In his address to the summit for Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in Washington D.C. on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence gave a rousing and positive speech describing the unbreakable bond between Israel and the U.S. In marked contrast to the previous administration, Pence issued an unmistakable challenge, saying that a newly strengthened military would focus on its primary enemy: radical Islam.
Loving Israel: An American Tradition
Pence was enthusiastically received by what he called “the largest pro-Israel grassroots organization in the world.”
His description of CUFI is accurate as the organization currently has more than six million members, making it, as Pence noted, the largest pro-Israel group in the world, dwarfing all the Zionist Jewish groups combined. There are now arguably more Christians supporting Israel via CUFI than there are Jews in the U.S.
Noting that the gathering was just a few days after the nation celebrated its independence on the 4th of July, “The people of Israel have been at the very heart of the American people,” stating that supporting Israel was “great American tradition.”
Pence referred to President Trump as “a man that history has already proven to be the greatest friend of the Jewish people and the state of Israel ever to sit in the Oval Office,” a description that earned him a rousing round of applause.
Naming the Enemy: Radical Islam
The VP listed other achievements of the current administration which included building up the military.
“And this President said he would rebuild our military,” Pence said.”And President Donald Trump has already signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan…We’ve made the strongest military in the history of the world stronger than ever before.”
Pence noted that as ‘the leader of the free world…we’re standing up to our enemies.”
In a distinct break from the Obama administration, Pence gave that enemy a specific name.
“We’ve taken the fight to radical Islamic terrorists, on our terms, on their soil,” Pence stated unabashedly. He cited the eradication of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a result of the Trump campaign against Islamic terrorism.
“The ISIS caliphate is no more,” Pence said.
Trump’s Support of Israel Essential for Peace
Pence went on to detail how this administration supported Israel with military aid, by shutting down the PLO office in Washington and penalizing the Palestinian Authority for supporting terrorism, battling anti-Semitism, and by confronting the anti-Israel bias in the United Nations.
Of course, the VP cited the most significant pro-Israel move by the president: recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel and moving the embassy.
“To say that everyone in the world was against it would be an understatement,” Pence said. “But President Trump is a man of his word, and he kept his words to the American people.”
Pence also cited Trump’s recognition of Israel sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a move he believed was necessary for peace in the region.
“[Recognizing the Golan is] in the best interest of peace, because a lasting peace can only be built on a foundation of truth,” Pence said, quoting Psalms. “So, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem that those who love her will be secure. And even as we pray, we will work for peace.”
The US Will Never Negotiate With Hamas
In another significant break from the previous administration, Pence stated that the Trump administration was no friend of Hamas.
“Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Israel,” Pence said. “And the United States will never negotiate with terrorist Hamas.”
This statement stands in sharp contrast to the Obama adminstration funding Hamas while the officially designated terrorist organization rained rockets down on Israeli urban centers.
Pence addressed concerns that the yet-to-be-revealed Middle East peace plan includes aspects that will harm Israel.
“And let me assure you, while any peace will undoubtedly require compromise, you can be confident of this: The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel.”
Comparing Iran to Nazis
Pence went on to address President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, noting that it rewarded Iran without depriving them of a nuclear weapons program. He explained that the nature of the agreement inevitably led to the current tensions between the U.S. and Iran which include Iranian attacks on oil tankers and shooting down a U.S. military surveilance drone, as well as Iran exceding limits on their uranium supplies.
In addition to these offenses, Pence blamed Iran for hating Israel.
“You know, history teaches that when authoritarian regimes breathe out vile, anti-Semitic hatred and threats of violence, that we should take them at their word,” Pence said.
Pence linked the Iranian threats against Israel to Nazi Germany’s attempt at genocide by describing his recent visit to death-camps in Poland.
Calling Out Democrats for Anti-Semitism
While noting that the mission of ‘Never Again’ is an essential aspect of supporting Israel, Pence blamed the Democratic party for sinning in that respect.
“We must never allow the memory of those lost in the Holocaust to be cheapened as a cliché to advance some left-wing political narrative,” Pence said. “But sadly — sadly, in recent weeks, that’s exactly what some Democrats have done in the national debate. Last month, a leading Democrat in Congress actually compared our U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facilities to concentration camps. Her allies in Congress, the Left, and in the media, shamefully came to her defense.”
Pence was referring to recent statements by freshman Congressman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) in which she equated the detention centers on the southern border with “concentration camps.” Though she later redacted her statement, citing a dubious academic definition of concentration camps, her original statement included a reference to “never again,” an unambiguous term used for the Holocaust.
Pence denounced her statments, saying it demonized law-enforcement officials by equating them with Nazis. Pence related recent statements by an unnamed Democrat who, when asked if the detention centers were indeed like Nazi camps in which Jews were gassed en masse, replied, “Absolutely.”
“This slander of law enforcement was an insult to the 6 million killed in the Holocaust,” Pence said. “And it should be condemned by every American of every political party everywhere.”
Earlier in his speech, Pence thanked CUFI for working with him to combat the Boycott Divestment Sanctions Movement when he was governor of Indiana. He compared that to the current Democratic candidates running for president.
Remarkably, today, all but one Democrat running for President voted against the Combating BDS Act in the United States Senate,” Pence said.
Pence decried the dire situation on the southern border while describing the efforts of the current administration to improve the plight of the people in the detention centers.
Democratic Party Now Support Anti-Semitism
Pence noted that not so long ago, support of Israel was a non-partisan issue in American politics.
“But how things have changed,” Pence said. “It’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman, which did so much to help create the State of Israel, has been co-opted by people who promote rank, anti-Semitic rhetoric, and work to undermine the broad American consensus of support for Israel.”
Pence accused Ilhan Omar, another freshman Democrat, of disseminating “anti-Semitic tropes” when she tweeted in 2102, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
“Well, let me say this from the heart,” Pence said. “Anti-Semitism has no place in the Congress of the United States of America or anywhere in this nation. And anyone who slanders the historic alliance between the United States and Israel should not be sitting on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives.”
Pence noted that the Democratic Party was traditionally supported by a majority of Jews. It should be noted that despite his blatantly anti-Israel policies, almost 70 percent of American Jews voted for Obama in his successful bid for reelection in 2012. Pence lamented that the party has since become a haven for anti-Semitism.
“Maybe most astonishing of all, as we talk about how times have changed,” Pence said. “And the party that has been home to so many American Jews for so long recently couldn’t even muster the votes to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism in a resolution.”
The Biblical Basis for the U.S. Pro-Israel Policy
In his closing remarks, Pence cited Genesis as the basis for a pro-Israel poicy.
“And we stand with Israel because we cherish that ancient promise that Americans have always cherished throughout our history: that those who bless her will be blessed,” Pence said. “Today and every day, the Jewish State of Israel and all the Jewish people bear witness to God’s faithfulness, as well as their own.”
“God bless you all. May God bless Israel. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”