New York, May 24, 2011 … In his second address to a joint session of Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the sixth Israeli Prime Minister to receive this honor, emphasized Israel’s commitment to peace along with its need for enduring security. He expressed his gratitude to the United States for its support and friendship consistently demonstrated by Congress and the Administration. The Prime Minister made clear that while Israel is committed to making peace with the Palestinians, is willing to make “painful compromises” for peace and will be “very generous” about the size of a future Palestinian state, Israel cannot negotiate with Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism and whose leadership is not willing to recognize a Jewish state.
The Prime Minister rightly pointed out the global danger that Iran represents and the imperative to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He expressed appreciation to America’s leadership for its commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He urged America and the international community to make clear to Iran that “all options are on the table,” as the best way to prevent a confrontation.
The Prime Minister also expressed the hope that true democracy would spread in the Middle East, in the wake of events in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, but cautioned that the path to true democracy is “not paved by elections alone.” He also cited the fact that more than 1 million Arab citizens live freely in Israel and enjoy real democratic rights.
“We fully endorse Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that ‘Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel.’ The bonds between our countries override partisan differences and involve deep commitments by people on both sides of the aisle. The Prime Minister reaffirmed Israel’s desire for peace and reiterated the steps he has taken for peace. In order for peace to last, however, Israel’s fundamental security needs must be addressed along with the acceptance of the basic principle that its borders must be defensible in any circumstances. We fully support the Prime Minister in his assertion that peace can only come about through direct negotiations and reject the Palestinian’s attempt to achieve a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN. In addition, we agree that the solution to the refugee problem must clearly be outside of Israel’s borders,” said Conference of Presidents Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.
The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 51 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern.