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March 26, 2019 1:26 pm

Netanyahu Tells AIPAC Conference: Those Seeking to Divide US and Israel Will Fail

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Speaking via a satellite feed from Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, March 26, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque.

The US-Israel relationship must not be taken for granted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at AIPAC’s Policy Conference in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

Netanyahu had been scheduled to speak in person at the annual gathering, but was forced to cut short his US trip after a Hamas rocket destroyed a home north of Tel Aviv on Monday, and he delivered his address via a satellite feed instead.

“In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the rise of forces who want to pull America and Israel apart,” Netanyahu told the audience. “So I can tell you one thing: They will fail. They will fail. Our shared values are too deep, our shared interests too strong, our shared destiny too intertwined.”

“But having said that, I will also tell you: We must never take anything for granted,” he said. “Those who seek to defame this great organization, AIPAC; those who seek to undermine American support for Israel; they must be confronted.”

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“Despite what they claim,” he added, “they do not merely criticize the policies of Israel’s government — that happens every five minutes — they do something else. They spew venom that has long been directed at the Jewish people. Again the Jews are cast as a force for evil. Again the Jews are charged with disloyalty. Again the Jews are said to have too much influence, too much power, too much money.”

“You know what the best way to respond to this kind of hatred is?” Netanyahu asked. “We read it. We read it just a few days ago in the Book of Esther, when Mordechai confronted Haman of Persia. The best way to respond to those who spout this kind of hatred is not to bow down to them, it’s to stand up to them.”

“So, to all the antisemites out there,” Netanyahu said, “whether they live in modern Persia in the palaces of Tehran or the bunkers of Beirut; whether they march through the streets of Charlottesville or murder worshipers in a synagogue in Pittsburgh; whether they voice their hatred in political parties in Britain, or Europe, or the United States…The Jewish people do not bow down. We stand up. We fight. And we win.”

“Some people will just never get it,” Netanyahu added. “They’ll never understand why the vast majority of Americans — Jews and non-Jews alike — support Israel. Take it from this Benjamin, it’s not about the Benjamins [a reference to a recent controversial tweet by Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar].”

“The reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it’s because they share our values,” he went on to say. “It’s because America and Israel share a love of freedom and democracy. It’s because we cherish individual rights and the rule of law. It’s because we don’t judge people by the color of their skin, their religion or their sexual orientation.”

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