Diario Judío México - Text of speech as delivered by AIPAC President Lee Rosenberg, April 14, 2010 on behalf of the American Jewish community at an event hosted by Hon. Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC in celebration of Israel’s 62nd year of independence.
At 6:00 pm on April 14th, 2010.
“Thank you Ambassador Oren and distinguished guests.
On November 29th 1947—on the jagged slopes of Turtle Bay in Manhattan, America’s 33rd President Harry Truman made a bold statement to world leaders at the United Nations—a resounding and unapologetic proclamation that was heard around the globe—the United States of America supports the creation of a modern Jewish state in Palestine.
‘I had faith in Israel before it was created,” the President said. “I believe it has a glorious future before it—not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.’
And so, we find ourselves here today; 62 years later—celebrating the independence of a miraculous nation—one which heeded President Truman’s eloquent words. Ladies and Gentlemen, the State of Israel is the embodiment of those great ideals upon which American civilization was founded.
A vibrant democracy; a beacon of freedom and progressive ideals; a nation of innovation; a nation which values the principles of liberty, equality and tolerance; a nation built on the ethics of tikkun olam; and at its fundamental core—a nation which not only prays for peace, but believes….in every sense of its being….in peace. It is a nation that acts to make peace a reality.
Israel’s quest for peace with her neighbors is so incredibly engrained in its national ethos that it crosses each and every spectrum of the country’s diverse society. The right and the left; Labor, Likud and Kadima. The religious and non-religious; the young and the old; Ashkenazi and Sephardic. Each share the same fundamental values—each share a basic innate respect for humanity—and each has worked and continues to work, toward making the dream of peace with her neighbors a reality.
Israel does so despite the threat of nuclear annihilation by countries just 1,000 miles away. Israel does so despite decades of war and terrorism aimed at its very destruction. And Israel does so in the face of enemies which continue to threaten her very existence.
Ladies and Gentlemen—Israel does so because of her inherent values, her principles and ethics.
And that, that is the true essence of why the hopes and dreams of Israel have found sanctuary in the hearts and homes of my nation: the United States.
That is why tonight we not only rejoice in the independence of the Jewish state, but in the 62 years of one of the most unique, vibrant and mutually advantageous relationships the world has ever seen: the relationship between the state of Israel and the United States of America.
It is a strategic alliance spanning six decades…but this isn’t a relationship to be measured in time, but rather in the weight of incalculable benefit to both nations.
At the United Nations—where dictators and foes alike profess their sheer hatred for America and for the ideals we represent. At the United Nations, no other nation in the world more consistently stands shoulder to shoulder with the United States as does Israel.
Israel stood by America in spirit and in action after the tragic events of 9-11. As both our great nations fight the same scourge of terrorism and Islamic extremism, it is Israel which serves on the front lines as an outpost of American interests in a dangerous part of the world.
Israel’s military expertise and the intelligence they share with us helps the United States remain on the offense against those who seek America’s destruction in some of the darkest and most difficult places on the planet. Places so remote, so hostile–Israel’s assistance in this battle is invaluable.
On the battlefield—from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond it is Israeli technological advances which are saving the lives of literally thousands of brave U.S. soldiers—each of whom we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to.
So, when those who question Israel’s right to exist—those who question America’s courageous sacrifices around the globe—when those same people question the value of a 62 year friendship between these stalwart allies. I say to them—ask the family of an American serviceman or woman whose leg was spared or whose life was saved because of Israeli made protective armor. I say, ask them about the value of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
The U.S.-Israel friendship is one that crosses thousands of miles and touches millions of lives from Birmingham to Be’ersheva, St. Louis to Sderot.
Whether it is discovering new life saving medical advances or developing state-of-the-art energy alternatives, America and Israel are working together to make our world a better place.
Ladies and Gentlemen, none of us should take lightly the adversity Israel has overcome in just 62 years—the immeasurable successes born out of defeating countless obstacles in her midst. But there are still dreams to be realized. Dreams of peace, dreams of hope. Or as you say in Hebrew: Ha’tikvah.
Let be make one thing perfectly clear though. It cannot happen, it will not happen without a strong, unwavering, and unshakable bond between the United States and Israel. And so, I say to you here this evening, on behalf of the American’s in this room—that we will work tirelessly to ensure that the bonds—eternally forged by President Truman 62 years ago—will be strengthened—so that when we meet again to celebrate Israel’s 63rd year of independence, we can say the United States and Israel remain standing, as always, steadfast…together. Thank you very much.”