GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee today, discussing relations between the U.S. and Israel.
Here is a complete transcript of his remarks:
Good evening. I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel. I am a newcomer to politics but not to backing the Jewish state.
In late 2001, weeks after the attacks on New York City and Washington – attacks perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists, Mayor Giuliani visited Israel to show solidarity with terror victims. I sent him in my plane because I backed the mission 100%.
In Spring 2004, at the height of violence in the Gaza Strip, I was the Grand Marshal of the 40th Salute to Israel Parade, the largest single gathering in support of the Jewish state.
It was a very dangerous time for Israel and frankly for anyone supporting Israel – many people turned down this honor –I did not, I took the risk.
I didn’t come here tonight to pander to you about Israel. That’s what politicians do: all talk, no action. I came here to speak to you about where I stand on the future of American relations with our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship, and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the State of Israel.
My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making and let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic – for America, for Israel, and for the whole Middle East.
The problem here is fundamental. We have rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion and we received absolutely nothing in return.
I’ve studied this issue in greater detail than almost anybody. The biggest concern with the deal is not necessarily that Iran is going to violate it, although it already has, the bigger problem is that they can keep the terms and still get to the bomb by simply running out the clock, and, of course, they keep the billions.
The deal doesn’t even require Iran to dismantle its military nuclear capability! Yes, it places limits on its military nuclear program for only a certain number of years. But when those restrictions expire, Iran will have an industrial-size military nuclear capability ready to go, and with zero provision for delay no matter how bad Iran’s behavior is. When I am president, I will adopt a strategy that focuses on three things when it comes to Iran.
First, we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region. Iran is a very big problem and will continue to be, but if I’m elected President, I know how to deal with trouble. Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen, and will be a very major problem for Saudi Arabia. Literally every day, Iran provides more and better weapons to their puppet states.
Hezbollah in Lebanon has received sophisticated anti-ship weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and GPS systems on rockets. Now they’re in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
In Gaza, Iran is supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad – and in the West Bank they are openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed.
Iran is financing military forces throughout the Middle East and it is absolutely indefensible that we handed them over $150 billion to facilitate even more acts of terror.
Secondly, we will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network. Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetrated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the western hemisphere very close to home. Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world and we will work to dismantle that reach.
Third, at the very least, we must hold Iran accountable by restructuring the terms of the previous deal. Iran has already – since the deal is in place – test-fired ballistic missiles three times. Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel, which is only 600 miles away but also intended to frighten Europe, and, someday, the United States.
Do you want to hear something really shocking? As many of the great people in this room know, painted on those missiles – in both Hebrew and Farsi – were the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth.”
What kind of demented minds write that in Hebrew? And here’s another twisted part – testing these missiles does not even violate the horrible deal that we made!
The deal is silent on test missiles but those tests DO violate UN Security Council Resolutions. The problem is, no one has done anything about it. Which brings me to my next point – the utter weakness and incompetence of the United Nations.
The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom. It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as all know, it has its home. And it surely isn’t a friend to Israel.
With President Obama in his final year, discussions have been swirling about an attempt to bring a security council resolution on the terms of an eventual agreement between Israel and Palestine. Let me be clear: An agreement imposed by the UN would be a total and complete disaster. The United States must oppose this resolution and use the power of our veto. Why? Because that’s not how you make a deal.
Deals are made when parties come to the table and negotiate. Each side must give up something it values in exchange for something it requires. A deal that imposes conditions on Israel and the Palestinian Authority will do nothing to bring peace. It will only further delegitimize Israel and it would reward Palestinian terrorism, because every day they are stabbing Israelis – and even Americans.
Just last week, American Taylor Allen Force, a West Point grad who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was murdered in the street by a knife-wielding Palestinian. You don’t reward that behavior, you confront it!
It’s not up the United Nations to impose a solution. The parties must negotiate a resolution themselves. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don’t even really know what’s happening.
When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state. You see, I know about deal-making – that’s what I do. I wrote The Art of the Deal, one of the all-time best-selling books about deals and deal making. To make a great deal, you need two willing participants.
We know Israel is willing to deal. Israel has been trying to sit down at the negotiating table, without pre-conditions, for years. You had Camp David in 2000, where Prime Minister Barak made an incredible offer – maybe even too generous. Arafat rejected it.
In 2008, Prime Minister Olmert made an equally generous offer. The Palestinian Authority rejected it. Then John Kerry tried to come up with a framework and Abbas didn’t even respond, not even to the Secretary of State of the United States of America!
When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on Day One. I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we will be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region.
Meanwhile, every single day, you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and hate the Jews. When you live in a society where the firefighters are the hero’s little kids want to be firefighters.
When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars. In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews – we can’t let this continue. You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace.
In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fermenting there for years, and if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to end this indoctrination of hatred. There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
You see, what President Obama gets wrong about deal making is that he constantly applies pressure to our friends and rewards our enemies. That pattern, practiced by the President and his administration, including former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has repeated itself over and over and has done nothing but embolden those who hate America. We saw that with releasing $150 billion to Iran in the hope that they would magically join the world community – It’s the same with Israel and Palestine.
President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue, but it’s precisely the opposite. Already, half the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS in Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation but when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace actually rise. That’s what will happen when I’m president.
We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.
The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel and they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish State and it will forever exist as a Jewish State.
Thank you very much. It’s been a great honor to be with you.