Remarks by the Vice President at Christians United for Israel Washington Summit
Washington Convention Center
8:48 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hello, CUFI! (Applause.) Thank you, Pastor John Hagee, Ambassador Dermer, distinguished members of Congress, honored guests, my fellow believers and friends, it is humbling for me to be before you today to join you at the 12th annual summit of the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States of America -- Christians United for Israel! (Applause.)
It’s great to be back with so many friends. And to all of you -- I bring greetings from another friend. I just left him a few moments ago. He is a leader, a believer, and a tireless friend of the Jewish state of Israel -- the 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Thanks to the support of so many in this room and your prayers, last November President Trump won a historic victory -- more counties than any President since Ronald Reagan, 30 of 50 states -- no Republican had carried in a generation. The truth is President Donald Trump turned the blue wall red, and you made it happen. (Applause.)
Now as the Good Book says: If you owe debts, pay debts. If honor, then honor. If respect, then respect. And I’m really here on the President’s behalf and on our entire team’s behalf to pay a debt of gratitude to all of you who helped elect a President who is fighting every single day to defend faith, restore freedom, and strengthen America’s unbreakable bond with our most cherished ally, Israel. (Applause.)
Just last month, President Trump made a historic visit to Israel. I know all of you were watching from afar. One of the very first countries our President visited since he took office, standing in Jerusalem, in that ancient and holy city, our President declared for all the world to hear that under his leadership, the United States of America “will always stand with Israel.” (Applause.)
In Jerusalem, our President said that the bond between America and Israel in his words “is woven together in the hearts of our people” -- and Christians United for Israel proves this statement true every single day all across this country.
You know, it was only 11 years ago that my friend Pastor John Hagee had the courage and the vision to unite American Christians to rally around those ancient words “for Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent.” And, Pastor John Hagee, I thank you for your leadership on behalf of this nation and the Jewish state of Israel. (Applause.)
And today, through Christians United for Israel, more than 3.3 million believers have raised their voices, have not been silent in support of Israel, and you can be heard in every city and town across America and in every office on Capitol Hill. And rest assured, the man down the street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hears you, too. (Applause.)
Now for my part, Karen and I have always treasured our relationship with Christians United for Israel. I had the honor to speak to this great group when I was a member of Congress. I worked hand-in-hand with CUFI when I was governor of the state of Indiana. And with the support and prayers of men and women gathered in this room, I’m proud to say in my last year as governor, it was my great privilege to sign one of the strongest anti-BDS laws in the America to ensure that our state never does business with those who seek to inflict financial damage on Israel. (Applause.) Because boycott, divestment, and sanctions have no place in my home state and no place in America. (Applause.)
It’s humbling to stand before you today for another reason because it was just one year ago this past weekend that the phone rang at the governor’s residence, and there was a familiar voice on other line. And I remember when that call came and when the invitation came to join this national ticket, I couldn’t help but think of that ancient verses: Who am I and who is my family, that you’ve brought me this far?
So tonight, let me just take a moment to thank all of you men and women of CUFI, and all those you represent around America, thank you for your friendship, your support, and your prayers every step of the way on the journey my little family has taken throughout my career. It’s hard for me to express before you friends of so many years the humility and gratitude I feel today to stand before you today as the 48th Vice President of the United States of America. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. (Applause.)
My friends, to look at Israel is to see that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob keeps his promises, keeps the promises He makes to His people and to each one of us.
Ezekiel prophesized: “Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live.” And the State of Israel and her people bear witness to God’s faithfulness, as well as their own.
How unlikely was Israel’s birth, how more unlikely has been her survival, and how confounding, against the odds, has been her thriving.
Since the moment of their independence, the Jewish people have awed the world with their strength of will and their strength of character.
Indeed, anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear must acknowledge that Israel is a living testimony to the power of hope over hate and so will she always be. (Applause.)
The Jewish people have turned the desert into a garden, sickness into health, scarcity into plenty, despair into hope, and slander into blessings -- rebuking all who condemn them; not for what they do wrong, but for what they do right.
And under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel. Now and always. (Applause.)
President Trump and I stand with Israel for the same reason every freedom-loving American stands with Israel -- because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight.
And President Trump is actually a lifelong friend of Israel. I’ve seen his passion firsthand in the President’s deep affection for Israel. The morning after the election, I was actually in the room when Prime Minister Netanyahu called to congratulate the President on his great victory. I heard President Trump express his unwavering support for Israel and the Jewish people that morning, support he reiterated when he welcomed the Prime Minister to the White House.
And just last month, the world saw our President’s commitment to Israel during that visit to Jerusalem, when President Donald Trump declared that America’s “deep and lasting friendship” with Israel will only in his words “grow deeper and stronger as we work together in the days ahead.” (Applause.)
For my part, like all of you, my passion for Israel springs from my Christian faith. The songs of the land and the people of Israel were the anthems of my youth. As for me and my house, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all who call her home. It’s really the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who cares so deeply for our most cherished ally.
And let me say with confidence to all gathered here and to all of the watching world, President Trump and I stand without apology for Israel today. We will stand without apology for Israel tomorrow, and President Donald Trump and I will stand with the Israel always -- of that you may be assured. (Applause.)
You just need to look at the actions our President has taken since he took office. Like when he named Governor Nikki Haley to be America’s Ambassador to the United Nations. (Applause.)
At the President’s direction, Ambassador Haley has been standing up for America and she’s been standing up for Israel. And as Ambassador Haley said just a short while ago, in her words, “The days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.” (Applause.)
And the President also named David Friedman to represent our country in Israel as our ambassador. David is an unabashed advocate for a stronger America-Israel relationship, and our friendship is already stronger with him in our embassy in Israel.
And to the men and women of Christians United for Israel, this President hears you. This President stands with you. And I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is only when. (Applause.)
President Trump is also personally committed to helping the parties resolve the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition to his own visit to Israel, the President has dispatched several of his top advisors to help guide negotiations. But our President I can assure knows any peace requires an end to the incitement of hatred, an end to any support whatsoever of terrorism. And above all else, a lasting peace requires true and complete Palestinian willingness to accept and recognize the Jewish state of Israel. (Applause.)
And while there will undoubtedly have to be compromises, let me assure all of you gathered here today, President Donald Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel -- not now, not ever. (Applause.)
Since the moment of its birth, there has hardly been a day when Israelis have lived without war, or the fear of war, or the grim reality of terror. We were reminded of this just last Friday, when three gunmen ambushed a group of Israeli police officers in the very heart of Jerusalem. Two brave officers were murdered in this barbaric act of terrorism. We mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve. We grieve with the families of these fallen heroes of Israel, and the prayers of our President, our family, and all who cherish Israel are with these heroic law enforcement officers and their families. (Applause.)
And so is our resolve. President Trump has made it clear: America stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, as together we confront those enemies who threaten our people, our freedom, and our very way of life.
America and Israel are united together as friends and allies in the West. Just a few weeks ago, in Warsaw, Poland -- home to so much Jewish history, and so much Jewish heartache, our President defined our struggle with moral clarity, courage, and vision more than any President since Ronald Reagan when President Trump declared in his words: “The West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph.” (Applause.)
We will triumph because our courage and conviction cannot be matched, and for that matter, neither can our strength.
Today, America’s support for Israel’s security is at record levels. And America now has a President who is fighting every day to rebuild our military.
And under President Donald Trump I promise you we're going to rebuild this military. We're going to restore the arsenal of democracy. And we're once again going to give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need and deserve to accomplish their mission and come home safe. (Applause.)
In President Trump, America once again has a leader who will stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies. And this President calls our enemies by their name. And at this very moment I’m proud to report, the Armed Forces of the United States of America are taking the fight to ISIS terrorist on our terms and on their soil. And under this Commander-in-Chief, we will continue to fight ISIS until we wipe them off the face of the Earth. (Applause.)
And under President Trump America will continue to stand strong, continue to stand strong in the face of the leading state sponsor of terrorism. President Trump has put Iran on notice: America will no longer tolerate Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region and jeopardize Israel’s security.
And let me be clear on this point: Under President Donald Trump, the United States of America will not allow Iran to develop a useable nuclear weapon. This is our solemn promise to the American people, to the people of Israel, and to the world. (Applause.)
So we stand with Israel. We stand with Israel today and every day, because the American people throughout our history have always cherished Israel.
We stand with Israel because our bond was knit millennia ago in the finery of faith. And we stand with Israel because millions of Americans throughout the generations of this country have embraced that ancient truth and admonition that He will bless those who bless her, and he will curse those who curse her.
Indeed, though Israel was built by human hands, it is impossible not to sense that just beneath its history, lies the hand of heaven. (Applause.)
Over the mantle of our home, since the year I was first elected to Congress, are framed words that have long inspired my family. We had them over the fireplace in our home in a small town in southern Indiana. We had them over the fireplace at the governor’s residence in Indianapolis, and now they hang over the mantle of the home of the Vice President of the United States.
They're words of confidence and faith. They're words to which my family has repaired to as generations of Americans have done so throughout our history, and the people of Israel through all their storied history have clung. They come from the Book of Jeremiah, and it simply reads: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope, and a future.”
These words are as true today for all people of faith as they were in millennia past. And so I encourage you to embrace them. I urge the men and women of Christians United for Israel to cling to that hope and that promise, and I urge you to do particularly what you’ve done exceedingly well these many years, to continue to bow the head, to bend the knee, and to pray. Pray for our most cherished ally. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray that God will continue to bless America.
And when you pray, pray with confidence because our God is a faithful God, and He will guide us, and He will guard us as we go forth and do His work. (Applause.)
And so I thank you for the honor of joining you once again in this new capacity. And I close tonight saying simply from my heart as I look out on this shining crowd, and I see the support that you represent all across this country for our most cherished ally. And I have faith. I have faith that with God’s help and with the men and women gathered here, with all those who cherish Israel, and with President Donald Trump in the White House, the best days for Israel and for America together are yet to come. (Applause.)
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the Jewish state of Israel and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
9:12 P.M. EDT