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Netanyahu to AIPAC: Israel Has No Greater Friend than America

03-27-2017
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WASHINGTON -- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) kicked off the second day of its annual conference with a speech from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking to the crowds via satellite from Jerusalem on Monday, Netanyahu began his address with praise for U.S. policy makers.

"Thank you to the bipartisan leadership of Congress and to the many members of the House and Senate who have come to show support for the great Israel-U.S. alliance," Netanyahu.

"I have said this before and I will say it again, Israel has no greater friend than America and America has no greater friend than Israel," he continued.

"I am confident our alliance will grow even stronger in the years ahead," he predicted. "As you know, I had an exceptionally warm meeting with President Trump last month. I want to thank the president for his strong support for Israel."

Netanyahu also took the time to congratulate the newly appointed U.S ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, on his role and invited him to visit Jerusalem.

Netanyahu Takes on BDS Movement

The prime minister took a sharp tone, however, in speaking out against efforts to boycott and divest Israel.

"We will defend ourselves not only on the physical battlefield, but also on the moral battlefield," he vowed. "We will defend ourselves against slander and boycotts. We will speak clearly against anti-Semitism from any quarter."

Netanyahu concluded by thanking AIPAC for being a "critical partner in strengthening the alliance between our countries."

"Our commitment to Israel makes you a part of the rebirth of the Jewish people, the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in our ancestral homeland," he said.

The Israeli leader's words echoed those of Vice President Mike Pence, who also had high hopes for the future of U.S.-Israeli relations under the Trump administration.

"For the first time in a long time, America has a president who stands with our allies and stands up to our enemies," Pence remarked Sunday.

"Under President Trump, the United States will no longer allow the United Nations to be used as a forum for invective against Israel or the West," Pence stated.  

The Threat of Iran

Beyond strengthening that bond between the U.S. and Israel, another topic loomed at the conference: Iran.

"Both our governments recognize that foremost, among those challenges remains Iran. We both recognize that the nuclear deal does not block Iran's path to a bomb," commented Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.

Naftali Bennett, Israel's minister of education, told CBN News the time to act is now.

"We've got an Iran that has a goal to create a global hegemony among the entire region. We cannot allow Iran to threaten the free world with Iranian nuclear bombs. We have to stop them. Today they do not have those nuclear weapons but they are on a path to reaching them," he warned.

He says it's a challenge that the two allies can meet.

"We have to stop that path. There's a few ways we can do it and we're working together with the United States," said Bennett.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair agrees that it's time for the West to push back against Iran.

"Be firm. Stand up…If you had a benign regime in Iran all of the problems in the Middle East would be easier to resolve," suggested Blair.

And while the conference did see its fair share of protests, mostly from Jewish protestors who say AIPAC does not represent them, the group's message goes on and the meeting will continue through Tuesday.

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