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PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES VOICE SUPPORT OF ISRAEL AT AIPAC CONFERENCE

By: David Zam



As a sure sign of political discord in Washington, DC, representatives of AIPAC publicly rebuked a presidential hopeful — after he had harshly criticized a sitting president.

At the Israel lobby organization’s policy conference in
mid-March, which took place in the US capital, in front of some 18,000 attendees, Lillian Pinkus, a visibly upset AIPAC President, admonished Donald Trump on stage for criticizing President Obama and Hillary Clinton a day earlier.

“Whatever policy disagreements we may have, we must not condemn the sitting president on stage,” she said, with her voice cracking. “There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night, and for that we are deeply sorry.”

Chairman of the Board, Robert A. Cohen, announced that booing at and clapping for speakers who trashed opposing politicians was unacceptable at the event. “AIPAC doesn’t pick sides,” he said.

Trump, who was cheered wildly for noting that it was President Obama’s last year in office, said “Obama rewards our enemies,” and “Hillary was a total disaster as Secretary of State.” He continued: “Obama and Hillary have been very bad to Israel. Obama may be the worst thingto happen to Israel.”

Every major party candidate for president spoke at the dais, save Jewish senator from Vermont, Democrat Bernie Sanders.

GOP Republican frontrunner Trump, didn’t mince words in his speech. “I’m here to support our true ally and friend, Israel,” he said. Trump called the Iran deal brokered by the P5 “awful” and “bad for Israel, the Middle East, and the world.” The $150 billion channeled to Iran in the agreement, by his reckoning, was “unbelievable.” He predicted that the Islamic Republic could threaten with a nuclear bomb within several years and promised that he would stand up to Iran’s aggression” as president. “I know how to deal with aggression,” he asserted, “and that’s why I’ll win.”

Trump felt that the Middle East’s terror activity we’ve seen of late has Iran’s fingerprints all over it, specifically Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Iran, he is certain, rewards Palestinian terrorists with money and influences at least
two-dozen other countries. “I will dismantle Iran’s global terror network,” Trump promised, “We will enforce this deal like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before.”

The New York billionaire mogul and reality-TV host took aim at two other threats to Israel, the United Nations and Palestinian terror infrastructure. “The UN is incompetent and no friend of Israel,” Trump reminded everyone. “A [peace] agreement imposed by the UN would be a total disaster. And the US must use our veto. Which I willuse 100 percent. As president, treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end.”

Israel, Trump said, has always been willing to strike a deal with its neighbors – though they are not smart enough to accept it. As he noted, in the year 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered nearly the entire West Bank for use as aPalestinian state. His concessions were dismissed by then-PLO-leader Yasir Arafat. The Palestinians are the recalcitrant ones, Trump maintained, with “awful anti-Jew hatred taught to Palestinian children,” In a Palestinian society that glorifies terrorists, he said, “murderers are the heroes.” Israel, in contrast, “does not name squares after murderers.”

Finally, Trump noted that, under his purview, the US embassy will move “to the eternal capital of the Jewish State, Jerusalem.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, trailing a distant second to Trump in GOP delegates, began his speech with these words: “America will stand with Israel and defeat Islamic terror.”

Cruz spoke about his three trips to Israel as senator, including a visit to Israeli hospitals that treated Syrian refugees free of charge. He brought up his proposed legislation to ban the Iranian ambassador to the UN from entering the U.S., since he was involved in the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. It passed in both the Senate and House.

Taking a jab at the Obama administration, Cruz said that it was “unjust” for them to impose a travel ban on Israel in the summer of 2014, while not doing anything similar to countries committing far worse atrocities. He further called out Democrats for boycotting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech last March.

As for the “fundamentally immoral” Iran deal, Cruz claimed he’d “rip it to shreds on the first day,” since the Islamic Republic won’t follow the terms anyway. “If I am president, we will shoot down those Iranian missiles. Iran will shut down their nuclear program, or we will do it for them,” he said, comparing the deal to the failed 1938 agreement between British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler, which led to the Third Reich’s military advance.

If elected president, Cruz said, he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, yank federal funds from schools that boycott Israel, and veto any UN unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. “Israel, like America, is beacon of light to the world,” he said lavishly. Cruz closed his remarks with a declaration of solidarity: “Am Israel Hai!

Gov. of Ohio John Kasich, running third in the GOP delegate count, noted his 35-year-long support for Israel, and his role in helping erect a Holocaust monument in Ohio.

Kasich called for the suspension of the Iranian nuclear deal, particularly after recent test missiles were launched in contravention of international treaties. As president, Kasich said that he would “defeat ISIS and stop arms flows to Hezbollah.”

Kasich also spoke out against the BDS movement, and
anti-Semitism on college campuses. Regarding Israel, he noted the “culture of death that the Palestinian leadership has promoted for decades” and declared “Palestinians cannot continue to promote hatred.”

Frontrunner Democrat Hillary Clinton noted that though “the ideological gap between the parties has increased, there’s still common agreement on Israel.” She took a three-pronged approach to global security that focused on Iran’s aggression, the growing tide of extremism and efforts to delegitimize Israel. “The deal with Iran is making the world safer, including Israel,” she noted. “The Supreme Leader still calls all the shots in Iran. But we should support voices who want to bring change in Iran.” In other parts of the region, she said that “ISIS must not be contained; it must be defeated.”

On the issue of Israel, she noted that Palestinian leadership has to stop inciting violence.

“Children should not be taught to hate in schools,” she said, adding that she would oppose any attempts to “push a [unilateral two-state] solution” including in the UN. “Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their state,” she explained, while also saying that “[Israeli] settlements are not helpful to peace.”

Meanwhile, Clinton condemned BDS. “We have to fight against it,” she proclaimed. “Anti-Semitism has no place in American society.”

In her opinion, “It would be a mistake to cede the mantel of global security to anyone else,” but she by no means has universal support. Critiquing the former first lady, the Republican Jewish Coalition issued a statement in response to her remarks, saying: “Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric rings hollow. Under Secretary Clinton, the US-Israel relationship reached its lowest point and she supportedthe United States-brokered, ill-conceived and disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. Pro-Israel voters have learned from painful experience that there is a difference between political speeches and governing priorities. Hillary Clinton has proven time and again that talk is cheap.”

With the 2016 Presidential election fast approaching, time will tell which candidate will inhabit the White House and exactly how much they will do on Israel’s behalf. We must put our faith in Hashem and know that He and He alone controls the order of events.