'The US needs to counter UN efforts to legitimize BDS'

Senator Ben Cardin speaks at Religious Zionists of America conference, says "Israel is at great risk right now."

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Martin Oliner and Ben Cardin
Martin Oliner and Ben Cardin
Eliran Baruch

Speaking at the US Capitol at a special event marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's liberation and unification, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), said that the US needs to counter UN efforts to legitimize BDS and that "Israel is at great risk right now."

Cardin was flanked by Martin Oliner, President of the Center for Unity and of Religious Zionists of America. This is the text of his speech:

...It is incredible progress that we have seen in the state of Israel, and yet we know the challenges today are greater than ever before. So you can celebrate for lunch, but get back to work after lunch. We need you. Israel is at great risk right now.

We know that there are so many forces around the world that are trying to compromise the legitimacy of Israel. We see that in the efforts of the Palestinians to take the negotiations with Israel to the United Nations, rather than direct negotiations. We cannot let that happen, because we need to make sure that there is no separation between the United States and Israel!

We are Israel's only clear ally and friend, and we must make sure that remains solid, bipartisan, and that we will stand by Israel. It's going to be tough times!

You see the attack (from) those who support the BDS boycott divestment and sanctions. It's an effort to delegitimate the state of Israel, and at times it's a direct effort to raise anti-Semitism and try to legitimate conduct that is clearly anti-Semitic. We've got to stand tall against that.

And I want to thank my colleagues, because in the last congress, I was proud to work with Sen. Portman, a Republican from Ohio, and we now require our trade negotiators, in trading partnership with Europe, that they must include an anti-BDS provision in any trade agreement between the United States and Europe.

After that, the United nations human Rights Council passed an effort to support the BDS by requiring that there be a list of countries that do business with Israel. We've got to counter that. There's a bill pending right now, by Sen. Portman and myself, that would counter that, and would provide that our representatives, Exim (Export-Import) Bank, must consider a country's anti-BDS activities if they want to have our support in the Exim bank.

So we can make progress! But the bottom line is, as we go through the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel needs the support of the United States.

You're going to be visiting offices and talking to members about appropriation issues – there's a lot of argument here. The support for Israel should be guaranteed in this year's budget. Funding the Memorandum of Understanding, funding the Iron Dome technology that makes Israel safer and the United States safer.

We've got to make sure that there's no separation. And lastly, the greatest threat against Israel is Iran. We're not going to argue the nuclear agreement. I had a different view, I didn't support it. But we want to make sure Iran complies with it – but one thing we know is, they are very active in supporting terrorism, and ballistic missile violations, and we've got to take action against Iran, in regard to those activities, and we need to do it now.