tv AIPAC Policy Conference Senators Harris and Menendez CSPAN March 31, 2017 12:51pm-1:38pm EDT
when theodore roosevelt surrenders power in order to shoot lions in africa. >> and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on real america, the 1961 encyclopedia film with hoover. >> even though they had agreed to mr. wilson's 14 points, these delegates were determined not to let idealism stand in their way. not when it's inflicted with their own purposes and desires. >> for our complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.korg. >> a look at highlights from the american israel policy conference featuring house speaker paul ryan on the six-day arab war and former canadian prime minister. senators harris and menendez lead off.
>> good morning, aipac! good morning. what an honor. lillian, congratulations on your outstanding presidency. and it's great to be with you again this year. i also want to thank aipac's executive director and i'm just thrilled to see all of the students in the audience. in you i see our future. i want to especially recognize the nearly 1,000 californians who are here today. [ cheering ] and, of course, including my dear friends and aipac board members anita friedman and amy.
and i'm proud to say and be that among the many voices represented here, the california delegation is the largest and hopefully the loudest. [cheers and applause] there you go. so having grown up in the bay area, i fondly remember those jewish national fund 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 and the israeli ingenuity that has truly made a desert bloom. i soaked in the sights and sounds and smells of jerusalem. i stood there devastated by the silent testimonies of the 6 million jews that were murdered in the holocaust. and we must always remember that solemn promise -- never again.
[ applause ] and i did what i often do when visiting a new country. i visited the highest court in the land. and 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. its straight lines, which represent the immutable nature of truth, while the curved walls and glass represent the fluid nature of justice. and this is a concept that is personal for me. because it's that same commitment to justice for the voiceless and the vulnerable that led my parents as students to march for civil rights in the
1960s, while pushing me in a stroller. [ applause ] and it's why i became a prosecutor and personally prosecuted everything from low-level offenses to homicides. it's why i became san francisco district attorney and was later elected attorney general of california where i took on -- thank you. where i took on transnational gangs, cyber criminals and mortgage fraud. and that commitment to justice is why i ran to become a united states senator from the great state of california. [ applause ] the point being to continue that fight. and, the critical piece of my agenda is the fight to defend and strengthen our national security. as a member of both the senate intelligence committee and homeland security committee, i have a front-row seat to these
issues, and i am proud to stand strongly with america's allies, including israel. so 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. and we can never let anyone drive a wedge between us. [ applause ] our bonds are rooted in our shared history and are strengthened by the ties between our peoples. and in the words of shimon peres, whose loss we mourn so deeply, for israel's existence, we need the friendship of the united states of america. and, of course, he knew that feeling goes both ways.
and there's no question that friendship and our partnership must be unwavering. [ applause ] and i believe that israel must be -- the teleprompter has stopped, and now i'm going to catch it back up. there we are. i believe israel should never be a partisan issue. and as long as i'm a united states senator, i will do 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. peace can only come through a reconciliation of differences, and that can only happen at the negotiating table. [ applause ] i believe that when any organization delegitimizes israel, we must stand up and speak out for israel to be treated equally. and that is why the first resolution i co-sponsored as a united states senator was to combat anti-israel bias at the united nations and reaffirm that the united states seeks a just, secure and sustainable two-state solution. [ applause ]
and, as someone who's personally prosecuted hate crime, i also believe that we cannot stand by while anti-semitism, hate crime and bigotry are on the rise, whether that's a swastika on a jewish children and families bus or the burning of a mosque in tampa. that's why for the first time at aipac, i am introducing a bill, that condemning targeting of jews including any form of hateful act targeting minorities across the united states. [cheers and applause] and let's be candid. many, including those in this
hall, have been directly impacted by the outrageous incidents targeting the jewish community. this violence and hate is alarming and simply unacceptable. [ applause ] no one should have to worry about their children's safety when they drop them off at the jcc. [ applause ] no one should have to be afraid to put a menorah in their front window or on their 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 hold perpetrators accountable.
my resolution calls on law enforcement to fully report hate crime statistics and my resolution 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 ] and, as i fight to promote human rights and security, israel and the jewish community will always be a priority for me. [ applause ] and that is why, as senator, i am particularly focussed on three areas where i believe we can expand our cooperation and where california plays an important and central role, and the three are 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's security must be rock solid. [ applause ] and as iran continues to launch ballistic missiles while it funds hezbollah, 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. and, as isis and civil war in syria destabilize the region, displacing millions and threatening shared security interests, 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. which is why i support the united states' commitment to provide israel the $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade. [ applause ] it is why i support full funding for israel, including for the arrow, david's sling and the iron dome missile defense systems which save lives. [ applause ] and that's 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, inspection and verification. and, if iran cheats, 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 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 it makes israel less secure.
so i say the trump administration must be crystal clear with putin. russia must stop its support of iran. this is a threat to the united states, and it is a threat to israel. [ applause ] a second area where i believe we can expand our cooperation is cyber security and technology. as cyber attacks expose the vulnerabilities of our most essential systems and infrastructure, the united states and israel must strengthen our innovation and technological capacities and our defenses together. israel has more scientists and startups per capita than any other country in the world.
and i'm proud that california, building on the 2014 commitments made by prime minister netanyahu and governor brown has facilitated many of these technological partnerships and investments. [ applause ] today, tel aviv and silicon valley are inextricably linked, ensuring that our two countries remain on the cutting edge. and when i met with prime minister netanyahu last month, i was proud to discuss california's cyber advancements and the way we can expand those joint efforts. and the third area of growing cooperation is water security. so, as any californian in this hall can tell you, water is the lifeblood of our economies and our communities. and because of california's history of droughts, we know we cannot take water for granted.
in this regard, we could not have a better example than israel. yes. israel is a nation that is 60% desert. yet so water secure that it exports water to its neighbors. [ applause ] and israel has been a great partner to california in this area. take, for example, carlsbad, california, where an israeli company built a desalination plant which provides 50 million gallons of water to 400,000 californians every day. [ applause ] so while the united states and israel are geographically separated by water, we can also be bound by water.
and i'm eager to champion these three partnerships in the senate now and in the future. and to ensure that california plays a key role in the relationship between the united states and israel. so, in conclusion, aipac, we all know these are difficult times. i stand here clear-eyed about the dangers of division in our country and in our world. understanding why a state for the jewish people is so essential. and i also stand here as someone with a life-long commitment to justice, a life-long faith in the power of democratic values and the innate oneness and goodness of human beings. and i believe that it's the common ground that unites so
many of us, values like faith, family, respect, and empathy that will see us through. just look, for example, at the response when jewish cemeteries in st. louis and philadelphia were so horribly, horribly vandalized. muslim activists quickly raised money to restore the headstones with one organizer posting on social media, quote, i want to ask all muslims to reach out to your jewish brothers and sisters and stand together against this bigotry. [ applause ] common ground. look at the words of ellie wiesel who i knew personally and loved, when he said, the opposite of love is not hate. it's indifference. common ground. look at israel's supreme court,
that beautiful place i visited, upon which sits a tunisian judge, alongside an israeli arab christian and a brooklyn-born israeli, all presided over by a female chief justice. common ground. [ applause ] or look at my own life, where a daughter of a south asian mother and a jamaican father concluded her own interfaith wedding with her husband breaking a glass and everyone yelling mazel tov. so that's who we are. and if we embrace those values that have always made the united states and israel great, then i believe our two nations will continue to move forward together for years and years to
that warm welcome. what a pleasure it is to be back at the aipac policy conference. i feel a little bit like mariana rivera of the new york yankees always called in to be the successful closer, and that's not easy, but we'll try. every year when i stand at this podium and look out into this convention hall i see a room full of leaders and advocates i'm proud to call my friends. people like howard core. your president. madam president. i thought i was going to say it more often, but i'll say it tonight. madam president. and, of course, new jersey's own and your president-elect, mort freedman. mort, congratulations. [ applause ] and the hundreds of aipac members here representing the great state of new jersey who i've come down to be with all of you. [ applause ] it is always an honor for me not
just to speak with you but to join hands with you, to be among people of all ages and all faiths and all political persuasions who stand together and stand tall for a strong u.s./israel relationship. now those of you who know me know three things. first, you know i believe that 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 right of the jewish people to live in peace and security in the indisputable homeland of their ancestors. [ applause ] and finally, you know that no matter which way the political
winds are blowing or which way the news cycle is going, when it comes to standing up for israel, you will never, ever find me spinning like a weather vane, but rather, a strong moral compass that bears east 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 or shy away from any president of any party. and while i have paid a price for my beliefs, i would do it all over again. [cheers and applause]
now, recent events have reminded us that we live in challenging times. times that demand free people around the world remain resolute and united in humanity's long struggle against fear and terror and hate. just this past week we were saddened by a terrorist attack in the heart of london that killed five people and injured 50 others. all it took was 82 seconds. the people need no reminder of how quickly an act of terror attack can unfold. they have lived under the siege. always praying for peace and yet always painfully aware of the reality. a reality that prime minister netanyahu captured so
eloquently when he said, if the arabs put down their weapons today there would be no more violence. if the jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more israel. those simple words carry a powerful truth, a recognition that israel can never let its guard down. and that's why last year i was proud to help secure our record-breaking $38 billion memorandum of understanding. you all advocated for it. an agreement that ensures that israel's defenses will remain unmatched in the region and that together the united states and israel will continue developing defense technologies of astounding sophistication like iron dome, david's sling and the arrow three missile defense systems. [ applause ] that's also why i will continue to stand against budgets that
propose that we defund u.s. foreign aid entirely. because, in addition to the security assistance we provide allies like israel, we know that when america promotes human rights and women's rights globally, when we bring economic opportunity to where there is poverty, when we promote education over extremism, both the united states and israel reap the benefits of greater stability and security. so, as aipac members, as you work to ensure continued military assistance for israel, i want to thank you and commend you for also advocating that the united states continue to fully fund foreign aid and diplomatic outreach, as well. [ applause ] now, as aipac members, you understand the gravity of the challenges that confront us.
both for our national security and the security of israel. today we see extremism and hate casting dark shadows around the world. we see a cynical, intentional effort to delegitimize the state of israel in even academia, and we see a world view been emboldened by sanctions relief and more committed than ever the destabilizing the middle east. each of these threats are serious in and of themselves. but to have them converging all at once is should make one thing clear. in times like these, we cannot afford a shred of daylight between the united states and israel. [ applause ] and that's why earlier this year i refused to stand silent when the united states abstained from a u.n. security council vote that was unabashedly biassed
against israel and ultimately detrimental to the cause of peace. that's why i co-sponsored senate resolution six, strongly objecting to its passage. [ applause ] the u.n. security council can't pass a resolution condemning iran's violation of ballistic missile testing. it can't pass a resolution to stop the humanitarian strife in syria. it can't condemn russia for indiscriminately bombing citizens in aleppo. and yet it endorses a biassed resolution that pins every wrong in the middle east on the one nation that stands up for what is right. and that is wrong. [ applause ] a resolution that allows terrorist organizations like
hamas to shrink any responsibility in the routine incitement of palestinian violence, a resolution that emboldens hardliners who will seize to advance their own agendas. it was wrong to betray our long-sanding 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 biassed resolution that treats israel as the source of all things broken in the region. and it was wrong to abstain at a moment when the world needs the united states of america to stand up for our values. [ cheers and applause ] to speak up for our allies. and to lead by the power of our example. [ cheers and applause ] unfortunately, the united
nations is not the only place where israel confronts this double standard. a double standard that increasingly seems little more than anti-semitism in disguise, which leads me to address directly for a moment the young people who are among us. i hear there are about 4,000 of you here today. the college students and high school students here today perhaps for your very first policy conference, and i want to thank you for being here. and i want to thank you for standing tall for israel, not just today, but every day. i know that it always isn't easy. many of you are facing firsthand a movement to discredit and disparage israel on campuses across america and around the world. i'm not talking about the kind of fruitful exchange of different perspectives that we welcome at our universities. college is, after all, a time to
meet people with passion and beliefs that differ from your own. i'm talking about a movement that has crept into other causes you care deeply about, a movement forcing you to stay silent or in some cases check your love of israel outside the doors of the classroom. i'm referring, of course, to the growing boycott, die vestment and sanctions movement. that treats the only democratic free market economy in the middle east as the cause of all of the region's challenges. now the last time i checked, israel stands alone in a desert full of despots that have no regard for democratic freedoms, and the rule of law. that's the israel that i know so let's be clear. i reject the bds movement, whether it be on campuses in france or london or right here in the united states of america. [ applause ]
bds activists -- bds activists turn the other way as bashar al assad and vladimir putin bomb civilians without hesitation. they ignore the cries of people being persecuted in venezuela and cuba. they claim the mantle of free speech to defend the smear campaign against israel. they demand that israeli academics in field of study be silent. that students who are jewish, pro-israel and believe in a lasting and secure home for the jewish people are silenced, but we must not be silent. we must stand together to ensure that the letters bds are seen for what they are, bias directed solely at one people and one country. by those who should know better. as a senior member of the senate foreign raelgtss committee,ly use every avenue at my disposal
to call autoa movement that is stained by anti-semitism. [ applause ] whether it is the delegitimization of israel by the united nations, the intimidation and isolation promoted by bds or the white nationalist dog whistles blown by steve bannon from the west wing, it is up to all of us to stand up, to stand together and speak out against anti-semitism in all of its forms. and that includes raising our voices together in rejecting anti-semitism's close friends, racism and xenophobia. we see these forces of fear and division in the administration's profiling immigrants based on their religion, their complexion, their nation of their origin. and we hear it in the rhetoric that demonizes innocent
families, calling out for refuge from the terrorists and isis. refuge from the bombs dropped by vladimir putin, refuge from the brutal dictatorship of bashar al assad. the scope of the humanitarian crisis spurred by the conflict in syria reminds us that the entire middle east is increasingly under siege. and for israel, the threats posed by further instability are obvious. the increasing volatility we see deeply intensifies the deep concern felt by u.s. allies and partners, especially throughout 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 sanctions. sanctions that ultimately weakened 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 put more stringent constraints on iran's nuclear capability in place. but whether you supported the nuclear -- iran nuclear 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 to america's national security. surely we can all agree that the time limits imposed on the regime are only a blink of an eye when we consider iran's long history. we cannot deny that in a decade, we may be facing an iran equipped with an unacceptable nuclear breakout time. so look, i know i don't need to tell this audience where the iran nuclear agreement fell
short. but, as i said when i voted against the deal, if iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, 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 relief as a cash wind fall for their terrorist proxies 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 an agent of instability throughout the middle east. a nefarious actor that continues to undermine american national security interests and our efforts to partner with countries throughout the region, working to protect civilians and build democratic government
structures. consider syria. even as the united states and our partners make progress at beating back isis and worked together to deliver desperately needed humanitarian relief to besieged civilians, bashar al assad presses on with his brutal campaign. and let's be honest. we all know that assad's continued grip even power is in thanks in large part to his allies in moscow and his friends in tehran. by aiding assad, russia is prolonging this conflict, all for the purposes of trying to maintain one friendly government in the middle east who will stand by its own brutal leader. meanwhile, as russian bombs rain down on syrian hospitals, as russian bombs rained down on syrian homes, as russian bombs rained down on humanitarian aid convoys, putin is content to sit back and watch western europe
struggle with a displacement of billions of people, all while spreading propaganda undermining the post world war ii international order. simultaneously, the iranian regime is emboldened by sanctions relief and undeniably invested in assad's grip on power. iran continues to funnel cash and weapons to its pro-assad terrorist proxy, hezbollah, weapons that at a moment's 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 harrowing conflict in syria, israel has shown extraordinary restraint and a laser-like focus. on defending the security of its people. but as this conflict literally at times spills over its borders, no country can endure this kind of provocation for long.
and we may be facing a change in calculus. in recent days, we saw syria launch missiles at israeli air forces as they returned from destroying a convoy of weapons that was headed to the terrorists in hezbollah. those missiles triggered israel's 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 are no mystery. its goal to extend the influence of its government throughout the region remains unchanged. iran continues to support terrorist proxies like hezbollah. it continues its provocative testing of ballistic missiles, and continues to disregard international obligations, including its likely violation of a u.n. arms embargo. and the united states cannot let this destabilizing aggressive behavior go unchecked. which is why i have worked with my colleagues, democrats and
republicans, those who supported the nuclear deal and those who did not to introduce the countering iran destabilizing activities act just last week. strong, bipartisan support. [ applause ] with no indications that this administration has any proactive strategy to counter iran, the time is right for congress to assert its influence in our foreign policy, to provide gints and develop a framework for securing our interests in the region. the bill contains meaningful steps to counter iran's most egregious behavior and i want to thank all of you for your steadfast support of it as you go to capitol hill today. [ applause ] it also calls far regional strategy to counter iran's conventional threats 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 iranian harassment and interference in international shipping lanes, to stop iranian support of terrorist groups like his bella and syria forces in places like iraq. 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.n. itself expressed concern that iran's efforts to supply weapons and missiles to hezbollah was in direct violation of a u.n. arms embargo. that's in legislation imposes sanctions on anyone involved in such activities ensuring that those who violate arms embargoes are held accountable and to counter iran's threatening support of terrorists, our
bill -- terrorists imposes terrorism related sanctions on the iz lawmakeric revolutionary guard corps, far beyond the iranian regime, main exporter of terrorism. [ applause ] likewise, it preserves sanctions on those who support terror. inside iran, we also know this regime continues to abuse basic human rights. that's why our bill authorizes the president to sanction individuals who perpetuate -- through killings and -- indeed, we must never lose sight of those personals, as well. who suffer at the hands of the iranian regime, including those unjustly detained and those who have remained missing in iran for more than a decade. now is not the time for the united states to turn a blind
eye to iran's hostile behavior. now's s the time for all of us to demand nothing less than vigorous oversight, constant vigilance and strict enforcement of our arsenal of diplomatic tools including sanctions and pressures on iran. so let me conclude today with a message to those in this room who perhaps feel riddled sometimes by self doubt or uncertain of the future. i'm reminded of the words of israel's fearless and first ever prime minister, david ben gurion. he said that to be a realist in israel you must believe in miracles. to every member of aipac, i heed you to remember those words. israel was not founded on small ideas but on bold principles.
i won't deny that in times like these with anti-semitism on the rise, with iran emboldened with instability surrounding israel at every turn the path to a jewish state israel may seem elusive or impossible. it is in these times that we must strive to be those realists who believe in miracles. we must remember why we are pro-israel. a position that i have always believed is one derived from the better angels of our nature. hope over fear. democracy or despotism. human rights over hatred. in times like these we must stay true to those better angels. we must reject those who say security and idealism are opposing goals and instead partners in peace. together we must stand unflinchingly for the safety and
security of the state of israel. all the while, keeping our hands open and extended in the hopes that some day we feel the palm of another placed in ours, the palm of a fellow believer in miracles. the palm of a partner ready to work with israel to fulfill a promise of peace. remember that david ben gurion believed in the promise. the miracle of the modern state of israel long before hitler's rise to power. back when he was a young man picking oranges in 1906. so let us always remember that the argument for israel's existence is born out of history by farmers who made the desert green by the discoveries of nobel prize winners, by the innovation of entrepreneurs. by a people not content to dream of miracles but bold enough to realize them. as president 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. it 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 is capable of defending itself against any and all threats, standing up for a nation that is not merely admired but accepted on the world stage. israel, strong, democratic, jewish, and everlasting. shalom. thank you so much for having me. ♪ ♪