In a rousing, faith-filled speech the Vice President covered wide-ranging topics from immigration to foreign policy. But at its core, his message was aimed at the Israeli-American alliance. After describing his gut-wrenching experience visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Poland, he said: “We stand with Israel because we cherish that ancient promise that Americans have always cherished throughout our history: that those who bless her will be blessed.”
(Washington, DC) — [Whitehouse.gov] Below are excerpts from the Vice President’s speech. To read it in its entirety, click here: (Screengrab image: via C-SPAN)
You know, thanks to this President’s leadership, it’s true—our alliance with Israel has never been stronger. You know, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, for the sake of Zion, “I will not be silent,” it was written. And, my friends, this President, for the sake of Zion, has not been silent. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it. President Trump promised that Israel would have the resources and tools to defend itself, by itself. And under his leadership, American support for the security of the state of Israel has never been stronger, and the military of the state of Israel is stronger than ever before.
President Trump promised to shut down the PLO office in Washington if the Palestinian Authority refused to take steps to stop funding terrorists who murder innocent Israeli civilians with American tax dollars. And when the PLO refused, President Trump shut down their office. (Applause.) And thanks to so many of you, the Taylor Force Act is now the law of the land. (Applause.)
The President also promised to confront anti-Semitism on the world stage and see to it that America would no longer allow the United Nations to be a forum for invective against Israel. And, last summer, this President withdrew the United States from the so-called Human Rights Council at the UN And two months later, President Trump ended all U.S. contributions to UNRWA. (Applause.)
And, of course, last year, President Trump did what no American President before him had the courage to do when he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem—(applause)—the capital of the state of Israel.
You know, it’s amazing to think I was there when that decision was being made and being processed. And to say that everyone in the world opposed the President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move our embassy there—to say that everyone in the world was against it would be an understatement. (Laughter.) But President Trump is a man of his word, and he kept his words to the American people—(applause)—when he recognized Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Israel and moved our embassy there. (Applause…)
Now, I know the cynics out there say the President’s dreams for peace are too big, that his hopes are too high. But it was none other than David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, who said, and I quote, “Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles around these parts isn’t a realist.” (Applause.) So, we will keep dreaming and keep working for peace. (Applause.)
And let me assure you, while any peace will undoubtedly require compromise, you can be confident of this: The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel. (Applause.)
In the wake of all those actions, finally the President also made one other promise. He promised to stand up to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. And he did just that when he withdrew the United States of America from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. (Applause.) There will be no more pallets of cash to the mullahs in Iran. (Applause…)
You know, history teaches that when authoritarian regimes breathe out vile, anti-Semitic hatred and threats of violence, that we should take them at their word.
Earlier this year, my wife Karen and I stood and prayed and grieved at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Poland. It was an indescribable experience to walk those immense grounds—killing on an industrial scale.
As we gazed down at the remains of the gas chambers, as we walked past the personal effects—the piles of little shoes that were gathered there—it merely reinforced our resolve that our answer to that unspeakable tragedy for this and every generation must be: Never again. Never again. Never again. (Applause.)
Israel was reborn of that resolve. And so we must, as Americans, maintain it. We can never allow the memory of those lost in the Holocaust to be forgotten by freedom-loving people around the world.
We must teach our children and our children’s children the truth of what happened. We must preserve the memory of those lost for future generations. And, in that same spirit, we must never allow the memory of those lost in the Holocaust to be cheapened as a cliché to advance some left-wing political narrative. (Applause.)
But sadly—sadly, in recent weeks, that’s exactly what some Democrats have done in the national debate. Last month, a leading Democrat in Congress actually compared our U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facilities to concentration camps. Her allies in Congress, the Left, and in the media, shamefully came to her defense…
Men and women of Christians United for Israel, we’ve reached a decisive moment in history. And support for Israel and the Jewish people, I believe, is more important than ever before. All over the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. You see it on college campuses, in the marketplace, and sadly, even in the halls of Congress.
You know, there was a time that support for Israel was not a partisan issue here in Washington. I’ll never forget the day in 2007, that I—a conservative, Christian Republican—was asked to co-found the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force with the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in Congress: the late and great Congressman Tom Lantos. (Applause.)
We formed that task force because of the broad consensus that existed in the Congress: a support for Israel, support for the Jewish people. But how things have changed. It’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman, which did so much to help create the State of Israel, has been co-opted by people who promote rank, anti-Semitic rhetoric, and work to undermine the broad American consensus of support for Israel…
Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and the United States will always stand together because America and Israel are more than friends. We’re more than allies. The United States and Israel are family—(applause)—descended from a common tradition of faith. We’re a family that upholds common values, and together, we share a common destiny…
We stand with Israel today for the same reason that Americans have always stood with Israel. We stand with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, in liberty over tyranny.
And we stand with Israel because we cherish that ancient promise that Americans have always cherished throughout our history: that those who bless her will be blessed. (Applause.)
Today and every day, the Jewish State of Israel and all the Jewish people bear witness to God’s faithfulness, as well as their own.
The American people have always marveled. Through nearly 1,900 years of exile—the longest exile of any people in history—the Jewish people drew strength from the promises of God. Through pogroms, persecutions, and expulsions, in the ghettos, and, finally, even in death camps, the Jewish people clung to God’s eternal promise.
And they remembered that “even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,” from there He would gather them and bring them back to the land which their fathers possessed. And so, He did. (Applause.)
And America was there. America was standing with the people of Israel every step of the way.
It’s amazing to think, even in those darkest of times, He heard from Heaven—His holy dwelling place—and they had faith.
So, it’s on that basis that I close today. And I know you’ve got a full program ahead of you, and you’ll be hearing from other friends of Israel throughout this administration and throughout the country.
And let me just say, before I close, on behalf of my wife Karen and our little family: Thank you for the honor of serving as your Vice President. It is the greatest honor of my life. (Applause.)
It’s deeply humbling to be with you today. And I leave here greatly encouraged. I can’t wait to get to lunch to tell him that I saw you all. (Laughter.)
And I want to close with faith. Faith in the good people of Israel and America and in the immutable bonds of friendship that bind us today and always will. Faith in the ideals and the principles that both America and Israel hold dear: commitment to liberty and freedom, and the notion that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.
And finally, faith that has ever bound the people of this country together from our nation’s founding, people of every background and religious belief, and faith that binds the people of Israel together—that He who watches over us will never leave us, nor forsake us. He will guide us and He will surely bless us.
God bless you all. May God bless Israel. (Applause.) And may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)