Minutes before Israeli President Shimon Peres took the stage, Liz Cheney told the AIPAC Policy Conference that she hoped, next year, there would be a new President of the United States speaking at AIPAC. That there would be regime change.
Then President Peres took the stage and wiped her words away.
To great applause he began: “Todah Rabah. Thank you President Obama for being such a good friend.”
His speech was filled with hope and pride. President Peres told the audience he was “Proud to be Jewish. Proud to be Israeli,” and proud to have served his country, the nation of Israel, for 65 years. He described his grandfather’s death, as he had been burnt in a synagogue during the Holocaust, and his grandfather’s words before he died that had become Peres’ guiding light – “Stay Jewish.”
But the strongest message in Peres’ speech was not personal, but political.
“I am proud for our alliance with the United States of America.” He said. Citing his decades of Israeli political leadership, Peres noted that “I have had the privilege of meeting all American presidents in the last 50 years. Democrats and Republicans.” He was thankful for all of their support for the state of Israel. Their commitment. And ”that commitment was and is bypartisan.”
But President Peres honed in on the leadership and commitment of President Barack Obama. “I know your commitment to the State of Israel is deep and profound.” To President Obama he declared, “Under your leadership, security cooperation between the United States of America and Israel has reached its highest level. We have a friend in the White House.”
President Peres highlighted Israel’s strength and ability to defend herself against the forces that seek to destroy her, from terrorism to nuclear weaponry, strongly proclaiming that Israel has “had to fight six wars in six decades. We did not lose one. We never will. We cannot afford it. We have to defend ourselves. Self defense is our right and obligation. Israel experienced the horror of war. It does not seek it. But if we are forced to fight, trust me we shall prevail.”
However, for Israel, “the pursuit of peace is not a passing opportunity. It is a moral imperative. It is the tenet of our nation’s security.”
With respect to the threat of Iran he asserted, “The US and Israel share the same goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. there is no space between us. Our message is clear. Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”
And once again, praise for President Obama.
“President Obama is leading and implementing an internationally complex & decisive policy. Imposing sanctions against Iran. President Obama made it clear that the United States of America will not permit Iran to become nuclear. He made it clear that containment is not a viable policy. And as the President stated, all options are on the table.”
“The United States and Israel share the same goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. there is no space between us. Our message is clear. Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”
“We are forever grateful to you for your unwavering support, your unbreakable alliance between the United States and Israel. … America is and will remain the indispensable leader of the free world. The indispensable friend of our people.”
“Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people.”