In a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference this morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the US-Israel relationship remains strong despite controversy over his speech to the US Congress on Tuesday. Netanyahu said that the allies will “weather this current disagreement.”
Due to public interest, The Bronx Chronicle excerpted those parts of PM Netanyahu’s speech addressing the controversy:
“My friends, I bring greetings to you from Jerusalem, our eternal undivided capital.
And I also bring to you news that you may not have heard. You see, I’ll be speaking in Congress tomorrow.
You know, never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given. And I’m not going to speak today about the content of that speech, but I do want to say a few words about the purpose of that speech.
First, let me clarify what is not the purpose of that speech. My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.
I deeply appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel, security cooperation, intelligence sharing, support at the U.N., and much more, some things that I, as prime minister of Israel, cannot even divulge to you because it remains in the realm of the confidences that are kept between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. I am deeply grateful for this support, and so should you be.
My speech is also not intended to inject Israel into the American partisan debate. An important reason why our alliance has grown stronger decade after decade is that it has been championed by both parties and so it must remain.
[American presidents have] backed Israel in defending itself at war and in our efforts to achieve a durable peace with our neighbors. Working together has made Israel stronger; working together has made our alliance stronger.
And that’s why the last thing that anyone who cares about Israel, the last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue. And I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here this week as doing that. Israel has always been a bipartisan issue.
Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.
Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Look at that graph. Look at that map. And you see on the wall, it shows Iran training, arming, dispatching terrorists on five continents. Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons.
And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.
The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.
In our part of the world and increasingly, in every part of the world, no one makes alliances with the weak. You seek out those who have strength, those who have resolve, those who have the determination to fight for themselves. That’s how alliances are formed.
So we defend ourselves and in so doing, create the basis of a broader alliance.
And today, we are no longer silent; today, we have a voice. And tomorrow, as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state, I plan to use that voice.
I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel, that’s devouring country after country in the Middle East, that’s exporting terror throughout the world and that is developing, as we speak, the capacity to make nuclear weapons, lots of them.
Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States agree that Iran should not have nuclear weapons, but we disagree on the best way to prevent Iran from developing those weapons.
Now disagreements among allies are only natural from time to time, even among the closest of allies. Because they’re important differences between America and Israel.
Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States will continue to stand together because America and Israel are more than friends. We’re like a family. We’re practically mishpocha.
Now, disagreements in the family are always uncomfortable, but we must always remember that we are family.
Rooted in a common heritage, upholding common values, [and] sharing a common destiny. And that’s the message I came to tell you today. Our alliance is sound. Our friendship is strong. And with your efforts it will get even stronger in the years to come.
Thank you, AIPAC. Thank you, America. God bless you all.”