House Speaker Paul Ryan at AIPAC: The United States stands with Israel now, tomorrow and always.
House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) addressed the 2017 AIPAC policy conference on Monday, saying he was encouraged to see so many young people in the crowd.
“You are the next generation of leaders and I can’t thank you enough for getting involved,” he said.
Ryan recalled that his first trip as House Speaker was to Israel, where he “saw the difference that our support for Israel makes.”
The United States-Israel relationship “is not a one-way street. It is a strategic partnership rooted in shared interests,” he added.
Ryan said that the actions of the former Obama administration “damaged this trust” between the countries.
“But now it’s time to turn the page. We have a new president, and let me assure you right now: President Trump’s commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. Congress commitment to Israel is sacrosanct,” he stressed.
Regarding the Iran deal, Ryan said it has been “an unmitigated disaster”, noting that Iran has been provided with millions in sanctions relief and in resumed its ballistic missile deal and still has an eye on nuclear weapons.
“We must tighten the screws on Iranian compliance and continue to impose non-nuclear sanctions,” he continued, noting that the Trump administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran following its ballistic missile tests.
“We can’t embrace this deal as a fait accompli,” said Ryan, noting that the deal allows Iran to develop centrifuges. As such, he continued, “all options can and must remain on the table.”
“We must fulfill our security commitment to Israel,” he said. “Despite all the turmoil and violence in the Middle East, Israel has ben largely able to calm its borders and prevent terrorist attacks. Hats off to Israel.”
At the same time, Israel is still under the threat of rockets from Gaza and Lebanon, and Israel and the U.S. must continue to develop means to stop this threat, he stressed.
“We cannot let down our guard, and that’s why I pledge to you: So long as I’m Speaker, we will meet our commitments to Israel. We are there and we will be there for Israel!” said Ryan.
The Speaker noted that Israel is not just under threat from rockets and missiles, but also from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate Israel “under the thin veil of human rights”. He cited as an example the anti-Israel actions taken by the UN.
“I want to say to the UN: We will not tolerate your anti-Israel bias. The Trump administration will not tolerate your anti-Israel bias. And our ambassador Nikki Haley will not tolerate your anti-Israel bias.”
BDS “is nothing short of another incarnate of anti-Semitism,” he stressed. “This has never been about peace. It only makes a lasting agreement between Israelis and Palestinians unlikely. This is about one thing and one thing only: Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.”
Ryan said he still believes peace is possible, “but it requires leadership. How can we ask Israel to make peace with the Palestinian Authority that forms a unity government with Hamas and that incites to anti-Semitism and violence and then goes and names public squares after terrorists? How can we ask Israel to offer painful concessions when the other side still refuses to acknowledge its right to exist?”
He condemned recent acts of anti-Semitism against American Jews as “vile and disgusting” and stressed they must be rejected.
Despite all the challenges in the world, one thing remains and that is “our unbreakable alliance with Israel. The United States stands with Israel now, tomorrow and always!” he concluded.