PM at AIPAC:
Watch: Netanyahu says US and Israel will never be pulled apart

PM delivers address to AIPAC from Israel after returning home to deal with escalation with Hamas in Gaza. 'The Jewish people do not bow.'

Gary Willig,

Netanyahu addresses AIPAC
Netanyahu addresses AIPAC
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC policy conference from Israel Tuesday.

Netanyahu had been scheduled to speak at Israel live in Washington DC. However, he flew back to Israel following the rocket attack on the town of Mishmeret which destroyed a home and injured seven people Monday morning.

The prime minister began by addressing Israel's ongoing military response to the rocket fire from Gaza. "We are prepared to do a lot more. We will do what is necessary to defend our people and to defend our state."

He praised the bipartisan support for Israel by both Republicans and Democrats, saying that that bipartisanship is "the way it should always be."

Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump for signing an official order recognizing Israel's sovereignty on the Golan Heights.

"Yesterday, at the White House, President Trump again made history. He formally recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Now that decision deserves enormous applause," he said.

"The Golan Heights is indispensable for our defense. It's part of our history. When you put a shovel in the ground there, what you discover is the ruins of ancient synagogues. Jews lived there for thousands of years and the people of Israel have come back to the Golan. Israel holds the high ground, and we shall never, ever give it up. It's part of Israel," the prime minister said.

Netanyahu also thanked President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, and withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

He said that those who wish to pull the US and Israel apart "will fail. Our shared values are too deep, our shared interests are too strong, our shared destiny too intertwined."

"But having said that, I must tell you that we must never take anything for granted. Those who seek to defame this great organization AIPAC, those who seek to undermine America's support for Israel, they must be confronted. Despite what they claim, they do not merely criticize the policies of Israel's government. In Israel that happens every five minutes. They do something else. They spew venom that has long been directed at the Jewish people.

"Again the Jews are cast as a force for evil. Again the Jews are charged with disloyalty. Again the Jews are said to have too much influence, too much power, too much money," he said.

"Ladies and gentlemen, do you know what the best way to respond to this kind of hatred is? We read it just a few days ago in the book of Esther, when Mordechai confronted Haman of Persia. The best way to respond to those who espouse this kind of hatred is not to bow down to them, it's to stand up to them!

"The Jewish people do not bow down. We stand up, we fight, and we win!" Netanyahu declared.

"My friends, ladies and gentlemen, some people will just never get it. They’ll never understand why the vast majority of Americans – Jews and non-Jews alike – support Israel.

In a jab at Rep. Ilan Omar, Netanyahu said: "Take it from this Benjamin, it’s not about the Benjamins."

"The reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values. They just don’t' get it. It’s because America and Israel share a love of freedom and democracy. It's because we cherish individual rights and the rule of law. It's because we don’t judge people by the color of their skin, their religion or their sexual orientation.

"I am proud of Israel’s vibrant democracy, where no one – no one – is a second-class citizen. All of Israel’s citizens are first-class citizens. All of Israel's citizens whether Jew or Arab, Muslim, Christian, or Druze, have exactly the same individual rights. We vote in the same elections. We’re subject to the same laws. We study in the same universities. And we are also treated in the same hospitals.

"But Israel is also the one and only country on earth in which the Jewish people exercise our collective right of self-determination. And that right is expressed in the Star of David that is on our flag, in the Hatikvah that is our national anthem, in Hebrew our official language and most powerfully, in the right of every Jew across the world to automatically immigrate to Israel and become a citizen if they choose to do so.

"It is these features of our collective existence that the Nation State bill enshrined into an historic constitutional law. And contrary to the false attacks and allegations, it did not denigrate any individual rights, which remain sacred and equal for all our citizens. And it will always be that way.

"Israel will always be a democracy, just as Israel will always be the Jewish State, a place where all Jews anywhere can always call home, no matter how they pray or how they wish to conduct their lives. Israel is the home of all Jews.

"That is why we all celebrate today the democratic, Jewish State of Israel. We know the truth," he said.




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