from the latest opinion poll of American Jews by the American Jewish Committee.

The survey of 1,074 people who identify as Jewish, taken between March 14 and March 27, found that in the prior six months, the president — who has spent much of his term trying to beat back criticism from the Jewish right that he is anti-Israel — has seen his appeal to Jews spike to 61 percent, from 45 percent in September.

And if the election were held today, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, would receive just 28 percent of the Jewish vote.

Obama’s share of 61 percent is virtually identical with the 62 percent Jewish approval rating found by the Public Religion Research Institute a month earlier. (Those figures are well below the 78 percent he garnered in the 2008 election, but Jews continue to support Obama more than almost any other group in the country). It sampled 1,004 self-identified Jewish adults between Feb. 23 and March 5….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief April 11, 2012: US Congress Democrats urge President Obama to advance 2-state solution supported at J-Street Conference

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House members urge Obama to advance 2-state solution

Source: JTA, 4-11-12

A J Street-backed letter from 74 Congressional lawmakers urged President Obama to reaffirm support for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

The members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all Democrats, signed on to what was the key agenda item during J Street’s advocacy day on March 27, which coincided with its annual conference.

“In our view, support for a two-state resolution is inseparable from such support for Israel, its special relationship with the United States, and its very survival as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people,” the letter said.

Seven Jewish members signed on to the letter, including two of the letter’s chief sponsors, Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.). Other notable Jewish members to sign the letter were Reps. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

Another signatory was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the budget committee.

In a press release announcing the letter’s signers, J Street’s director of government affairs, Dylan Williams, noted that the lawmakers “are making clear that to be pro-Israel is to support active U.S. engagement in achieving a two-state solution.”

“If the U.S. Congress does not make a viable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a cornerstone of foreign policy in the region, then we are not truly helping Israel to face one its most critical challenges,” Williams said in the press release.

Video Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Visits the US Congress Meets with Leaders

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PM Netanyahu’s visit to the US Congress

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: In Washington, everyone loves Benjamin Netanyahu

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In Washington, everyone loves Benjamin Netanyahu

Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner listen as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the Capitol March 6, 2012. | Reuters

In the FourSquare of American politics, Netanyahu is the mayor of Washington this week. | AP Photo

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “old friend,” Mitt Romney told folks at the American Israel Public Affairs Conference in Washington Tuesday.

Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, edged in close enough at a Capitol press conference to be photographed with Netanyahu.

And Sen. Mark Kirk, who recently suffered a stroke, put out a press release and video to mark Netanyahu’s wish that the Illinois Republican would recover quickly. Kirk isn’t Jewish, but a lot of folks in his old Chicago-area House district are.

In the FourSquare of American politics, Bibi Netanyahu is the mayor of Washington this week….. READ MORE

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can’t agree on much, but they joined arms to embrace Netanyahu for a private lunch meeting with Berman and other lawmakers who have a hand in foreign policy.

And both leaders sent out transcripts of their remarks at the joint press conference.

“Now is the time to stand together,” Boehner said. “We are here today to tell the prime minister that Congress intends to do so.”

Netanyahu tried to return some of the congressional love during his press conference on Tuesday in the Capitol.

“I don’t think there is a place anywhere else on earth where we can match the clarity, courage and wisdom than … the halls of this institution,” Netanyahu said. “I go back to Israel feeling we have great friends in Washington.”

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.

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Democratic and Republican Congressional Leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell Address Bipartisan Gala

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Israeli Prime Minister, Democratic and Republican Leaders to Address Gala

Source: AIPAC, 3-5-12

While Washington, D.C. is increasingly consumed with bickering between Democrats and Republicans, the U.S.-Israel relationship remains the one issue that transcends the partisan divide. In a display of this bipartisan spirit, more than half of Congress will attend tonight’s Gala, along with representatives from 51 countries, administration officials, congressional candidates and other VIPs.

Due to the extraordinary number of attendees, the Gala will take on a different format this year. All 13,000 Policy Conference delegates will fit in Halls D/E, where they will be treated to a pre-Gala concert featuring musical guests from the U.S. and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will deliver the keynote address. The prime minister’s speech will come a few hours after his meeting with President Obama.

In addition, two longtime supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship—Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Democratic Leader of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)—will speak at the Gala.

The Gala will be the end of a full day of Monday programming. The morning kicks off with an address by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

After the morning plenary, delegates will head to panel discussions on topics affecting the U.S., Israel and the Middle East, as well as lobbying workshops, where they will learn from AIPAC’s top experts how to make the case for Israel on Capitol Hill tomorrow.

Israel Political Brief September 22, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Pro-Israel Support at UN Delights Israeli Government

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Obama Backing Delights Israeli Government

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-22-11

When Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman praises US President Barack Obama, it is no wonder that the Palestinians and their supporters are upset. In yesterday’s speech to the UN General Assembly, Obama was actually directing his remarks at one of his most important domestic audiences – Jewish voters in the US, whose traditional support for the Democrats has been wavering in the run up for next year’s US elections.

Obama spoke at length on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but his message to the Palestinians could be summed up in one phrase: there are no shortcuts to peace.

Barack said, “One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, obama at the unand I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves.”

Obama added, “Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek — the question is how do we reach that goal.”

Obama’s message to US Jews was, “But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.”

The Palestinians did not have high hopes, as the US has been lobbying heavily on UN Security Council members to vote against giving Palestine UN membership. But they had hoped that Obama would reiterate his May structure for ending the conflict, specifically that the 1967 border would be the basis for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

The Palestinians also hoped to hear criticism of Israel’s settlements, which every US government since the Johnson administration has considered illegal.

Instead, Obama’s remarks were fully pro-Israel, as if written by parameters set by the Netanyahu government. The remark “there is no short cut to the end of a conflict” -i.e. forget about a UN vote – grabbed the listeners attention.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is celebrating. So is AIPAC. The Palestinians are furious. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) put his hands to his head in a gesture of despair.

For the full text of the speech, click here.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – http://www.globes-online.com

Israel Political Brief August 22, 2011: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets With US Congressional Delegation

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Meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Republican Congressmen delegation headed by Eric Cantor in Jerusalem.
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Source: The Prime Minister of Israel, 8-22-11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday), 22.8.11, in Jerusalem, met with a delegation of 25 Republican members of the US House of Representatives, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price.

Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized the direct links between the terrorists in Gaza and the Iranian regime and said that, “Those who fire missiles at Israel are supported by Iran with weapons, money and training.  They constitute a forward Iranian post on our borders.  Just as Iran threatens us, so too it threatens the US.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the US and the Congress for their strong support of Israel.  He noted the successes of the Iron Dome system in intercepting missiles and added that he intends to station additional batteries in order to defend Israeli cities.

מפגש ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו עם משלחת חברי קונגרס מארה”ב, 22 אוגוסט 2011

ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו נפגש היום בירושלים עם משלחת של 25 חברי קונגרס אמריקאים מהמפלגה הרפובליקנית. בראש המשלחת עומדים מנהיג הרוב בקונגרס, ח”ק אריק קנטור וראש הוועדה הרפובליקנית למדיניות, ח”ק טום פרייס.

ראש הממשלה הדגיש בדבריו את הקשר הישיר בין המחבלים בעזה ובין המשטר האיראני ואמר: “אלו שיורים טילים על ישראל נתמכים ע”י איראן בנשק, בכסף ובאימונים”. עוד הוסיף כי “הם מהווים שלוחה קדמית של איראן על גבולותינו. כפי שאיראן מאיימת עלינו כך היא מאיימת על ארה”ב”.

ראש הממשלה הודה לארה”ב ולקונגרס על תמיכתם האיתנה בישראל. נתניהו ציין את הצלחותיה של מערכת “כיפת ברזל” ביירוט טילים ואת כוונתו להציב סוללות נוספות להגן על ערי ישראל.

Israel Political Brief August 8, 2011: 55 Republican, 26 Democratic congressmen to arrive for week-long trips sponsored by American Israel Education Foundation

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Source: Jerusalem Post, 8-8-11

Eighty-one congressmen, or about 20 percent of the US House of Representatives, will visit Israel over the next three weeks during Congress’s summer recess, with the first group of 26 Democrats scheduled to arrive on Monday.

The Democratic delegation will be followed by two Republican ones, bringing a total of 55 Republicans.

RELATED:
US Affairs: The GOP and Israel
The Israel Factor: The Republican presidential candidates

Most of the representatives are freshmen congressmen, with 47 – or fully half of the freshmen Republicans voted into office in 2010 – making the trip.

For many of them, this will be their first trip to Israel.

The week-long trips are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which brings large delegations of congressmen here every other August.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) will head the Democratic delegation, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) will lead one of the Republican groups.

Hoyer, in a statement, said he looked forward to “returning to Israel to continue learning firsthand about the evolving security situation in the Middle East, the deep challenges facing Israel, and the role the US can play in the region during this time of uncertainty.

I’m pleased members of Congress have this opportunity to study American interests in the Middle East and gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in increasing stability in the region.”

The delegation will visit both Israel and the West Bank, and is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Among those on the delegation arriving Monday are Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Ohio’s Betty Sutton, and Pennsylvania’s Mark Critz.

In a related development, The Israel Project will be bringing a group of 18 Washington-based ambassadors from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America to Israel on Monday for a weeklong tour and high-level meetings. Like the congressmen, they will also go to Ramallah, for a meeting with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Among the countries represented on the trip are Albania, Barbados, Belize, Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Macedonia, St. Lucia and Uganda.

Some of these countries have been mentioned by officials in Jerusalem as likely candidates to either vote against, or at least abstain, when the vote on Palestinian statehood comes before the UN in September.

Douglas M. Bloomfield: Can Republican love translate into votes?

Washington Watch: Republicans’ support of Israel does not put American Jewish voters in their pockets.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 7-14-11

The Democrats are running scared, the Republicans are delusional, and the Israeli government should be worried.

A new Gallup poll shows 60 percent of American Jews approve of Barack Obama’s overall performance – well below the 78% he got in 2008. That number may be 14 points ahead of his approval rating among all voters, but it’s giving Democratic operatives heartburn and Republicans high hopes for a mass exodus of Jews to the red side of the ballot.

PM Netanyahu, US President Obama at White House
Photo by: Avi Ohayon / GPORepublicans – focusing on the 60% and ignoring Obama’s 85% approval rating among Jewish Democrats in the same poll – have been predicting a sea change in Jewish voting for as long as I can recall.

In 2008, some were confidently predicting Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), with a solid pro-Israel voting record and popular in the Jewish community, would be the first Republican to win a Jewish majority. To make sure that happened, the Republican Jewish Coalition spent millions on a fear-and-smear campaign against the Democratic nominee, painting him as the Muslim Manchurian candidate.

Fortunately for Obama, that strategy snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, especially in the key state of Florida, and helped assure a large Democratic turnout.

I don’t know if they’re smart enough to avoid trying that again.

Not that Obama isn’t vulnerable.

Although his administration has given stronger support for Israel’s security than its predecessors, even providing advanced technology such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that the Bush administration refused, and has supported Israeli positions on Hamas, Iran and the Palestinian UN strategy, many feel there is something missing.

There’s none of the warmth that friends of Israel have come to expect. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t get along with Bill Clinton either, but Clinton and George W. Bush demonstrated a warmth toward Israel that Obama lacks.

He just doesn’t have it in his kishkes.

Obama is “pretty low on the trust and confidence scale” with Israel and the Jews, said Aaron David Miller, a Mideast policy advisor in several administrations and currently a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He isn’t an enemy of Israel, but “he’s not in love with the idea of Israel” either….READ MORE

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