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Obama's Addresses AIPAC

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    Obama is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Chicago and NOT a Professor of Law, as he falsely claims. Let me be clear. Israel s security is
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2008
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      Obama is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Chicago and
      NOT a Professor of Law, as he falsely claims.

      "Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-
      negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and
      cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with
      the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish
      state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem
      will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided. "

      Election 2008
      Transcript: Obama's Speech at AIPAC
      June 4, 2008

      Illinois Sen. Barack Obama delivered a speech on Wednesday, June 4,
      before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The speech
      comes the day after he secured enough delegates to clinch the
      Democratic nomination and become the first African-American
      candidate for president. In these prepared remarks provided by his
      campaign, Obama tries to allay doubts that some Jewish voters have
      expressed about his candidacy. He talks about his great-uncle's
      service in World War II, as a member of the infantry division that
      first liberated a Nazi concentration camp. He also calls Israel's
      security non-negotiable and compares his policies toward Israel with
      those of Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain.

      It's great to see so many friends from across the country. I want to
      congratulate Howard Friedman, David Victor and Howard Kohr on a
      successful conference, and on the completion of a new headquarters
      just a few blocks away.

      Before I begin, I want to say that I know some provocative e-mails
      have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the
      country. A few of you may have gotten them. They're filled with tall
      tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president. And
      all I want to say is — let me know if you see this guy named Barack
      Obama, because he sounds pretty frightening.

      But if anyone has been confused by these e-mails, I want you to know
      that today I'll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of
      Israel. And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends.
      Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure
      that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable
      today, tomorrow and forever.

      One of the many things that I admire about AIPAC is that you fight
      for this common cause from the bottom up. The lifeblood of AIPAC is
      here in this room — grass-roots activists of all ages, from all
      parts of the country, who come to Washington year after year to make
      your voices heard. Nothing reflects the face of AIPAC more than the
      1,200 students who have traveled here to make it clear to the world
      that the bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more
      than our shared national interests — it's rooted in the shared
      values and shared stories of our people. And as president, I will
      work with you to ensure that this bond is strengthened.

      I first became familiar with the story of Israel when I was 11 years
      old. I learned of the long journey and steady determination of the
      Jewish people to preserve their identity through faith, family and
      culture. Year after year, century after century, Jews carried on
      their traditions, and their dream of a homeland, in the face of
      impossible odds.

      The story made a powerful impression on me. I had grown up without a
      sense of roots. My father was black; he was from Kenya, and he left
      us when I was 2. My mother was white; she was from Kansas, and I'd
      moved with her to Indonesia and then back to Hawaii. In many ways, I
      didn't know where I came from. So I was drawn to the belief that you
      could sustain a spiritual, emotional and cultural identity. And I
      deeply understood the Zionist idea — that there is always a homeland
      at the center of our story.

      I also learned about the horror of the Holocaust, and the terrible
      urgency it brought to the journey home to Israel. For much of my
      childhood, I lived with my grandparents. My grandfather had served
      in World War II, and so had my great-uncle. He was a Kansas boy who
      probably never expected to see Europe — let alone the horrors that
      awaited him there. And for months after he came home from Germany,
      he remained in a state of shock, alone with the painful memories
      that wouldn't leave his head.

      You see, my great-uncle had been a part of the 89th Infantry
      Division — the first Americans to reach a Nazi concentration camp.
      They liberated Ohrdruf, part of Buchenwald, on an April day in 1945.
      The horrors of that camp go beyond our capacity to imagine. Tens of
      thousands died of hunger, torture, disease, or plain murder — part
      of the Nazi killing machine that killed 6 million people.

      When the Americans marched in, they discovered huge piles of dead
      bodies and starving survivors. Gen. Eisenhower ordered Germans from
      the nearby town to tour the camp, so they could see what was being
      done in their name. He ordered American troops to tour the camp, so
      they could see the evil they were fighting against. He invited
      congressmen and journalists to bear witness. And he ordered that
      photographs and films be made. Explaining his actions, Eisenhower
      said that he wanted to produce "firsthand evidence of these things,
      if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these
      allegations merely to propaganda."

      I saw some of those very images at Yad Vashem, and they never leave
      you. And those images just hint at the stories that survivors of the
      Shoah carried with them. Like Eisenhower, each of us bears witness
      to anyone and everyone who would deny these unspeakable crimes, or
      ever speak of repeating them. We must mean what we say when we speak
      the words "never again."

      It was just a few years after the liberation of the camps that David
      Ben-Gurion declared the founding of the Jewish State of Israel. We
      know that the establishment of Israel was just and necessary, rooted
      in centuries of struggle and decades of patient work. But 60 years
      later, we know that we cannot relent, we cannot yield, and as
      president I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's

      Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust. Not when
      there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to
      Israel's destruction. Not when there are maps across the Middle East
      that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence, and government-
      funded textbooks filled with hatred toward Jews. Not when there are
      rockets raining down on Sderot, and Israeli children have to take a
      deep breath and summon uncommon courage every time they board a bus
      or walk to school.
      I have long understood Israel's quest for peace and need for
      security. But never more so than during my travels there two years
      ago. Flying in an [Israeli Defense Forces] helicopter, I saw a
      narrow and beautiful strip of land nestled against the
      Mediterranean. On the ground, I met a family who saw their house
      destroyed by a Katyusha rocket. I spoke to Israeli troops who faced
      daily threats as they maintained security near the blue line. I
      talked to people who wanted nothing more simple, or elusive, than a
      secure future for their children.

      I have been proud to be a part of a strong, bipartisan consensus
      that has stood by Israel in the face of all threats. That is a
      commitment that both John McCain and I share, because support for
      Israel in this country goes beyond party. But part of our commitment
      must be speaking up when Israel's security is at risk, and I don't
      think any of us can be satisfied that America's recent foreign
      policy has made Israel more secure.

      Hamas now controls Gaza. Hezbollah has tightened its grip on
      southern Lebanon, and is flexing its muscles in Beirut. Because of
      the war in Iraq, Iran — which always posed a greater threat to
      Israel than Iraq — is emboldened and poses the greatest strategic
      challenge to the United States and Israel in the Middle East in a
      generation. Iraq is unstable, and al-Qaida has stepped up its
      recruitment. Israel's quest for peace with its neighbors has
      stalled, despite the heavy burdens borne by the Israeli people. And
      America is more isolated in the region, reducing our strength and
      jeopardizing Israel's safety.

      The question is how to move forward. There are those who would
      continue and intensify this failed status quo, ignoring eight years
      of accumulated evidence that our foreign policy is dangerously
      flawed. And then there are those who would lay all of the problems
      of the Middle East at the doorstep of Israel and its supporters, as
      if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all trouble in
      the region. These voices blame the Middle East's only democracy for
      the region's extremism. They offer the false promise that abandoning
      a stalwart ally is somehow the path to strength. It is not, it never
      has been, and it never will be.

      Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those
      who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these
      threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an
      unshakeable commitment to Israel's security.
      That starts with ensuring Israel's qualitative military advantage. I
      will ensure that Israel can defend itself from any threat — from
      Gaza to Tehran. Defense cooperation between the United States and
      Israel is a model of success, and must be deepened. As president, I
      will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30
      billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade — investments
      to Israel's security that will not be tied to any other nation.
      First, we must approve the foreign aid request for 2009. Going
      forward, we can enhance our cooperation on missile defense. We
      should export military equipment to our ally Israel under the same
      guidelines as NATO. And I will always stand up for Israel's right to
      defend itself in the United Nations and around the world.

      Across the political spectrum, Israelis understand that real
      security can only come through lasting peace. And that is why we —
      as friends of Israel — must resolve to do all we can to help Israel
      and its neighbors to achieve it. Because a secure, lasting peace is
      in Israel's national interest. It is in America's national interest.
      And it is in the interest of the Palestinian people and the Arab
      world. As president, I will work to help Israel achieve the goal of
      two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living
      side by side in peace and security. And I won't wait until the
      waning days of my presidency. I will take an active role, and make a
      personal commitment to do all I can to advance the cause of peace
      from the start of my administration.

      The long road to peace requires Palestinian partners committed to
      making the journey. We must isolate Hamas unless and until they
      renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by
      past agreements. There is no room at the negotiating table for
      terrorist organizations. That is why I opposed holding elections in
      2006 with Hamas on the ballot. The Israelis and the Palestinian
      Authority warned us at the time against holding these elections. But
      this administration pressed ahead, and the result is a Gaza
      controlled by Hamas, with rockets raining down on Israel.

      The Palestinian people must understand that progress will not come
      through the false prophets of extremism or the corrupt use of
      foreign aid. The United States and the international community must
      stand by Palestinians who are committed to cracking down on terror
      and carrying the burden of peacemaking. I will strongly urge Arab
      governments to take steps to normalize relations with Israel, and to
      fulfill their responsibility to pressure extremists and provide real
      support for President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. Egypt must
      cut off the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Israel can also advance
      the cause of peace by taking appropriate steps — consistent with its
      security — to ease the freedom of movement for Palestinians, improve
      economic conditions in the West Bank, and to refrain from building
      new settlements — as it agreed to with the Bush administration at

      Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-
      negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and
      cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with
      the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish
      state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem
      will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

      I have no illusions that this will be easy. It will require
      difficult decisions on both sides. But Israel is strong enough to
      achieve peace, if it has partners who are committed to the goal.
      Most Israelis and Palestinians want peace, and we must strengthen
      their hand. The United States must be a strong and consistent
      partner in this process — not to force concessions, but to help
      committed partners avoid stalemate and the kind of vacuums that are
      filled by violence. That's what I commit to do as president of the
      United States.

      The threats to Israel start close to home, but they don't end there.
      Syria continues its support for terror and meddling in Lebanon. And
      Syria has taken dangerous steps in pursuit of weapons of mass
      destruction, which is why Israeli action was justified to end that

      I also believe that the United States has a responsibility to
      support Israel's efforts to renew peace talks with the Syrians. We
      must never force Israel to the negotiating table, but neither should
      we ever block negotiations when Israel's leaders decide that they
      may serve Israeli interests. As president, I will do whatever I can
      to help Israel succeed in these negotiations. And success will
      require the full enforcement of Security Council Resolution 1701 in
      Lebanon, and a stop to Syria's support for terror. It is time for
      this reckless behavior to come to an end.

      There is no greater threat to Israel — or to the peace and stability
      of the region — than Iran. Now this audience is made up of both
      Republicans and Democrats, and the enemies of Israel should have no
      doubt that, regardless of party, Americans stand shoulder to
      shoulder in our commitment to Israel's security. So while I don't
      want to strike too partisan a note here today, I do want to address
      some willful mischaracterizations of my positions.

      The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us
      across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark
      a dangerous arms race and raise the prospect of a transfer of
      nuclear know-how to terrorists. Its president denies the Holocaust
      and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is
      grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.

      But just as we are cleareyed about the threat, we must be clear
      about the failure of today's policy. We knew, in 2002, that Iran
      supported terrorism. We knew Iran had an illicit nuclear program. We
      knew Iran posed a grave threat to Israel. But instead of pursuing a
      strategy to address this threat, we ignored it and instead invaded
      and occupied Iraq. When I opposed the war, I warned that it would
      fan the flames of extremism in the Middle East. That is precisely
      what happened in Iran — the hard-liners tightened their grip, and
      Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005. And the United
      States and Israel are less secure.

      I respect Sen. McCain, and look forward to a substantive debate with
      him these next five months. But on this point, we have differed, and
      we will differ. Sen. McCain refuses to understand or acknowledge the
      failure of the policy that he would continue. He criticizes my
      willingness to use strong diplomacy but offers only an alternate
      reality — one where the war in Iraq has somehow put Iran on its
      heels. The truth is the opposite. Iran has strengthened its
      position. Iran is now enriching uranium and has reportedly
      stockpiled 150 kilos of low enriched uranium. Its support for
      terrorism and threats toward Israel have increased. Those are the
      facts, they cannot be denied, and I refuse to continue a policy that
      has made the United States and Israel less secure.

      Sen. McCain offers a false choice: stay the course in Iraq, or cede
      the region to Iran. I reject this logic because there is a better
      way. Keeping all of our troops tied down indefinitely in Iraq is not
      the way to weaken Iran — it is precisely what has strengthened it.
      It is a policy for staying, not a plan for victory. I have proposed
      a responsible, phased redeployment of our troops from Iraq. We will
      get out as carefully as we were careless getting in. We will finally
      pressure Iraq's leaders to take meaningful responsibility for their
      own future.

      We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I
      will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a
      nuclear weapon. That starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy
      without self-defeating preconditions, but with a cleareyed
      understanding of our interests. We have no time to waste. We cannot
      unconditionally rule out an approach that could prevent Iran from
      obtaining a nuclear weapon. We have tried limited, piecemeal talks
      while we outsource the sustained work to our European allies. It is
      time for the United States to lead.

      There will be careful preparation. We will open up lines of
      communication, build an agenda, coordinate closely with our allies,
      and evaluate the potential for progress. Contrary to the claims of
      some, I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just
      for the sake of talking. But as president of the United States, I
      would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the
      appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing — if,
      and only if, it can advance the interests of the United States.

      Only recently have some come to think that diplomacy by definition
      cannot be tough. They forget the example of Truman, and Kennedy and
      Reagan. These presidents understood that diplomacy backed by real
      leverage was a fundamental tool of statecraft. And it is time to
      once again make American diplomacy a tool to succeed, not just a
      means of containing failure. We will pursue this diplomacy with no
      illusions about the Iranian regime. Instead, we will present a clear
      choice. If you abandon your dangerous nuclear program, support for
      terror, and threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives —
      including the lifting of sanctions, and political and economic
      integration with the international community. If you refuse, we will
      ratchet up the pressure.

      My presidency will strengthen our hand as we restore our standing.
      Our willingness to pursue diplomacy will make it easier to mobilize
      others to join our cause. If Iran fails to change course when
      presented with this choice by the United States, it will be clear —
      to the people of Iran, and to the world — that the Iranian regime is
      the author of its own isolation. That will strengthen our hand with
      Russia and China as we insist on stronger sanctions in the Security
      Council. And we should work with Europe, Japan and the Gulf states
      to find every avenue outside the U.N. to isolate the Iranian regime —
      from cutting off loan guarantees and expanding financial sanctions,
      to banning the export of refined petroleum to Iran, to boycotting
      firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, whose Quds
      force has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.

      I was interested to see Sen. McCain propose divestment as a source
      of leverage — not the bigoted divestment that has sought to punish
      Israeli scientists and academics, but divestment targeted at the
      Iranian regime. It's a good concept, but not a new one. I introduced
      legislation over a year ago that would encourage states and the
      private sector to divest from companies that do business in Iran.
      This bill has bipartisan support, but for reasons that I'll let him
      explain, Sen. McCain never signed on. Meanwhile, an anonymous
      senator is blocking the bill. It is time to pass this into law so
      that we can tighten the squeeze on the Iranian regime. We should
      also pursue other unilateral sanctions that target Iranian banks and

      And we must free ourselves from the tyranny of oil. The price of a
      barrel of oil is one of the most dangerous weapons in the world.
      Petrodollars pay for weapons that kill American troops and Israeli
      citizens. And the Bush administration's policies have driven up the
      price of oil, while its energy policy has made us more dependent on
      foreign oil and gas. It's time for the United States to take real
      steps to end our addiction to oil. And we can join with Israel,
      building on last year's U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, to
      deepen our partnership in developing alternative sources of energy
      by increasing scientific collaboration and joint research and
      development. The surest way to increase our leverage in the long
      term is to stop bankrolling the Iranian regime.

      Finally, let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of
      military action on the table to defend our security and our ally
      Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation. But
      that only makes diplomacy more important. If we must use military
      force, we are more likely to succeed, and will have far greater
      support at home and abroad, if we have exhausted our diplomatic

      That is the change we need in our foreign policy. Change that
      restores American power and influence. Change accompanied by a
      pledge that I will make known to allies and adversaries alike: that
      America maintains an unwavering friendship with Israel, and an
      unshakeable commitment to its security.

      As members of AIPAC, you have helped advance this bipartisan
      consensus to support and defend our ally Israel. And I am sure that
      today on Capitol Hill you will be meeting with members of Congress
      and spreading the word. But we are here because of more than policy.
      We are here because the values we hold dear are deeply embedded in
      the story of Israel.

      Just look at what Israel has accomplished in 60 years. From decades
      of struggle and the terrible wake of the Holocaust, a nation was
      forged to provide a home for Jews from all corners of the world —
      from Syria to Ethiopia to the Soviet Union. In the face of constant
      threats, Israel has triumphed. In the face of constant peril, Israel
      has prospered. In a state of constant insecurity, Israel has
      maintained a vibrant and open discourse, and a resilient commitment
      to the rule of law.

      As any Israeli will tell you, Israel is not a perfect place, but
      like the United States it sets an example for all when it seeks a
      more perfect future. These same qualities can be found among
      American Jews. It is why so many Jewish Americans have stood by
      Israel, while advancing the American story. Because there is a
      commitment embedded in the Jewish faith and tradition: to freedom
      and fairness; to social justice and equal opportunity. To tikkun
      olam — the obligation to repair this world.

      I will never forget that I would not be standing here today if it
      weren't for that commitment. In the great social movements in our
      country's history, Jewish and African Americans have stood shoulder
      to shoulder. They took buses down south together. They marched
      together. They bled together. And Jewish Americans like Andrew
      Goodman and Michael Schwerner were willing to die alongside a black
      man — James Chaney — on behalf of freedom and equality.

      Their legacy is our inheritance. We must not allow the relationship
      between Jews and African Americans to suffer. This is a bond that
      must be strengthened. Together, we can rededicate ourselves to end
      prejudice and combat hatred in all of its forms. Together, we can
      renew our commitment to justice. Together, we can join our voices
      together, and in doing so make even the mightiest of walls fall

      That work must include our shared commitment to Israel. You and I
      know that we must do more than stand still. Now is the time to be
      vigilant in facing down every foe, just as we move forward in
      seeking a future of peace for the children of Israel, and for all
      children. Now is the time to stand by Israel as it writes the next
      chapter in its extraordinary journey. Now is the time to join
      together in the work of repairing this world.


      US Democrats vow to defend Israel


      The Democratic candidates for the US presidency have both vowed to
      defend Israel against a potential attack by Iran during a debate
      ahead of the key Pennsylvania primary.

      Hillary Clinton warned of a "massive retaliation" against Tehran if
      Israel was attacked, while Barack Obama said any Iranian strike
      would be "unacceptable".

      "We will let the Iranians know that, yes, an attack on Israel would
      trigger massive retaliation," Clinton said.

      The New York senator also said the US should provide a "security
      umbrella" to Middle Eastern states that gave up their own nuclear

      The Democratic rivals held a televised debate in Philadelphia on
      Wednesday ahead of the Democratic primary poll in Pennsylvania on
      April 22.

      Carter criticism

      Obama had earlier pledged to help Israel defend against regional
      threats, and criticised Jimmy Carter, the former US president, for
      seeking to meet Hamas leaders while on a trip to the Middle East.

      Hamas is not a state, Hamas is a terrorist organisation

      Barack Obama

      "Hamas is not a state, Hamas is a terrorist organisation," Obama
      said at a Philadelphia synagogue on Wednesday.

      At the debate, he said: "An [Iranian] attack on Israel is an attack
      on our strongest ally in the region, one whose security we consider

      "That would be an act of aggression that I would consider
      unacceptable and the United States would take appropriate action."

      Janet McElligott, a political strategist and former official in the
      administration of former president Bush, told Al Jazeera the issue
      was not an important one for the US electorate and that the power of
      the pro-Israel lobby in the US helped magnify for the issue for the

      "Israel pours tons and tons of money into everybody's campaigns and
      they actually target people for defeat," she said.

      However unlike Clinton, the Illinois senator said he would be
      prepared to hold direct talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian
      president, over the row over Tehran's nuclear programme.

      Nuclear row

      On Thursday, Ahmadinejad described Iran as the "most powerful
      nation" on earth as the country's air force put on a display outside

      The Iranian leader also warned that the country's armed forces would
      respond immediately to any military strike.

      The US and Israel, the Middle East's sole undeclared nuclear power,
      have accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear power programme as a
      cover for attempting to develop an atomic bomb.

      Tehran vehemently denies that the technology used for producing fuel
      for nuclear power is being used to enrich the uranium to a much
      higher level to produce a nuclear explosion.

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