WASHINGTON, April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- White House Chief of Staff William Daley, addressing AJC's 2011 Global Forum, proclaimed that, "The President's support for Israel's security has been and will be unshakeable."
Daley, in his first speech to a Jewish audience as White House chief of staff, challenged those who question Israel's legitimacy and highlighted instances of Obama Administration solidarity with Israel. These include the Obama Administration's opposition to anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, objecting to the UN's so-called Goldstone Report that denied Israel's right to self-defense against Hamas in Gaza, and the momentous decision to withdraw from the Durban review process to disassociate from efforts to single out Israel for condemnation.
Referring to the announcement this week of a potential Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, Daley branded Hamas "a terrorist organization which targets civilians." He also called on all of Israel's neighbors to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist – and stressed the urgency of thwarting Iran's nuclear-weapons ambitions.
Speaking before a standing-room audience of more than 1,500 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Daley underscored the U.S. commitment to Israel's security, noting that despite tough budget cuts, funds for Israel's defense were not diminished – and, in fact, were augmented to provide for the "Iron Dome" anti-rocket system. He emphasized that U.S.-Israel military relations are at an unprecedented level of collaboration.
Panama President Ricardo Martinelli, German Defense Minister Dr. Thomas de Maiziere, and Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov also addressed the Global Forum tonight, and a message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was read by Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni.
Complimenting AJC's role in the United States and around the world, Daley said, "For over one hundred years, [AJC] has worked to make the ideals of human rights real for this country and around the world."
Daley thanked AJC for its vital and effective advocacy for causes important to both President Obama and AJC, including energy security, immigration reform, and free-trade policies.
Recounting a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Daley spoke movingly of his Irish-American immigrant family's debt to the United States, mourning those during Europe's darkest hours who were not as fortunate.