tv AIPAC Policy Conference Senators Harris and Menendez CSPAN March 30, 2017 7:14pm-8:00pm EDT
not to let idealism stand in their way. >> for our complete american history to be schedule, go to c-span.org. >> now, california senator and senator bob menendez of new jersey discuss u.s. economic and military support for israel. they address security threats israel faces in the middle east. this is 45 minutes. >> good morning aipac. good morning. what an honor. lillian, congratulations on your outstanding presidency. it's great to be with you again this year.
i also want to thank aipac's executive director. i am just thrilled to see all of the students in the audience. and you, i see our future. i want to especially recognize the nearly 1000 californians who are here today. [applause] of course, including my dear friends and aipac board members. i am proud to say that among the many voices represented here, the california delegation is the largest and hopefully the loudest, having grown up in the bay area, i fondly remember those jewish national boxes that we would use to collect donations to plant trees for israel.
years later, when i visited israel for the first time, i saw the fruits of that effort in the is really ingenuity that has truly made it desert move. i soaked in the sights and sounds and smells of jerusalem. i stood, devastated by the silent testimonies of the 6 million jews that were murdered in the holocaust. we must always remember that solemn promise, never again. [applause] i did what i often do when visiting a new country. i visited the highest court in the land. as i toured israel's supreme court, i was struck by the iconic architecture which embodies israel's founding principles of democracy and rule
of law. [applause] the design of that building left a lasting impression on me. it's straight lines which represent the nature of truth, while the curved walls and class representative feature of justice. this is a concept that is personal for me. it is that same commitment to justice for the runner ball -- vulnerable to mars for civil rights in the 1960s were pushing me in a stroller. i became a prosecutor and personally prosecuted everything from low-level offenses to homicides. it is why i became san francisco district attorney and was later elected attorney general of california, where i took on transnational gain, cyber
criminal mortgage fraud. that commitment to justice is why i ran to become a united states senator of the great state of california. the point being to continue that site. a critical piece of my agenda was the site to defend and strengthen our national security. as a member of of the senate intelligence and homeland security committee i have a frontline seat of these commissions. i will stand strongly with america's allies including israel. [applause] let me be clear about what i believe.
i stand with israel because of our shared values which are so fundamental to the founding of both our nations. i believe the bonds between the united states and israel are unbreakable. we can never let anyone drive a wedge between us. [applause] our bonds are rooted in our shared history and are strengthened the ties between our peoples. in the words of perez whose loss we more so deeply, for israel's existence, we need the friendship of the united states of america. of course, he knew that feeling both ways. there is no question, that friendship and our partnership must be unwavering. [applause] i believe that israel must be -- the teleprompter has stopped.
i believe israel should never be a partisan issue. as long as i am a united states senator, i will to everything in my power to ensure broad and bipartisan support for israel's security and right to self-defense. [applause] i believe that the only viable resolution to the israeli palestinian conflict is two states for two people living side-by-side in peace and security. [applause] i believe that a resolution to this conflict cannot be imposed. it must be agreed upon by the parties themselves, these can only come through a reconciliation of differences and that can only happen at the negotiating table. [applause] i believe that when any organization delegitimize his
israel, we must stand up and speak out for israel to be treated equally. [applause] that is why the first resolution i cosponsored at the united states senator was to combat anti- israel bias to united nations and reaffirm that the united states state just as secure to state solutions. [applause] if someone who personally prosecuted a crimes, i also believe that we cannot stand by while anti-semitism, hate crime and bigotry are on the rise, whether that is a swastika on a jewish family and children
services in san francisco, but the burning of a mosque in tampa. that is why i am pleased to announce for the first time. aipac, i'm introducing the senate resolution that condemns targeting of jews as well as any form of religious by bias, misogyny or other hateful acts targeting minorities across the united states. [applause] let's be candid, many, including those in this hall have been directly impacted by the outrageous incident targeting the jewish community. this violence and hate is alarming and simply unacceptab unacceptable. no one should have to worry about their children's safety when they drop them off. [applause]
no one should have to be afraid to put a menorah in the front window are on the front lawn. [applause] and no one should ever have to fear that the grave of a loved one might be desecrated because of their faith. [applause] so, my resolution calls on law-enforcement to expedite investigations of hate crime and whole perpetrators accountable. i resolution calls on law-enforcement to fully report a crime statistics and it calls on the administration to support victims and fund security at places of worship and other institutions that have been targeted, of any faith. [applause] as i fight to promote human rights and security, israel and
the jewish community will always be a priority for me. [applause] satisfy a senator, i am focused on three areas where i believe the united states and israel can expand our cooperaon, and were california plays an important and central goal. the three or defense, cyber security, and water security. so, let's think about it. first defense. in the midst of uncertainty and turmoil, america's support for israel securities must be rocksolid. as iran continues to launch ballistic missiles we must stand with israel. [applause]
as hamas maintains its control of gaza and fires rockets across israel's southern border, we must stand with israel. [applause] and, as isis and civil war in syria destabilize the region, displacing millions and threatening shared security interest ,-com,-com ma we must support all those affected by ongoing violence and terror, and we must stand with israel. [applause] our defense relationship is critical to both nations. that is why i support the united states commitment to provide israel with $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade. [applause] it is why i support full funding
for israel, including for the aero, davis slang, and ironstone. missile-defense systems which save lives. [applause] that is why i am fully committing to maintaining israel's qualitative military edge. [applause] at the same time, the united states must never permit iran to develop a nuclear weapon. [applause] the iran nuclear deal must be vigorously enforced through robust monitoring, inspections, and verification. [applause] if iran sheets there's no question, iran must be held accountable. and so as iran, inserts itself in syria including through the
deployment of advanced military equipment and missiles that threaten israel, we must not tolerate iran's fanning the flames of instability and violence in the region. [applause] in addition, russia's explicit support for these actions is a direct threat to american interests, and makes israel a secure. [applause] so, i say this trump administration must be crystal-clear with putin, russia must stop its support of iran, this is a threat to the united states, it is a threat to israel. [applause]
a second area where i believe we can expand our cooperation the cyber security and technology. as cyber attacks expose the vulnerabilities of our systems and infrastructure, the united states and israel must strengthen our innovation and technological capacity center defenses together. israel has more scientists and startups per capita than any other country in the world. i am proud that california building on the 2014 commitment made by prime minister and governor brown have facilitated many of these technological partnerships and investments today, tel aviv and silicon valley are links ensuring that our two countries remain on the cutting edge. when i met with the prime
minister last month i was proud to discuss california's cyber advancement and the way we can expand those joint efforts. the third area of growing cooperation is water security. so, as any californian this hall can tell you, water is the lifeblood of our economies in our communities. because of california's history of drought, we know we cannot take water for granted in this regard, we cannot have a better example than israel. israel is a nation that is 60% desert, yet so water secure that it exports water to its neighbors as israel has been a great partner in california to this area, an israeli company
that produces water for californians every day. [applause] so, while the united states and israel are geographically separated by water, we can also be bound by water. [applause] i'm eager to champion the partners of the senate now and in the future. to ensure that california plays a key role in the relationship between the united states and israel. so in conclusion, we all know these are difficult times. i stand here, clear right about the dangers of division in our
country and in our world. understanding why stay for the jewish people is so essential. i also stand here someone with a lifelong commitment to justice, a lifelong face in the power of democratic values in the innate oneness and goodness of human beings i believe that it is the common ground that unites so many of us, values like fate, family, respect and empathy that will see us through. just look for example at the response when jewish cemeteries in st. louis and philadelphia horribly vandalized, muslim activist quickly raise money to restore the headstone with one organizer posting on social
media quote i want to ask all muslims to reach out to their jewish brothers and sisters and stand together against his bigotry. [applause] common ground. look at the words of -- when you personally and loves. he said, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. common ground look at israel supreme court, that beautiful place i visited upon which sits a tunisian judge alongside an israeli christian and an israeli all presided over by female chief justice. [applause] , ground look at my own life, a
daughter of a south asian mother and a jamaican father concluded her own interfaith wedding with her husband breaking a class and everyone yelling hostil. >> that is who we are and if we embrace those values that have always made the united states and everyone great, i believe our two nations will continue to move forward together for years and years to come. i thank you. [applause] >> please welcome senator menendez.
[applause] [applause] [applause] >> the morning and thank you for that warm welcome. what a pleasure it is to be back at the aipac policy conference. i feel little bit like rivera of the new york yankees i was called in to be the successful closure. that's not easy. every year when i stand at the podium and look out at the convention hall i see a room full of leaders, and advocates i am proud to call my friends.
people like howard, your president, madame president and i thought i was going to say that more often but i'll say tonight, madame president. of course, new jersey zone in your own president-elect. [applause] hundreds of aipac members here representing the great state of new jersey who have come down to be with all of you. [applause] it is always an honor for me, not just to speak with you but join hands with you and be among people of all ages, all faiths, all political persuasions who stand together and stand tall for a stronger u.s.-israel relation. those of you who know me know
three things. first, you know i believe it is in the national interest and security of the united states to have a strong unwavering, unyielding, unbreakable bond with the state of israel. [applause] second, you know that i believe in the rights of the jewish people to live in peace and security in the indisputable homeland of their ancestors. [applause] finally, you note that no matter which way the political winds are blowing, or which way the new cycle is going, when it comes to standing up for israel you will never, ever find me spinning like a weathervane, but rather a strong, moral compass that bears it due east 5879 miles from washington to jerusalem. [applause]
you know that i will not be intimidated by political opponents. i will never hesitate to disagree with my closest friends, i will never shy away from standing up to any president of any party. while i have paid a price for my beliefs, i would do it all over again. [applause] recent events have reminded us that we live in challenging times. times that demand to free people around the world to remain resolute and united in humanity's long struggle against fear, terror, and hate.
just this past week we were saddened by a terrorist attack in the hearts of london that killed five people and injured 50 others. all it took was 82 seconds. of course, the israeli people need no reminder of how quickly an act of terror can unfold. the have lived under the seats for decades, entering rocket attacks and suicide bombings, and street stabbings. always praying for peace, yet always painfully aware of the reality. the reality that the prime minister captures so eloquently would he said, if the arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. if the jews put down their weapon today, there would be no israel. those simple words carry a powerful truth. a recognition that israel can never let his guard down. that is why lester i was proud to secure our record-breaking
$38 billion memorandum of understanding, you all advocated for it. an agreement that ensures that israel's defenses will remain on matched in the region, and that together the united states and israel will continue developing defense technologies of astounding sophistication like david slang and the arrow three missile defense system. it is also why i will continue to stand against budgets that propose that we defund u.s. foreign aid entirely. in addition to the security of systems we provide allies like israel, we know that when america promotes human rights and women's rights globally, but we bring economic opportunity to where there is clarity, when we promote education over extremism, both the united states and israel reap the
benefits of greater stability and security. as you work to continue military assistance for israel and want to thank you and commend you for advocating that the united states continue to fully fund foreign aid and diplomatic outreach as well. [applause] aipac members, you understand the gravity of the challenges that confront us. both our national security and the security of israel. today, we see extremism and hate casting dark shadows around the world. see cervical and attentional effort to delegitimize the state of israel in the international economy. finally, we see an iranian regime that has, in my view quite predictably been emboldened by sanctions really and more committed to ever to
destabilizing the middle east. each of these threats are serious in and of themselves. to have them converging all at once should make one thing clear, in times like these, we cannot afford shred of daylight between the united states and israel. [applause] that is why earlier this year i refuse to stand silent when the united states abstained from the un security council vote that was unabashedly biased against israel, and ultimately detrimental to the cause of peace. there is wire cosponsors senate resolution six is strongly objecting. [applause] the un security council cannot pass a resolution condemning brands violation of, it can pass
a resolution to stop the humanitarian strike in syria, it can't condemn russia for indiscriminately bombing civilians in aleppo. yet, it endorses a bias resolution that pins every wrong in the middle east on the one nation that stands up for what is right. that is wrong. [applause] a resolution that allows terrorist organization to shrink any responsibility in the routine of the palestinian violence. a resolution that hardliners will cease to advance their own agendas. it was long t wrong to betray long-standing commitment to defending israel on the world stage precisely because it is our one reliable and steadfast ally in the middle east.
it was wrong to condone a bias resolution that treats israel as the source of all things broken in the region. it was wrong to abstain at a moment when the world needs the united states of america to stand up for our values. [applause] to speak up for our allies, and to lead by the power. [applause] unfortunately, the united nations is not the only place where israel confronts this double standard. a double standard that increasingly sees little more than anti-semitism in disguise. leads me to discuss directly for a moment the young people among us. i hear there are about 4000 of you here today. the college students in high school students here today, perhaps for your very first
policy conference. i thank you for being here and thank you for standing tall for his role, not just today but every day. i know it isn't always easy. many of you are facing first-hand amendment to discredit israel and campuses across america and around the world. not talking about the kind of fruitful exchange of different perspectives that we welcome at our universities. college is, after all the time to meet people with passionately said to from your own. i'm talking about a movement that has crept into other causes you care deeply about. a movement increasingly forcing you to sy silent if you want to take an active role in campus politics or check your love of israel outside the doors of the classroom.
i'm referring to the groin boycott and sanctions movement. the campaign to boycott israeli goods and israeli scholars that treats the only democratic free-market economy in the middle east is the cause of the region's challenges. last time i checked, israel stands alone in a desert full of spots that have no regard to democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law. . . to defend this smear campaign against israel. they demand the israeli academics in every field of study be silenced. that student are who jewish and
pro israel and believe in a lasting and secure home for the jewish people are silenceed. we mast stand together to ensure that the letters bdf are seen for what they are. bias directed soley at one people and one country but those who know better. [applause] >> and as a senior member of the senate foreign relations committee, irwill use every avenue at my disposal to call out a movement that is stained by anti-semitism. whether it is the delegitimization of israel by the united nations, the intimidation and isolation proposed by bds or the white nationalist dog whistles by steve ban nonof the west wing. it's up to all of us to stand up
and speak ought against anti-semitism and all forms and that includes raising our voices together in rejecting anti-semitism's close friends, racism and xenophobia. we see in thers for fear and -- in the immigrations policies and hear it in the rhetoric designed to stoke fear of syrian refugees. that demonizes innocent families, calling out for refuge from the terrorists in isis. refuge from the bombs dropped by vladimir putin, refuge from the did tearership of bashar al-assad. the scope of the humanitarian crisis reminds us the problem is -- and for israel the threats are obvious.
the increasing volatile we see deeply intense identifies the deep concerns felt by u.s. allies and partners, especially through the gulf. that iran will emerge as a nuclear armed power. now, as you all know, i have spent the better part of my 25 years in the house and senate helping craft an extensive network of sanks, sanctions that weakens the iranian economy and drove the regime to the negotiating table. those sanctions were working exactly as intended. and i believe we should have pressed for more meaningful concessions and more constraints of iran's nuclear capable. but whether you support it the nuclear iran agreement or opposed it, as i did, surely we can all agree -- [applause] -- surely we can all agree that a nuclear armed iran would pose an existential threat to israel
and an unacceptable threat to america's national security. surely we can all agree that the time limits imposed on the regime are only the blink of an eye when we consider their long history. we cannot deny that in a decade we may be facing iran with a nuclear weapon. i don't need to tell this audience fell short but if iran is to acquire a nuclear boom it will not have my name on it. now, many of us rightly predicted that an iranian regime that prioritized funding terrorism over the well-being of its own citizens, would see sanctions relieved as a cash windfall for their proxy across the region, and on terrorism we feared that much of iran's new
economic capacity would be used to propagate violence against jews. it is no surprise, then, that iran has not suddenly transformed into a responsible member of the international community. rather, it remains in agent of instability throughout the middle east. and the nefarious actor that continues to undermine american national security interests and our efforts to partner with countriesed throughout the region, working to protect civilians and build democratic governance structures. consider syria. even as the united states and our partners make progress at beating back isis and work together to deliver desperately needed humanitarian relief to besieged sillans bashar al-assad presses on with husband brutal -- his brutal campaign and his power is thanks in large part to his allies and moscow and friends in tehran.
we aiding assad. as russian bombs rain down on syrian hospitals and russian bombs rain down on syrian homes, as russian bombs rain down on humanitarian aid convoys, putin is content to sit back and watch western europe struggle with the displacement of millions of people. all the while spreading white nationalist and anti-semitic propaganda. simultaneously, the iranian regime is um bold -- emboldened by the reliefs and iran funnels cash and weapons to hezbollah, weapons that at a moment residents notice could be turned on israel.
israel has every right to be concerned, and every right to defend itself against any and all threats. throughout this conflict in syria, israel has shown extraordinary restraint and a laser-like focus on defending the security of it people. but as this conflict spills over its borders no counsel true can endure this propagation for long and we saw syria launch missiles as israel air forces as they return from destroying a convoy of weapons that was headed to the terrorists in hezbollah. those missiles triggered the israeli missile defense system for the first time since the conflict began. so, my friends, this is not a time to be naive. iran's motives no mystery. the goal is unchanged and
continues to support terrorist proxies like hezbollah and continuing its testing of ballistic missiles and disregard the international obligations including the violation of a u.s. arms embargo and the united states cannot let this destabilizing, aggressive behavior go unchecked. which is why -- [applause] -- i have worked with my colleagues, democrats and republicans, those who supported the nuclear deal and those who did not to introduce the courting iran destabilizing activities act last week. strong, bipartisan support. [applause] >> with no indication that this administration has any pro-active strategy to counter iran, the time is ripe for congress there assert influence in foreign policy and provide guidance and develop a framework for securing our interests in region. the bill contains meaningful
steps to counter iran residents most egregious waiver and i want to thank you for thundershower steadfast support of it as you go to capitol hill today and i calls for a regionalling extra to contrast iran's threat in the region. this includes specific plans to engage our partners in the gulf to work together to counter iranian efforts to destabilize, recognized governments to stop iran ran harassment 0 and gary specious in international shipping lanes and stop iranian sponsor for hezbollah. this bill also imposes sanctions on anyone who contributes materially or financially to iran's ballistic missile program. a program that iran has test-fired numerous ballistic missiles over the past few months, several bearing the
words "israel must be wiped off the earth. "and in january the u.s. expressed concern that the iranian efforts to supply whistles to hezbollah was in direct violation of a u.n. arms embargo. this legislation imposes sanctions on anyone involved in such actives, ensuring that those who violate arms embargoes are healed -- held accountable to counter iran's threatening support for terrorism, our bill poses sanctions on the islamic revolutionary guard corporations far one the quds force, they main exporter of terrorism. likewise, it preserves sanction impose its by executive order on individuals who support terror. inside iran we also know this regime continues to abuse basic human rights. that's high our bill authorizes the president to sanction
individuals who perpetuate i'm right abuses to extra -- judicial killings and we must remember the americans who suffer from the iranian regime and those missing for more a decade. now is not the time for the united states to turn a blind eye to iran's hostile behavior. now is the time for us to demand nothing less than vigorous oversight, constant vigilant and struck enforcement of the entire arsenal of diplomatic tools includes sanctions and pressure on iran. so, let me conclude today with a message to those in this room who perhaps feel riddled sometimes we self-doubt or uncertain of the future.
i'm reminded of the words of israel's fearless and first ever prime minister, david ben gatherran he said that to be a realist in israel you must believe in miracles. to every member of apec i urge you to heed those words. one about loss should not undermine a bold -- sailor was founds on bold principles, not small ideas. with anti-semitism on the rise, iran emboldened and instability around israel, the israel secure at home and peace with its neighbors may seem impossible. it is in these teams we myth strive to be realists who believe in miracles. we must remember why we are pro-israel, a position i have
always believed is one derived from the better angels our nature. hope over fear. democracy over despotism. human rights over hatred. we must stay true to the better angels and reject those who say disputer and idealism are opposing goals and instead are partners in peace. together we must stand unflinchingly and unapologetically for the safety and security of the state of israel, all the while keeping our hand open and extend in the hopes in day we feel the palm of a fellow believer in miracle, the palm of a partner ready to work with israel to fulfill the promise of peace. remember that david ben durron believed in the promise, the miracle of the modern state of israel, long before hitler's rise to power. black when he was a -- back when
he was a young man picking oranges on a kibbutz in 1906. the argument for israel's kyes existence was born out of history, bill the innovation of entrepreneurs, by a people not content to dream of miracles but bold enough to realize them. as john f. kennedy said, israel was not created in order to disappear. israel will endure and flourish, it is the child of hope and the home of the brave and can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. it carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom. together, we must be that shield. standing shoulder to shoulder with israel in the face of adversity. that's why you're here in washington. that's why i'm here standing with you. standing up for an israel that