January 22, 2018
News Press Release

ZOA Praises VP Pence on Jerusalem and Iran Positions in Knesset Speech

VP Mike Pence (Lior Mizrahi, Getty Images)

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) praises Vice-President Mike Pence for his extraordinary and powerful address to the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel today.  In his speech, VP Pence reaffirmed American recognition that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital; described the Jewish people’s 3,000-year-old unbreakable bond with Jerusalem; properly referred to the Jewish homeland’s reestablishment as its rebirth of the modern state of Israel; stated that the Trump administration will transfer the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the “end of next year”; called upon Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) to return to the negotiating table; reaffirmed that the US will no longer certify the “ill-conceived” “disaster” Iran nuclear deal, and will immediately withdraw from the deal unless it is fixed; solemnly promised that the U.S. will ensure that the brutal, radical Shia Iranian regime will not obtain nuclear weapons; and declared that the U.S. will no longer tolerate the Iranian Islamist regime’s support of terrorism.

Vice President Pence’s speech was one of the most pro-Israel speeches ever delivered by a foreign official. It was also one of the most clear-thinking anti-terror speeches ever delivered. The ZOA is so proud and appreciative of VP Pence. 

In his speech to the Knesset – the first ever delivered by an incumbent American Vice-President, Vice-President Pence said on the following matters:

Jerusalem Recognition and US Embassy Move: “Just last month, President Donald Trump made history. He righted a 70year wrong, he kept his promise to the American people when he announced that the United States of America will finally acknowledge Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. The Jewish people’s unbreakable bond to this sacred city reaches back more than 3,000 years. It was here, in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, and was credited with righteousness for his faith in God. It was here, in Jerusalem, that King David consecrated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. And since its rebirth, the modern State of Israel has called this city the seat of its government. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that the United States Embassy will open before the end of next year. . . . By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction.”

Peace Negotiations: [President Trump is] fully committed to achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians … if both sides agree, the United States will support a two-state solution. . . . Today, we strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table. Peace can only come through dialogue . . . any peace agreement must guarantee Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself.”

The Iran Nuclear Deal: “The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster and the United States of America will no longer certify this ill-conceived agreement. . . . [Trump’s decision to extend a sanctions waiver was done solely to gain time for the US Congress] and our European allies [in order to toughen penalties against the Islamic Republic] This is the last time: Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed, President Trump, the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately.… Beyond the nuclear deal, we will also no longer tolerate its support of terrorism [and oppression of its people].… We are your friends and the day is coming when you will be free from the evil regime that suffocates your dreams and buries your hopes.”

The US/Israel Relationship: “America stands with Israel.  We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny. . . . In the story of the Jews, we’ve always seen the story of America. It is the story of an exodus, a journey from persecution to freedom, a story that shows the power of faith and the promise of hope … as the State of Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its birth. As you prepare to commemorate this historic milestone, I say, along with the good people of Israel, here and around the world: Shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu la’z’man ha’zeh . . .  Thanks to the president’s leadership, the alliance between our two countries has never been stronger.… The United States of America will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”  (“Full text of Pence’s address at special session of Knesset Full text of Pence’s address at special session of Knesset,” Times of Israel, January 22, 2018.)

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:

The ZOA strongly praises Vice-President Mike Pence for his powerful and clear statements of support for Israel, the US/Israeli relationship, his clarification as to when the U.S. will be relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and his strong position against the Islamic terrorist regime of Iran.

President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem now will take place before the end of 2019, rather than at some undetermined date in the future.  As much as we would have welcomed that to occur immediately, we welcome that clarification of intention to move the embassy in the near future.

Vice-President Pence has also reassured Israel, and indeed the American people and the world that, whatever else may occur, the U.S. will not permit the radical Iranian Islamist regime to obtain nuclear weapons capacity. He has made it clear that the Iran deal will either be strengthened and rendered effective, or immediately repudiated.

It is also vital that the U.S. not allow the nuclear deal to prevent the U.S. from acting firmly to deal with Iranian-sponsored terrorism and aggression in the Middle East and around the world. It is welcome that Vice-President Pence has reaffirmed that the U.S. will hold Iran accountable for its actions in every sphere –– terrorism, ballistic missiles, human rights abuses, and terror proxies, as well as its nuclear program.

Vice President Pence’s speech was one of the most pro-Israel speeches ever delivered by a foreign official. It was also one of the most clear-thinking anti-terror speeches ever delivered. The ZOA is so proud and appreciative of VP Pence.  We are grateful that President Trump and G-d Almighty placed VP Pence in this important position to do this holy work.  G-d bless Vice President Pence.”