JERUSALEM, Israel – President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Israel has “never had a better friend” in the White House than him.
The president was speaking to thousands of people at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida over the weekend. He touched on numerous issues that are important to Israelis and Jews, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The United States officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year, a move that angered many Palestinians and pleased Israelis.
“For over 20 years, every previous president promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and they never acted. They never did it. They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion. But unlike other politicians, I kept my promises,” he said.
Watch full speech below. The speech begins at 1:00:43
Trump also claimed that some American Jews “don’t love Israel enough” because they voted for Democrats – a statement that sparked accusations of Trump invoking the anti-Semitic “disloyalty” trope.
“So many of you voted for people in the last administration,” Trump said. “Someday you’ll have to explain that to me because I don’t think they liked Israel too much, I’m sorry.”
The president also attacked the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign against Israel and Democrat supporters like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Although Trump did not mention Omar by name, he said her previous statement that supporting Israel “is all about the Benjamins” is unacceptable.
“My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric,” he said.
During his address, Trump also vowed to help protect Israel from Iran and make sure the Islamic Republic never gets its hands on a nuclear weapon.
"We paid 150 billion dollars to Iran, 1.8 billion in cash, we got nothing. But that's a different country today,” said Trump. “They don't have money. We put sanctions on them, the strongest sanctions ever imposed on a country….You can never give them a nuclear weapon.”
The president also blasted the regime for killing demonstrators last month who protested against skyrocketing gas prices and the country’s weak economy.
“In recent weeks, we've seen the Iranian people rising up to reclaim the noble destiny of their nation. In response, the dictatorship has killed hundreds and hundreds and probably thousands of those people, probably thousands,” he said. “America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom.”
Las Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam presented Trump with a menorah at the summit and thanked him for recently recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel and for declaring that Jewish settlement communities in the West Bank are not illegal under international law.
“President Trump knows that America stands tallest when it stands with its true friends and allies. He knows that Israel’s interests are US interests,” Miriam Adelson said.