In his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama spoke about the “deplorable anti-Semitism” in the world.
The speech dealt mostly with economy-related issues, but Obama also said in it that “As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're threatened, which is why I've prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It's why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It's why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims -- the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.”
“That's why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer,” he added.
Obama called on Congress to approve a resolution to authorize the use of force against the Islamic State (ISIS), though he insisted that the United States is not getting into a war on the ground with the terrorist group.
“Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we've trained their security forces, who've now taken the lead, and we've honored our troops' sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition,” he said.
“Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership -- including our military power -- is stopping [ISIS’s] advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed.”
“And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against [ISIS].”
Obama said that Americans “stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by terrorists -- from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies,” he said.
Obama also addressed the Iranian issue in his speech, saying that “for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”
He once again stressed, however, that he will veto any attempt by Congress to impose new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies -- including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails -- alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn't make sense.”
“That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom,” he declared.