Netanyahu: Israel Most Pro-American State
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was drawing a line between "life and death" when he addressed the 14,000 attendees at this year's American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference Tuesday.
Netanyahu set the tone from the outset:
"I bring you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people," he began.
He thanked participants for their tireless efforts to strengthen America's ties with Israel, noting that "there is no country on earth that is more pro-American than Israel."
"My friends, I've come here to draw a clear line," he continued, one that distinguishes "between life and death, between right and wrong, between the blessings of a brilliant future and the curses of a dark past."
He spoke first of the Israeli army field hospital in the Golan Heights where nearly 1,000 wounded Syrians have received the medical care they needed.
"They all tell the same story," he said. "They say, all these years [President Bashar] Assad lied to us. He told us that Iran was our friend and Israel was our enemy. But Iran is killing us and Israel, Israel is saving us."
In the clearest possible terms, Netanyahu explained why the world should not be fooled by Iran's "smiling president and smooth-talking foreign minister," whose "soothing words don't square with Iran's aggressive actions."
"Seventy years ago, our people, the Jewish people, were left for dead," he said of the horrific Nazi genocide.
"We came back to life. We will never be brought to the brink of extinction again," he said, vowing that as prime minister, he will do whatever is necessary to defend the State of Israel.
Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian talks, Netanyahu said "peace is Israel's highest aspiration."
He then spoke in some detail of what that could mean for Israelis, Palestinians, and the whole region, saying "we all have so much to gain from peace."
"Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, where the civil rights of all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are guaranteed," he continued.
"The land of Israel is the place where the identity of the Jewish people was forged," Netanyahu said.
He cited Abraham, Jacob, and King David and admonished the Palestinians to stop "denying history abandon the fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees or amputating parts of the Negev and the Galilee."
He then challenged the Palestinian leadership to "stand with Israel and the United States on the right side of the moral divide, the side of peace, reconciliation and help."
And last but not least, Netanyahu dissected the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, saying "BDS is just plain wrong it turns morality on its head."
"The BDS movement is not about legitimate criticism. It's about making Israel illegitimate. It presents a distorted and twisted picture of Israel to the naïve and to the ignorant. BDS is nothing but a farce," he said, saying it really stands for "bigotry, dishonesty and shame."
The prime minister ended his address with "a message from the Bible."
"I have put before you life and death, blessing and the curse. Choose life so that you and your offspring may live," he read.
"America and Israel stand for life," he said, on the right side of the moral divide and on the right side of history. So stand tall, stand strong, stand proud," he said, as the audience rose to its feet in affirmation of his message.
Click here to read Netanyahu's speech in full.