tv Vice President Biden CSPAN March 9, 2013 10:25am-11:05am EST
threat to both america and israel and its quest to become a nuclear power continues. we look forward to continue to work closely with the administration and congress to ensure that iran never acquires the bond. [applause] we thank you, mr. vice president, for your commitment to direct negotiations between israel and the palestinians. that was clear when you took a stand against the palestinian statehood bid at the united nations. [applause] we remain hopeful that we can work together to forge a lasting negotiated peace resulting in a jewish state israel living side-by-side with a demilitarized palestinian state. [applause]
but perhaps the most tangible evidence of your support has been through your commitment to foreign aid into israel missile defense programs. because of this administrations dedication to israel, more than $400 million has been invested in iron dome. [applause] your support, mr. vice president during operation killer of defense and commitment to these life-saving systems enables israel to defend itself while preventing a wider conflict. million of israelis are able to sleep more soundly tonight because of the investment and commitment, you, president obama, and congress have made to israel's security. [applause] vice president biden, please give our thanks to president obama for his support in strengthening the u.s.-israel alliance. [applause]
and please thank him for going to israel in a few weeks. [applause] this trip sends an important message to the people of israel and the world about america's commitment to the jewish state. ladies and gentlemen, i am honored to introduce and welcome a friend who stands with us now and had stood with us always, a steadfast supporter of the u.s.-israel relationship, the vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] >> that was really nice. thank you, mr. president. it's great to be here. it's great to be here. ladies and gentlemen, oh, what
a difference four years make. i look out there and see an old friend, annette lantos. annette, how are you? her husband tom lantos, a survivor, was my assistant, was my foreign policy adviser for years, and tom used to say all the time, joe -- he talked that hungarian accent -- joe, we must do another fundraiser for aipac. [laughter] i did more fundraisers for aipac in the 1970s and early 1980s than -- just about as many as anybody. thank god you were not putting on shows like this. we would have never made it. we would have never made it. my lord, it's so great to be with you all and great to see you. mr. president, thank you so much for that kind introduction, and president-elect bob cohen, the entire aipac board of directors, i'm delighted to be with you today, but i'm particularly delighted to be with an old friend -- and he is an old friend.
we use that phrase lightly in washington, but it's real, and i think he'd even tell you. ehud barak, it's great to be with you. great to be with you. [applause] there is a stand-up guy. there is a stand-up guy, standing up for his country, putting his life on the line for his country, and continuing to defend the values that we all share. i am a fan of the man. thanks for being here, ehud. it is good to be with you again. ladies and gentlemen, a lot of you know me if you're old enough. some of you do not know me, and understand i can't see now, but on the bleachers on either side, i am told you have 2,000 young aipac members here.
we've talked about this a lot over the years. we've talked about it a lot. this is the lifeblood. this is the connective tissue. this is the reason why no american will ever forget. you have got to keep raising it. ladies and gentlemen, we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder, a lot of us, on the auditorium, defending the legitimate interests of israel and our enduring commitment over the last four years. many of you in this hall -- i won't start to name them, but many of you in this hall, starting with annette lantos' husband, who is not here, god rest his soul -- many of you in this hall have been my teachers, my mentors, and my educators, and that is not hyperbole. you literally have been, but my education started, as some of you know, at my father's dinner table. my father is what you would have called a righteous christian. we gathered at my dinner table
to have conversation and, incidentally, eat, as we were growing up. it was at that table i first heard the phrase it is overused sometimes today, but in a sense not used meaningfully enough, first i heard the phrase "never again." it was that table that i learned that the only way to ensure that it could never happen again was the establishment and existence of a secure jewish state of israel. [applause] i remember my father, a christian, being baffled at the debate taking place at the end of world war ii, talking about it -- i don't remember it at
could be a debate about whether or not, within the community, of whether or not to establish the state of israel. my father would say, were he a jew, he would never, never entrust the security of his people to any individual nation, no matter how good and how noble it was, like the united states. everybody knows it's real but i want you to know one thing -- with some of you -- i have met with a lot of you over the last 40 years, but the last four years as well, president obama shares my commitment. we both know that israel faces new threats, new pressures, and uncertainty. the defense minister and i have discussed it often. in the area of national security, the threats to israel's existence continue, but they have changed as the world and the region have changed over the last decade. the arab spring, at once full of both hope and uncertainty, has required israel and the united states to reassess old and settled relationships. iran's dangerous nuclear weapons program and its continued support of terrorist
organizations like hezbollah and hamas not only endanger israel but endanger the world. [applause} attempts of much of the world to isolate and delegitimize the state of israel are increasingly common and taken as the norm in other parts of the world. all these pressures are similar but different and they've put enormous pressure on the state of israel. we understand that and we especially understand that if we make a mistake, it is not a threat to our existence, but if israel makes a mistake, it could be a threat to its very existence. [applause] that is why from the moment the
president took office, he has acted swiftly and decisively to make clear to the whole world and to israel that even as circumstances have changed, one thing has not, our deep commitment to the security of the state of israel. that has not changed. that will not change as long as i and he are president and vice president of the united states. it is in our naked self- interest, beyond the moral imperative. all of you, i thank you for continuing to remind the nation and the world of that commitment, and while we may not always agree on tactics -- i have been there for a lot. i have been there for a lot of prime ministers. we have always disagreed on tactics.
we have always disagreed at some point or another on tactics. we have never disagreed on the strategically imperative that israel must be about to protect its own, must be about to do it on its own, and we must always stand with israel to be sure that can happen. [applause] and we will. that is why we work so hard to make sure israel has its qualitative edge in the mist of the great recession. i have served with eight presidents of the united states of america, and i can assure you unequivocally, no president has done as much to physically secure the state of israel is president barack obama. [applause] president obama last year requested $3.1 billion in military assistance for israel, the most in history. he has directed close coordination strategically and operational between our government and our israel partners, including our political, military, and intelligence leadership.
i can say with certitude, in the last eight presidents, i do not know any time when there have been many meetings as much coordination between our intelligence services and our military. we are getting tired of traveling back across the ocean, i think. under this administration, we have held the most regular and largest ever joint military exercises. we have invested $275 million in iron dome, including $70 million that the president directed to be spent last year on american bases to increase the production of iron dome batteries and interceptors. [applause] not long ago, i would have had to describe to an audience what iron dome was, how it would work, why funding it mattered. i do not have to explain to
anybody anymore. everybody gets it. everybody saw. the world saw firsthand why it was and remained so critical. for too long, when those sirens blared in the streets and the cities bordering gaza, the only defense had been a bomb shelter, but late last year, iron dome made a difference. when the launched rockets rained on israel, iron dome shot them out of the sky, intercepting nearly 400 rockets in november alone. it was our unique partnership -- israel and the united states -- that pioneered this technology and funded it, and it
is in that same spirit that we are working with israel to join and develop new systems called arrow and david's sling, interceptors that can defeat long-range threats from iran, syria, and hezbollah, equally as urgent. [applause] we are working to deploy a powerful new radar, networked with american early-warning satellites that can buy israel valuable time in the event of an attack. this is what we do. this is what we do to ensure israel can counter and defeat any threat from any corner. [applause] but that is only the first piece of this equation.
let me tell you and i expect i share the view of many of you that have been involved with aipac for a long time. let me tell you what worries me the worst, what worries more than anytime in the 40 years i have been engaged and is different than any time in my career and that is the wholesale seemingly coordinated effort to delegitimize israel as a jewish state. that is the single most dangerous, pernicious change that has taken place, in m humble opinion, since i have been engaged. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, it
matters. it matters. to put it bluntly, there is only one nation, only one nation in the world that has unequivocally without hesitation and consistently confronted the efforts to delegitimize israel. at every point in out administrative, at every juncture, we have stood up on the legitimacy on behalf of legitimacy of the state of israel. president obama has been a bulwark against those insidious efforts in every step of the world. wherever he goes in the world, he makes clear that although he wants better relations with muslim-majority countries, israel's legitimacy and our
support for it is not a matter of debate. [applause] it is not a matter of debate. [applause] it is simple, and he means it. [applause] it is not a matter of debate. do not raise it with us. do not raise it with us. it is not negotiable. as recently as last year, the only country on the united nations human rights council to vote against -- i think it is 36 countries. do not hold me the exact number. the only country on the human rights council of the united nations to vote against the establishment of a fact-finding mission on settlements was the united states of america. we opposed the unilateral efforts of the palestinian authority's to circumvent direct negotiations by pushing for statehood and multilateral
organizations like unesco. we stood strong with israel and its right to defend itself after a gallstone report was issued in 2009 while the rest of the world, including some of our good friends, were prepared to embrace the report. we came out straightforwardly, expressed our concern and with recommendation. when israel was isolated in the aftermath of the gaza flotilla in 2012, i was in africa. we spent a lot of time on the phone. ehud and -- the defense minister and i and bb and i spent a lot of time on that phone with my interceding going to the united nations directly by telephone, speaking with the secretary-general, making sure that one thing was made clear. israel had the right to impose that blockade. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, that is why i refuse to attend events such as the 10th anniversary of 2001 world conference on racism that shamefully equated zionism with racism. [applause] that is why we rejected anti- semitic rhetoric from any corner and from leaders of any nation, and that is why i am proud to say my friend, the new secretary of state, john kerry spoke out against that kind of language in ankara just this friday.
[applause] by the way, he is a good man. you are going to be happy with kerry. it was in the strongest terms that we vigorously opposed the palestinian bid for nonmember observer status in the general assembly, and we will continue to oppose any efforts to establish a state of palestine through unilateral actions. there is no shortcut to peace. there is no shortcut to face- to-face negotiations. there is no shortcut to guarantees made looking in the eyes of the other party. ladies and gentleman, israel's own leaders currently understand the imperative of peace. prime minister netanyahu, defense minister barak, president peres, they have all called for a two-state solution and an absolute secure democratic and jewish state of israel that live side-by-side, an impendent palestinian state, but it takes two to tango, and
the rest of the arab world has to get in the game. [applause] we are under no illusions about how difficult it will be to achieve. even some of you in the audience said, why do we about talk it anymore? well, it is going to require hard steps on both sides, but it is in all of our interests -- israel's interest, the united states' interest, the interest of the palestinian people. we all have a profound interest in peace, so to use an expression of a former president, bill clinton, we have got to be caught trying. we have got to be caught trying, so we remain deeply engaged. as president obama has said, while there are those who question whether this goal may ever be reached, we make no apologies for continue to pursue that goal to pursue a better future, and he will make
that clear when he goes to israel later this month. we are also mindful that pursuing a better future for israel means helping israel confront the myriads of threats it faces in the neighborhood. it is a tough neighborhood, and it starts with iran. it is not only in israel's interest, and everybody should -- it is not only in israel's interest that iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. it is in the interest of the united states of america. [applause] it is simple. as a matter of fact, it is in the interest of the entire world. [applause] iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon not only would present an existential threat to israel, it would present a threat to our allies and our partners and
to the united states, and it would trigger an arms race -- a nuclear arms race in the region and make the world a whole lot less stable. we have a shared strategic commitment. let me make clear what that commitment is. it is to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, period. period. end of discussion. period. to prevent, not contain, prevent. [applause] the president flatly stated that, as many of you in this room have heard me say, and he always kids me about this. we will be in the security room, and i know that debbie
wasserman-schultz knows this because she hears it. he always says, you know, he will turn to other people and say, as joe would say, big nations cannot bluff. big nations cannot bluff. presidents of the united states cannot and do not bluff. president barack obama is not bluffing. [applause] he is not bluffing. [applause] we are not looking for war. we are looking to and ready to negotiate peacefully, but all options including military force are on the table, but as i made clear at the munich security conference last month, our strong preference -- the world's preference -- is for a diplomatic solution, so while that window is closing, we believe there is still time and
space to achieve the outcome. we are in constant dialogue, sharing information with the israeli military, the israeli intelligence service, israeli political establishment at every level. we are taking all of the steps required to get there, but i want to make clear to you something -- god forbid the need to act occurs, it is critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power. we did everything that reasonably could have been expected to avoid any confrontations. that matters because god forbid if we have to act, it is important that the rest of the world is with us. we have a united international community. [applause]
we have a united international community right behind these unprecedented sanctions. we have left iran more isolated that ever. when we came to office, as you remember, not because of the last administration, just a reality, iran was on the ascendancy in the region. it is no longer on the ascendancy. the purpose of this pressure is not to punish. it is to convince iran to make good on its international obligations. put simply, we are sharpening a choice that the iranian leadership has to make. they can make their obligation to meet their obligations and give the international community ironclad confidence in the nature of their program or they can continue down the path that they are on to further isolate
and mounting pressure of the world, but even preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon still leaves them a dangerous neighbor, particularly to israel. they are using terrorist proxies to spread violence in the region and beyond region, putting israelis, americans, citizens of every continent in danger. for too long hezbollah has tried to pose as nothing more than a political and social welfare group while plotting against innocence in eastern europe, from eastern europe to east africa, southeast asia to south america. we know what israel knows. hezbollah is a terrorist organization. period. [applause] we are urging every nation in the world that we deal with -- and we deal with them all -- to start treating hezbollah as such and naming them as terrorist organizations.
[applause] this is not just about a threat to israel and the united states. this is about global terrorist organizations that have targets people on several continents. we will say and we will do our part to stop that, and we ask the world to do the same. that is why we have been talking to our friends in europe to forcefully declare hezbollah a terrorist organization. this past month, i have made the case to the leading european heads of state, as barak and israelis know, together, we have to continue to confront hezbollah wherever it sows the seeds of hatred and stands against the nations that sponsored campaigns of terror. ladies and gentle, the united states and israel have a shared interest in syria as well. assad has shown his father's disregard for human life and dignity, engaging in the brutal murder of his citizens.
our position on that tragedy cannot be clearer -- assad must go, but we are not signing up for one murderous gang replacing another in damascus. [applause] that is why our focus is on supporting legitimate opposition not only committed to a peaceful syria but to a peaceful region. that is why we are carefully vetting those to whom we provide assistance. that is why while putting relentless pressure on assad and sanctioning the pro-regime iranian-back militia, we have also designated al-nusra upfront as a terrorist organization and because we recognize the grave danger of assad's chemical and biological arsenal pose to israel and the united states and the whole world, we have set a clear red line against the use and the transfer of those weapons, and we will work together to prevent
this conflict and these horrific weapons from threatening israel's security. while we try to ensure an end to the dictatorship in syria, we have supported and will support a genuine transition to an egyptian democracy. we have no illusions. we know how difficult this will be and how difficult it is. there has obviously been a dramatic change in egypt. a lot of it has given us hope and a lot if it has given us pause and a lot or it has caused fears in other quarters. it is not about us but it profoundly affects us. we need to be invested in egypt's success and stability. a stable, successful egypt will translate into a stable region. we are not looking at what is happening in egypt through rose-colored glasses. again, our eyes are wide open. we have no illusions about the challenges that we face, but we also know this -- there's no legitimate alternative, at this point, to engagement.
only through engagement that with egypt that we can focus egypt's leaders on the need to repair international obligations -- respect international obligations, including and especially its peace treaty with israel. it is only through active engagement that we can help ensure that hamas does not rearm through the sinai and put the people of israel at risk. it is only through engagement that we can concentrate egypt's government on the imperative of
confronting extremists, and it is only through engagement that we can encourage egypt's leaders to make reforms that will spark economic growth and stabilize the democratic process, and it is all tough, and there is no certainty. there is no certitude about anything in the arab spring. i expect president obama to cover each of these issues in much greater detail. i have learned one thing, as i was telling the president. i learned, it is never a good idea, ehud, to steal the president's thunder. it is never a good idea to say what he is going to say the next day, so i am not going to any further detail on this, but much greater detail -- he will discuss this when he goes to israel later this month, just before passover begins. i have to admit, i am a little jealous that he gets to be the one to say "this year in jerusalem" but i am the vice president. i am not the president. [applause] when i told him that, i am not
sure he thought i was serious or not but anyway. [laughter] and it will come as no surprise to you, the president and i not only are partners, we've become friends and he and i have spoken at length about this trip and i can assure you he is particularly looking forward to having a chance to hear directly from the people of israel, and beyond their political leaders, and particularly the younger generation of israelis an i must note, just as i'm getting a chance to speak to 2,000 young american jews involved and committed to the state of israel and the relationship with
the united states, he is as anxious to do what i got a chance to do when i was there last, ehud, with you as you flew me along the line. i got to go to tel aviv university and speak to several thousand young israelis. the vibrancy, the optimism, the absolute commitment is contagious, and he is looking forward to seeing it and feeling it and tasting it. the president looks forward to having conversations about their hopes and their aspirations, about their astonishing world- leading technological achievements, about the future they envision for themselves and for their country, about how different the world they face is from the one their parents faced, even if many of the threats are the same. these are really important conversations for the president to have and to hear and for them to hear. these are critically important. i get kidded -- again, to quote debbie as she kids me sometimes. everybody quotes -- democrat and republican -- quotes tip o'neill saying, all politics is local. with all due respect, lonnie, i think that is not right. i think all politics is personal and i mean it. all politics is personal and it is building personal relationships and trust and exposure, talking to people that really matters, particularly in foreign policy, so ladies and gentlemen, let me end where i
began, by reaffirming our commitment to the state of israel. it is not only a long-standing moral commitment, it is a strategic commitment. an independent israel, secure in its own borders, recognized by the world is in the practical strategic interest of the united states of america. i used to say when i -- lonnie's brother used to say, if there were no israel, we would have to invent one.
ladies and gentlemen, we also know that it is critical to remind every generation of americans, as you are doing with your children here today, it is critical to remind our children, my children, your children -- that is why the first time i ever took the three of my children separately to europe, the first place i took them was dachau. we flew to munich and went to dachau. the first thing they ever did, as annette will remember because it is important that all our children and grandchildren understand that this is a never- ending requirement. the preservation of an independent jewish state is the ultimate guarantor. it is the only certain guarantor of freedom and security for the jewish people in the world. [applause] that was most poignantly pointed out to me when i was a young senator making my first trip to israel.
i had the great, great honor -- and that is not hyperbole -- of getting to meet for the first time and subsequently -- i met her beyond that -- golda meir. she was the prime minister. now, i am sure every kid up there said, you cannot be that old, senator. i hope that's what you're saying, but seriously, the first trip i ever made -- y'all know those double doors -- you go in the office -- and the blond furniture and the desk on the left side, if my memory serves me correctly and golda meir, as the prime minister and defense minister, she had those maps behind her that -- you know, you could pull down all those maps like you had in geography class in high school and she sat behind her desk, and i sat in the chair in front of her desk, and a young man was sitting to my right who was her assistant. his name was yitzhak rabin. [laughter] seriously, that is a true story, and she sat there chain-smoking and reading letters, reading letters to me, letters from the front in the six-day war. she read the letters about and then told me how this young man or woman had died and missed her family.
and this went on for i do not know how long. i guess she could tell i was visibly moved by this and i was getting depressed about it and she suddenly looked at me and said she looked at me, she said, senator, would you like a photo opportunity? [laughter] and i looked at her, i said, well, yes, madam prime minister, and we walk out those doors, we stood there. no statements and we are standing next to one another, look at this array of media, television and photojournalists, snapping pictures. we are looking straight ahead. without looking at me, she speaks to me, she said, senator, do not look so sad. she said, we have a secret weapon. we have a secret weapon in our confrontation in this part of the world, and i thought, she's about to lean over and tell me
about a system or something. you can see the picture. i still have them. i turn to look at her -- you know, we were supposed to be looking straight ahead and i said, madam prime minister -- she never turned her head, kept looking -- she said, our secret weapon, senator, is we have no place else to go. we have no place else to go. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, our job is to make sure there is always a place to go, that there is always an israel, that there is always a secure israel, and there is an israel that can care for itself. my father was right. you are right. it is the ultimate guarantor of "never again." god bless you all, and may god protect our troops. thank you.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu addressed the annual aipac conference on monday live by satellite from israel. this is about 10 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you, rosie and thank you, howard, michael, robert, all the leadership of aipac. thank you for everything you do to
strengthening the alliance between great israel and the united states of america. friend, vice president biden. he just spoke there, and i have to say that i have learned over the years so much from joe. i want to thank him for his [no audio] -- families are about from joe biden. i learned about his father. and ours are so similar, deeply grounded in values, and i just heard those values expressed. i want to also recognize -- and i am sure you will all join me in recognizing -- the defense minister barak, who i have sent
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