US President Donald Trump was the keynote speaker on Saturday night at the 2019 Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit being held in Miami, Florida.
Trump was introduced by Sheldon Adelson and Dr. Miriam Adelson who said, “President Trump deserves our gratitude as proud Israelis, as proud Americans and as proud Jews, no matter what our politics are.”
The Adelsons gave Trump a Hanukkiyah as a gift before he began speaking.
The crowd welcomed Trump enthusiastically, chanting “four more years!” before he took the podium.
The President began his remarks by sending condolences to the victims of Friday’s shooting at a naval base in Pensacola.
“Thank you for the invitation to address you today,” said Trump, who thanked, among others, his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner for working to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.
“It’s truly my honor to be here this evening, to celebrate our progress, to deepen the incredible partnership between the United States and Israel, and it suffered greatly in the last administration. I don’t think they liked Israel too much, I’m sorry,” he said.
“After eight long years in which our alliance was undermined and neglected, I’m happy to report that the United States-Israeli relationship is stronger now than ever before.”
“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more. Because you have people that are Jewish people that are great people -- they don't love Israel enough," he said.
Trump recalled that “many many presidents said they were going to move the embassy to Jerusalem and they never did it, and I understand why they never did it. When they thought I was going to do it, and they I heard I was going to make an announcement in two weeks, I started getting calls from everyone: ‘Don’t do it. It will be terrible if you do it. It will be horrible if you do it.’”
“And then the time came closer and closer, and I learned why other presidents, in all fairness to them, why they made the campaign promise but why they never got it off. They were beseeched by foreign leaders, the biggest people in the world called them. About a week and a half in I said, ‘Listen, tell these people I’ll call them back. I’m so busy.’ And then I made the announcement at the White House that we’re moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and it was a big deal and it was great, and a day went by, and a second day went by and there was no violence. About 20 people were violent in the front row but there was nobody behind them.”
He noted that he saved $2 billion by building the embassy in a location that the US already owned and which had a building on it. “I am honored to say that we went there, we cut the ribbon, the building is gorgeous, you’ve got a beautiful embassy, it’s in Jerusalem, and you have something that you always wanted. It was a great, great day.”
Trump noted how, in recent weeks, “When rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza, my administration has stood with Israel and its right to self-defense. We've called for the release of Israeli hostages and the remains of Israeli soldiers returned to Israel by Hamas.”
He noted the recent elimination of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and declared, “Our message to the bloodthirsty terrorists is clear: You don’t stand a chance against the awesome power of the United States military.”
He denounced Iran and the nuclear agreement that was signed during the Obama administration and from which he withdrew, and noted the recent riots in Iran in which he believes thousands were killed, numbers that cannot be confirmed since the regime shut off the internet during the riots.
“America will always stand with the Iranian people and their righteous struggle for freedom. Last year, the country’s Supreme Leader, as they call him, said ‘Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor that has to be removed and eradicated from the face of the earth.’ We must never allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America and ‘Death to Israel’ to obtain a nuclear weapon.”
Trump stressed that his administration “vigorously condemns the BDS campaign against Israel” and noted that “sadly, BDS has also made disturbing headway on American college campuses” before inviting an NYU alum to the stage to speak of her experience with BDS on campus.
He denounced radical lawmakers who promote BDS and stressed, “Americans will not stand for it.”
“One lawmaker said that Israel ‘hypnotized the world’ and said that support for Israel ‘is all about the Benjamins,’” said Trump, referencing the remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar. “My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric. As long as I’m your president, it makes no difference. It’s not happening.”
Throughout the entire speech, which lasted for close to an hour, Trump refrained from mentioning Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by name, likely due to the sensitive period in Israel.
After his speech, the Shalva band sang "God Bless America". At the conclusion the song, the band members received a warm hug from the president.