The highly anticipated American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington DC concluded yesterday after garnering more than 18,000 attendees and hosting a number of high profile politicians and pro-Israel activists. During the 3-day conference, US Vice President Mike Pence, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and the President of the Republic of Guatemala Jimmy Morales all made speeches which included renewed commitments to Israel as well as personal anecdotes surrounding their admiration and love for the State of Israel.
Yesterday, during the final day of the convention, and one day after he and his wife were warmly welcomed to the White House, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the excited and cheerful attendees of the Washington DC event. During his address, which lasted over a half hour, Netanyahu talked about what he called the “good, the bad and the beautiful”.
The Prime Minister began his address by discussing “the good” – all of the innovations in technology and agriculture that Israel developed and shared with the world. He was particularly proud of the new technology developed in Israel that provided plant-specific irrigation systems, essentially watering and catering to specific plants based on that plant’s specific needs. Netanyahu also proudly discussed the fact that the cyber-security sector in Israel saw a whopping 20% share of the world’s private investment. Given that the Israeli population makes up approximately 1 tenth of a percent of the world’s population, the significance of the world’s investment in Israeli cyber technology was astonishing. “We’re punching 200 times above our weight. Not two times, not ten times, not a hundred times – 200 times above our weight. That’s very strong.”
After Netanyahu discussed “the good”, he discussed “the bad”. In particular, he went on to reiterate the impending danger and destabilization that Iran and its menace was creating throughout the Middle East. The Prime Minister discussed the bad deal that President Barack Obama pushed for – the same deal that President Donald Trump had called “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States ever entered into”.
“When I last spoke here, I warned, tried to warn the world about a nuclear deal that was a threat to the survival of Israel, the security of the region, the peace of the world. I warned that Iran’s regime had repeatedly lied to the international community, that it could not be trusted. I warned that the deal gives Iran a clear path towards developing a nuclear arsenal in little more than a decade. And I warned that by removing Iran’s sanctions, Iran’s regime would not become more moderate and peaceful, but more extreme and belligerent, much more dangerous.
And, ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what has happened. [….] Last week, we read in the Book of Esther about an earlier Persian attempt to exterminate our people. They failed then. They’ll fail now. We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in ten years, not ever.” Netanyahu said emphatically.
Netanyahu started the last part of his speech by focusing on “the beautiful” – the opportunity for peace in the Middle East. The Prime Minister said, “My friends, as we work together to confront the bad, there is also potential to advance the good that paradoxically comes from the bad, because most of the states in our region know—they know very well, believe me—that Israel is not their enemy, but their indispensable ally in confronting our common challenges and seizing our common opportunities. That is true for Egypt and Jordan, Israel’s long-time peace partners, but it’s also true for many other Arab countries in the Middle East. Israel remains committed to achieving peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. President Trump has made it clear that he is committed to peace. I have made it clear that I am committed to peace. We appreciate the efforts of President Trump’s superb team—Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman. Thank you all. Thank you all for your hard work for peace.”
The Prime Minister then reiterated his stance on the toxic and nauseating fact that the “moderate” PA continues to pay terrorists who have killed Jews and their families monthly salaries. “But to get peace, to get peace President Abbas has to embrace peace and to stop supporting terror. Raise your hands high if you agree with me that President Abbas should stop paying terrorists who murder Jews. You know how much he pays? He pays about $350 million dollars a year to terrorists and their families, each year. [….] I have a message for President Abbas: Stop paying terrorists. Because what message does this send to Palestinian children? It says murder Jews and get rich. And I believe President Abbas should find better use for this money—to build roads, schools, hospitals, factories. Build life, don’t pay death. Invest in life. Invest in peace.”
As always, the Prime Minister’s speech was insightful, impassioned and left an impression on those who listened to it, both at the conference and online.
We again thank the people of the United States for their longstanding support and commitment to Israel.