Rice was emphatic that President Obama "is fiercely devoted to Israel and to the well-being of the Jewish people," and she reviewed the Administration's record in this area: nearly $24 billion in aid to help maintain Israel's qualitative military edge; soon-to-be delivered F-35 airplanes that will make Israel the only Middle East nation to possess this advanced aircraft; joint development of the Iron Dome missile defense system and new anti-tunneling technology; continuing close military and intelligence ties; current negotiations on a military assistance agreement that will run through 2029 and be "the single largest military assistance package—with any country—in American history"; and defense of Israel from attempts to delegitimize and isolate it—a diplomatic battle that Rice herself led for four-and-a-half years as U.S. ambassador to the UN, before assuming her current post.
"When one nation is targeted relentlessly, obsessively, bitterly—as Israel is—that's just wrong. It's ugly. It's bullying in the guise of diplomacy. It has to stop," Rice said.
She spoke as well of the Administration's opposition to the alarming spread of anti-Semitism in the world, and praised AJC's "Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism" campaign, highlighted in an AJC two-page ad in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, as "a powerful statement against hate."
Rice recalled her longstanding ties with AJC and its Distinguished Public Service Award she had received in 2013. In doing so, she called the advocacy organization "America's conscience" and "the world's conscience."
"I've been truly fortunate, as I've said, to work with you at the UN and now as the President's National Security Advisor," she said.
Rice made the case for the Iran deal—which AJC, after three weeks of deliberations, chose to oppose—as beneficial "for Israel's long-term security." She said that the deal "closed off every possible path to building a nuclear weapon—every single one—and subjected Iran to the most comprehensive nuclear inspections regime ever negotiated." She was quick to add that "we're under no illusions" about Iran's aggressive policies, and promised, "We will not let Iran off the hook."
U.S. commitment to Israeli security, said Rice, also motivates the Administration's support for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, as seen in Secretary of State Kerry's participation in the recent conference of foreign ministers in Paris. "A negotiated two-state solution is the only way to achieve an enduring peace," said Rice, adding that "a solution cannot be imposed on the parties." But, she continued, "meaningful actions" must be taken by both sides to create conditions for productive negotiations toward a two-state solution. Otherwise, in her view, the situation could spiral out of control. Rice specifically condemned Palestinian "incitement and violence," and said that Israel's "settlement activity corrodes the prospects for two states."
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee