Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahuby Teresa Neumann : Mar 24, 2010 : Israeli Prime Minister’s Office

“The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied. The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital.”

(Washington, D.C.)—A March 23 report in Haaretz describes the highly charged difference of opinions addressed in Washington when Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In contrast, however, at the same time, the Prime Minister received an overwhelming voice of support and a standing ovation from nearly 8,000 attendants after delivering a powerful speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The Prime Minister reportedly spoke several hours after Secretary Clinton charged that Israel’s building in parts of Jerusalem that the United States does not recognize as being under Israeli sovereignty “undermines” U.S. policy.

Noted the report in Haaretz, when Netanyahu spoke, he “pointed out that Israel has made constant to the concessions to the United States and Palestinian Authority but drew the red line at Jerusalem, reasoning that building houses for Jews in all of united Jerusalem in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution. More than half of the American Congressmen were among the more than 7,000 people listening to the speech at the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby group in Washington. The speech was delayed in order to allow people to enter the packed convention hall.” The following are excerpts from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech:

“As the world faces monumental challenges, I know that America and Israel will face them together. We stand together because we are fired by the same ideals and inspired by the same dreams—the dreams of achieving prosperity, security and peace for all. Now, this dream seemed an impossibility to most Jews a century ago.

“This month, my father celebrated his one-hundredth birthday. That’s not his only achievement, but when he was born, the Czars ruled Russia, the British Empire spanned the globe and the Ottoman Empire ruled the Middle East. During his lifetime, all three of these empires fell. Others rose and fell, and the Jewish destiny, the pendulum of Jewish faith, swung from despair to a new hope and a new beginning—the rebirth of the Jewish state.

“See, for the first time in two thousand years, a sovereign Jewish people could defend itself against attack. And before that—understand what transformation this was—before that, in our dispersion, we were powerless, absolutely powerless to defend ourselves against an unremitting barrage of savagery from the bloodletting in the Middle Ages, to the expulsion of the Jews from England, and then from Spain and then from Portugal, to the wholesale slaughter of Jews in the Ukraine, to the pogroms in Russia, culminating in the greatest horror of all—the Holocaust.

“The founding of Israel didn’t stop the attack on the Jews. But it merely—well it’s more than merely—it gave the Jews the power to defend themselves against those attacks.

“I want to tell you about the day when I realized what this transformation was. It was the day I met Shlomit Vilmosh over forty years ago. I was nineteen years old. I served with her son, with Shlomit’s son, Haim, in the same elite military unit. And one dark night during a battle in 1969, Haim was killed in a burst of gunfire. At his funeral, in a kibbutz in the Galilee, I learned something. I discovered that Haim had been born shortly after his mother and father had been freed from the death camps of Europe. If Haim had been born two years earlier, this daring young Israeli officer would have been tossed into the ovens like a million and a half other Jewish children. Haim’s mother Shlomit told me that though she was in great anguish, she was proud. At least, she told me—and this is something I’ll never forget as long as I live—at least she said, my son fell wearing the uniform of a Jewish soldier defending the Jewish state.

“And time and again Israel’s soldiers were forced to repel the attacks of much larger enemies committed to our destruction. Yet when Egypt and Jordan realized that we could not be defeated in battle, they embraced the path of peace and we value the peace treaties we’ve achieved with both countries. Yet there are those who continue the assault against the Jewish state; there are those who openly call for our destruction. They seek to achieve this goal through terrorism, missile attacks and most recently by developing atomic weapons.

“It’s instructive that the ingathering of the Jews to Israel doesn’t deter them. In fact, it whets their appetite. Iran’s rulers say “Israel is a one bomb country.” The head of Hezbollah says: “If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

“My friends, these are unpleasant facts, but they are the facts. The greatest threat to any living organism, to any nation, is not to recognize danger in time—not to recognize the facts.

“Seventy-five years ago, many leaders around the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. Indeed they deserve every applause. They helped save the world, but they were too late to save six million of my own people, the Jewish people. The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.

“Today, an unprecedented threat to humanity looms large. A radical Iranian regime armed with nuclear weapons could bring an end to the era of nuclear peace that the world has enjoyed for the last 65 years. Such a regime could provide nuclear weapons to terrorists. It might even be tempted to use them and our world would never be the same. Iran’s brazen bid to develop nuclear weapons is certainly first and foremost a threat to my country, to Israel, but it’s a threat to the entire region; it’s a threat to the entire world. Israel thus expects the international community to act swiftly and to act decisively to thwart this danger. But we always reserve the right of self-defense.

“…I want to be clear. This doesn’t mean that Israel is above criticism. Of course not. Israel, like any democracy, has its imperfections but we strive to correct them through open debate and through scrutiny. Israel has independent courts, the rule of law, a free press and a vigorous parliamentary debate. Believe me, it’s very vigorous. Well you’ve just gone through a week of healthcare voting. In Israel, every week is healthcare week. It doesn’t stop.

“I know that in this city, members of Congress refer to one another as my distinguished colleague from Wisconsin, the distinguished Senator from California. In Israel, members of Knesset don’t speak of their distinguished colleagues from Be’er Sheva or Kiryat Shmona. Because in Israel, self-criticism is a way of life, and we also accept that criticism is part and parcel of the conduct of international affairs. But Israel should be judged by the same standards applied to all nations and to other democracies. Sometimes I think there’s a triple standard: one standard for the dictatorships, a second standard for the democracies and a third standard is the standard for Israel. We should be judged by one standard and allegations made against the State of Israel must be grounded in facts. One allegation that is not grounded in fact is the attempt to describe the Jews as foreign colonialists in their own homeland. This is one of the great lies of modern times.

“In my office, I have a signet ring that was loaned to me by Israel’s Department of Antiquities This ring was found next to the Western wall, but it dates back 2,800 years ago, two hundred years after King David declared Jerusalem as our people’s capital. This ring is a seal of a Jewish official, and his name is inscribed on it in Hebrew. The name is: Netanyahu. Netanyahu Ben-Yoash. That’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, the son of Jacob. One of Benjamin’s brothers was named Shimon, which also happens to be the first name of my good friend, Shimon Peres, the President of Israel. Nearly 4,000 years ago, Benjamin, Shimon and their ten brothers roamed the hills of Judea.

“Ladies and Gentlemen. The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied. The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital…

“Our soldiers and your soldiers fight against fanatic enemies that loathe our common values. In the eyes of these fanatics, we are you and you are us. To them, the only difference is that you are big and we are small. You see, you are the “great satan” and we are the “small satan.” There’s an important point here. This fanaticism’s hatred of Western civilization predates the establishment of modern Israel by a thousand years. Militant Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because of the West—because it sees Israel as an outpost of freedom and democracy that prevents them from overrunning the Middle East. That is why when Israel stands against its enemies—it stands against America’s enemies.”

You may read this speech in its entirety by clicking on the source link provided.

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