Netanyahu's AIPAC Speech: Sensible, Powerful, Personal

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 |  David Lazarus

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke via satellite to the AIPAC conference after cutting his Washington visit short in order to get back to Israel to oversee the response to escalating Hamas rocket fire.

In the speech, the prime minister did not shy away from Rep. Ilhan Omar's antisemitic tweet trying to reignite the horrific libel that Jewish finances control the world. Netanyahu told the 14,000-strong crowd gathered for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual conference: “Take it from this Benjamin, it's not about the Benjamins. The people of America support Israel not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values.”

Netanyahu went on to say that “those who seek to undermine American support for Israel must be confronted. They don't stop at criticism of Israel's policies, but spew venom that has long been directed at the Jewish people. To all the anti-Semites out there – we stand up, we fight, and we win,” the prime minister said to roaring applause.

In the 10-minute speech hampered by some minor broadcast glitches, US President Donald Trump was praised for his recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights “on behalf of all the people of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “The Golan Heights is indispensable for our defense. It's part of our history … and we shall never, ever give it up. It is part of Israel,” the prime minister confirmed.

Netanyahu also gave a well-articulated explanation of why Israel needs to be a nation-state for the Jewish people. “Israel is a home for all Jews,” he explained. “All Israelis are first-class citizens and all citizens have exactly the same individual rights, and these rights remain sacred,” he emphasized.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also attended the conference, and in his speech hailed Trump as “the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.”

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