Thank you, thank you very much.
Thank you, Rosie. And thank you Howard, Michael, Robert and all the
leadership of AIPAC. Thank you for everything you do to strengthen the great
alliance between Israel and The United States of America.
Let me say a special hello to my friend, Vice President Biden. He just spoke
there. I have to say that I’ve learned over the years so much from Joe. I want
to thank him for his steadfast support for Israel over so many decades. I’ve
learned what Irish families are about from Joe Biden. I learned about his
father. I learned that his background and ours is so similar, deeply grounded in
values, and I just heard those values expressed.
I want to also recognize, and I’m sure you’ll all join me in recognizing,
Defense Minister Barak, who I’ve sent to represent Israel in the AIPAC
conference. Ehud, I want to thank you for the years of service for Israel’s
security. Thank you, Ehud.
And I want to recognize Ambassadors Oren and Prossor. Michael and Ron, thank
you both for your terrific service you’re doing for Israel every day.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who have come from far and wide to be
here today to express your support for Israel.
As you know I was hoping
to speak to you in person, but unfortunately, I had to stay in Israel to do
something a lot more enjoyable - putting together a coalition government...
Despite the difficulties, I intend to form a strong and stable government in the
The first thing that my new government will have the privilege of doing is to
warmly welcome President Obama to Israel. I look forward to the President’s
visit. It will give me an opportunity, along with the people of Israel, to
express our appreciation for what he has done for Israel.
The President and I agreed to focus our discussions on three main
First, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons;
deteriorating situation in Syria;
And third, the need to find a responsible
way to advance the peace with the Palestinians.
Now, on the first point: Iran has made it clear that it will continue to defy
the will of the international community. Time after time, the world’s leading
powers have tabled diplomatic proposals to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue
peacefully. But I have to tell you the truth. Diplomacy has not worked.
Iran ignores all these offers. It is running out the clock. It has used
negotiations, including the most recent ones, to buy time to press ahead with
its nuclear program.
Thus far, the sanctions have not stopped the nuclear program either. The
sanctions have hit the Iranian economy hard. That is true. But Iran's leaders
just grit their teeth and move forward. Iran enriches more and more uranium; It
installs faster and faster centrifuges; It’s still not crossed the red line I
drew at the United Nations last September. But Iran is getting closer to that
line, and it’s putting itself in a position to cross that line very quickly once
it decides to do so.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we cannot allow Iran to
cross that red line. We have to stop its nuclear enrichment program before it’s
too late. And I have to tell you, and with the clarity of my brain: words alone
will not stop Iran; Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be
coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions
I deeply appreciate something that President Obama has said repeatedly.
You've just heard Vice President Biden say it again: Israel must always be able
to defend itself by itself against any threat to its existence. The Jewish
people know the cost of being defenseless against those who would exterminate
us. We will never let that happen again.
Joe Biden described his meeting with Golda Meir. She said to him: our secret
weapon is we have no other place to go. Well, we have our place under the sun.
And ladies and gentlemen, we shall defend it.
The rebirth of Israel is one of the greatest events in history. I think
Churchill said it transcends generations, it transcends centuries. He said it is
significant in the perspective of thousands of years. We never lose sight of
that perspective. We shall always defend the one and only Jewish state.
The second issue I intend to discuss with President Obama is the situation in
Syria. Over the last two years, over 70,000 Syrians have been killed. Hundreds
of thousands have been wounded and maimed. Millions have been forced to flee
Besides this humanitarian crisis of great tragedy, Syria could soon become a
strategic crisis. One of monumental proportions. Syria is a very poor country,
but it has chemical weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and many other of the
world’s most deadly and sophisticated arms. As the Syrian regime collapses, the
danger of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups is very real.
Terror groups such as Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are trying to seize these weapons
as we speak. They are like hyenas feeding off a carcass - and the carcass is not
even dead yet.
These terror groups are committed to Israel’s destruction. They have
repeatedly attacked the United States. They are global terrorist organizations
that can perpetrate terror attacks anywhere in the world. We’ve just seen that,
in Cyprus, in Bulgaria, everywhere. This is why we have a common interest in
preventing them from obtaining these deadly weapons.
I know that here too President Obama fully appreciates Israel’s need to
defend itself. And I look forward to discussing with him ways to address this
challenge to our common security.
The third issue I intend to discuss with President Obama is our common quest
Israel seeks a peace with our Palestinian neighbors - a peace that will end
our conflict once and for all. That peace must be grounded in reality; and it
must be grounded in security. Israel withdrew from Lebanon; we withdrew from
Gaza; we gave up territory. We got terror. We cannot allow that to happen a
Israel is prepared for a meaningful compromise. But as Israel’s Prime
Minister, I will never compromise on our security.
We must work together to
find a realistic path forward - And I think that path has to be a measured
step-by-step process in which we work to advance to a verifiable, durable and
It has to be defensible, because in the Middle East, especially in this
Middle East, a peace you cannot defend will not hold for five minutes. It has to
be verifiable, because as we move from one step to another, we have to make sure
that we can not only defend ourselves but also that our neighbors are actually
telling their people, educating their children to live in peace.
something we desperately want. We yearn for peace, we pray for peace, and with
President Obama, we shall work for peace.
I look forward to discussing with President Obama when he comes here later
this month all these issues. But in addition, I'll have a chance to show
President Obama a different side of Israel, Israel that has become a
technological marvel. It’s teeming with innovation. Israel, that each day pushes
the boundaries of medicine and science to the ends of human imagination. Israel
that has one of the world’s most vibrant cultures and one of the world’s most
Israel, the modern Jewish state living in the ancient
Jewish homeland - an oasis of liberty and progress in the heart of the Middle
East where these ideas have yet to take root.
That is the Israel that all of you know. That is the Israel that all of you
love. That is the Israel that so many Americans love. And that is the Israel
that will never stop standing shoulder to shoulder with the country that has
been the greatest force for good that the world has ever known - the United
States of America.
God bless America,
God bless Israel,
And God bless the American-Israeli
God bless you all. Thank you.