Presidential candidates address AIPAC in Washington DC, speaking on issues such as Iran, US-Israel relations, Hezbollah, two-state solution, and much more
United States presidential candidates spoke at the AIPAC annual policy conference on Monday evening in Washington DC. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the United State’s pro-Israel lobbying committee that works directly with Congress and American leadership on policies and relations between the Jewish State and United States. Their annual conference is attended by thousands of political figures, departments and leaders from Israel and North America.
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz all addressed Israel, relations with the United States and their prospective agendas for foreign relations between both countries.
Donald Trump started his speech vocalizing his support for the State of Israel. “I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel. I’m a newcomer to politics, but not to backing the Jewish state,” addressing the nuclear deal with Iran, Hezbollah and Iran’s recent violation of the nuclear agreement when it tested two ballistic missiles in which was “painted on those missiles – in both Hebrew and Farsi – were the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth”. What kind of demented minds write that in Hebrew? And here’s another twisted part – testing these missiles does not even violate the horrible deal that we made!”
Trump criticized recent reports that the Obama Administration may use a United Nations Security Resolution to push for a two-state solution, stating “An agreement imposed by the UN would be a total and complete disaster. The United States must oppose this resolution and use the power of our veto. Why? Because that’s not how you make a deal. Deals are made when parties come to the table and negotiate. Each side must give up something it values in exchange for something it requires. A deal that imposes conditions on Israel and the Palestinian Authority will do nothing to bring peace. It will only further delegitimize Israel and it would reward Palestinian terrorism, because every day they are stabbing Israelis – and even Americans,” adding “When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state.”
On US-Israel relations and in reaction to President Obama’s refusal to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump stated “When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on Day One. I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we will be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region.” He stated that “President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue, but it’s precisely the opposite. Already, half the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS in Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation but when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace actually rise. That’s what will happen when I’m president.”
On the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, which President Obama and president before him have refused to relocate to Jerusalem- Israel’s capital city, Trump stated “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.” He finished his speech stating “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel and they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish State and it will forever exist as a Jewish State.”
Trump has been harshly criticized for his claim that the United States should not provide military aid to Israel- a claim vastly different to his overall rhetoric and vocal support for the State of Israel.
Republican candidate Senator Ted Cruz also addressed the conference. He criticized Donald Trump when he stated “My leading Republican opponent promised he, as president, would be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. Let me be very clear, as president I will not be neutral. America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” He also spoke out on Trump’s referral to “Palestine”, stating, “Perhaps to the surprise of the previous speaker, Palestine has not existed since 1948.” He ended his speech stating “Am Yisrael Chai!” (The nation of Israel lives).
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton addressed the peace process, BDS movement, Hezbollah, Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East and improving the United States’ relations with Israel. She stated that “One of the first things I’ll do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House.” She stated “America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security and survival, and anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being our president.”
Opposite to Cruz and Trump, Clinton vocalized support for the nuclear deal made with Iran stating, “I believe Israel and the US are safer but our approach must be ‘distrust and verify,'” adding that “Iran must understand that if we see any violation we will act to stop it, with force if necessary.”