Michael Steele speaks to Israel Day crowd in NY

Michael Steele delivers a GREAT speech

It is a real honor and real pleasure to be here with all of you this afternoon. These are sobering times, these are important times, and I am just really grateful to be able to take a moment to share a few thoughts. First I want to thank Joe Frager for the opportunity to be here. What an incredible effort, Joe. Congratulations again for bringing all the community together. And to Danny Dannon – thank you so much for your leadership in the Knesset. I’m looking forward to joining you in Israel soon so that we can continue the hard work of raising the flag around the world about Israel’s security.

From the earliest moments of American history, before there was a political state of Israel, Americans were dreaming dreams of a Jewish homeland. John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson, “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.” In another letter he wrote, “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.” Abraham Lincoln, responding to a friend proposing a homeland for the Jews in the Holy Land, said, “This was a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.” Ronald Reagan noted as well, back in 1948 when Israel was founded, pundits claimed the new country could never survive. Today Mr. Reagan said, “No one questions that Israel is the land of stability and democracy in a region of tyranny and unrest.”

Ladies and gentlemen, every generation in each century of American history, the greatest of American patriots and leaders – Adams, Lincoln, Reagan – have linked the heart of America to the cause of Israel. Why? What is it about America that so deeply connects us to Israel? There are many possible explanations: our shared moral code, rooted deeply in Mosaic law, our common history as nations founded by those seeking refuge from religious persecution, our democratic political systems, our free market economic systems, our shared commitment to equality, tolerance and generosity in the face of less than generous treatment by others.

With all this in common, it is no wonder that we share not only a deep friendship, but we also share enemies. There are many who hate and envy both of our nations, our freedoms, our values, our very existence. The same villainous characters around the world and throughout history have targeted US and Israeli interests, including the Nazis, the Soviet Communists, the Islamic Radicals. Wherever there’s a titan of tyranny anywhere in the world, he hates America and he hates Israel.

What is it about this tiny country, barely holding on to a little strip of land, that so provokes the powers of evil on the earth? I would argue that it’s not just political or historical or ethnic differences driving this animosity. I believe that the presence of the Jewish people, the very presence of the Jewish people, surviving all horrors, thriving in the midst of constant terror and attack, does indeed serve as a rebuke to the nations; because her nationhood, her continued blessedness, despite all the curses that man has spewed and inflicted, is an irrefutable manifestation to the watching world of G-d’s covenant with the people of Israel.

You see, some would argue that we share interests with Israel. I would argue that we share faith with Israel. As modern man becomes increasingly secular and forgets G-d, the nation of Israel is a stark reminder that Israel’s G-d has not forgotten man. Americans are a deeply religious people, with most of us rooted in a Judeo-Christian tradition. As such, our bond with Israel isn’t just on a political or economic level. Our bond is spiritual. As Ruth said to Naomi in the Hebrew Scriptures, so America says to Israel, “Where you go, we will go, your people will be our people, and your G-d our G-d.” That is why we have stuck so closely together all these years. We have always known that our fates our linked.

Ever since the founding of Israel in 1948 and the recognition of her by the US eleven minutes later, America has been a reliable friend, ally and partner in the struggle for Israel’s survival. The world has also always known: you mess with Israel, you mess with America. You try to wipe out seven million Israelis, you better be prepared to take out three hundred million Americans as well. That is why America has said repeatedly that vicious and dangerous regimes like Iran will not, on our watch, develop the capability to carry out their clear and unmistakable threats to destroy Israel and her people. That is, until now.

It grieves me to the core to have to admit that today the American government has abdicated her traditional solidarity with Israel. Today Israel truly stands alone among governments, facing existential threats more dangerous and more imminent that ever before. That’s not to say that Israel has been abandoned however by the American people, but there is no denying that the current administration and its congressional collaborators have left Israel to fend for herself.
Now I’m talking about, of course, the grave and gathering threat in Iran. This threat has never been more urgent and more important, and the US response to such dangerous intentions has never been so timid. We all know the stakes. Iran’s rulers have repeatedly and unashamedly threatened to eliminate Israel and are aggressively enriching uranium to that end. But our intelligence efforts are so tepid that we can’t tell you whether or not those nuclear weapons will be developed within a year or five years.

Undoubtedly, Iran is the most dangerous threat to the world. As Israel implores the international community to take action, what is America’s response? Well, we are governed by a modern day Neville Chamberlain, constantly issuing assurances of coming peace filled with Orwellian doublespeak about not tolerating a nuclear Iran, while simultaneously abandoning every possible point of leverage that can be used to bring Iran’s nuclear program to its knees. World governments know Iran’s economy is in the tank, but this administration’s policy towards Iran is so upside down that President Obama is more likely to offer Iran a Greece style bailout than use Iran’s economic vulnerabilities to put a stake in the heart of her nuclear ambitions.

The only product Iran’s economy can export is terrorism, and at this Iran is unsurpassed by any other nation. Iran’s funding, resources, weapons, training and soldiers are killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan just as sure as they are supporting Hezbollah’s efforts to kill Israelis and further radicalize Israel’s neighbors. If you can examine any of the rockets falling at will and at random on innocent children in Israeli towns, you wouldn’t be surprised to see a sticker reading “I am Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and I approve this message.”

And still the Obama administration dithers. The president shuts down Washington DC for days on end to hold nuclear summits that aren’t attended by the world’s actual nuclear threats and result only in promises by that rogue regime to the north, Canada, to turn over its uranium. All this would be laughable if it wouldn’t be so deadly serious. And the seriousness is felt no where more than in Israel. About five minutes after Iran acquires a nuclear weapon Israel will be bombed. Period. This is an absolute certainty. Iran is not restrained by any sort of instinct for survival the way the Soviets were. So we must take them at their word – they will attack.

This is the cold, hard reality that the international community doesn’t want to face, because admitting it would demand action that is simply inconvenient. It would require ending lucrative business deals. It would require some sacrifice on the part of Europeans. If recent economic events are any indication then short term sacrifice to achieve long term goals seems not to be the modern European strength. It would require some unpleasant diplomatic pressure applied to China, which requires some fiscal restraint here at home, but given the leverage that we have given the Chinese with our debt and deficits that’s not likely to happen. It would require some unpleasant phone calls to Moscow, and liberals today still recoil at anything that would irritate the increasingly repressive, not so former communists in the Kremlin.

All of this is embarrassingly awkward for the president. It has the added downside requiring this administration to stand for something resembling American values, including our traditional solidarity with Israel. It might even require some common courtesy the next time the Israeli prime minister visits the United States. It seems that all of this is simply too much to ask of this administration and those who have an appeasement first mentality. I say, no more! For the sake of Jerusalem, we must not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, we must no longer allow this or any administration to second guess the relationship between Israel and America. For the sake of Jerusalem, the world can no longer demand that Israel sell out the security of her people and make every concession in the book just for the off chance that a Palestinian leadership might show up at the bargaining table willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

This administration has begun to make a different choice when it comes to Israel. The Republican party that I head sees only one choice – solidarity. Now I would argue further that the core principals of our party are inherently friendlier to Israel because they are based on the truth of human nature and good and evil. Republicans, unlike our utopian friends in Washington, recognize that there’s evil in the world, and it is emboldened rather than mitigated by concessions and appeasement. Republicans recognize that liberty will always cost something, but it’s always worth the cost. Republicans understand that the first and foundational responsibility of securing peace is securing strength.

My friends, if Israel is to be safe, if Iran’s nuclear program is to be shut down, then we must recognize that not all political parties are created equally. Ideas have consequences. Elections have consequences. Elections more than ever are not just popularity or beauty contests. They are deadly serious contests of those ideas. Their results matter not just for America, but for the world. Israel’s survival requires an America that is strong and a president whose words have meaning and whose promises are kept.

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said at the 2008 AIPAC policy conference that the only way we lose in the war on terror is if we quit, if we lose the will to support and promote our own values. Well, the only way Israel will lose is if we quit on her, if we lose the will to secure and support her peace. My friends, I cannot promise you the outcome of elections this November. I can’t promise what America will do or won’t do. There used to be a time when America could promise a solidarity with Israel. Even those days are starting to grow dark. However, I will promise you this: Republicans across this nation will continue to stand with our ally and our friend Israel, as we work to secure the future, not only for the next generation of Americans, but for Israel’s children and grandchildren as well.

As I close and as we reflect on these sobering times and what they mean for both Israel and America, I want to share with you the Psalm of Assaf from psalm 83, “Oh G-d, do not keep silent. Be not quiet, oh G-d, be not still. See how Your enemies are astir; how Your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against Your people. They plot against those You cherish. Come they say, let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more. With one mind they plot together. They form an alliance against You. Make them like tumbleweed, oh my G-d, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest or flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm. Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek Your name, oh, my Lord. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed. May they perish in disgrace. Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord, and You alone are the most high over all the earth.”

This is my prayer for Israel. I pray too that there will be a day when, as Golda Meir said, Israel’s enemies love their children more than they hate Israel. I pray that the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will continue to bless his covenant people and that their survival and, indeed, their prosperity as a nation will continue to shame the enemies of freedom and unite Jerusalem forever. May G-d bless our nations and those who defend them. Shalom.

May 31, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

1 Comment / 1 Comment