Michele Bachmann photo

Address to the Zionist Organization of America in New York City

November 20, 2011

I'm honored to be here this evening in the company of so many friends. Thank you, Mort, for that kind introduction. Like this organization, I have been a long-time advocate for the land of Israel and the Jewish people. My love for Israel and its people deepened while I worked on a kibbutz just after graduating from high school.

It seems as if lately, our president has forgotten the importance of Israel to America and thinks of our relationship only in terms of what we do for Israel. The president is more concerned about Israel building homes on its own land than the threats that Israel and America face in the region.

The president was right to promise to veto the Palestinians' bid for statehood in the UN Security Council. But in large part it is the president's weakness in the Middle East that has emboldened the Palestinians to attempt to achieve statehood through the UN rather than at the legitimate negotiation table with Israel. Our policy has confused engagement with appeasement and has inspired Israel's enemies.

The Palestinians must recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence against Israel in order to become a serious partner in peace with Israel.

I stand with Israel. And aid to Israel now more than ever, is a necessity—they are our most trusted ally and the only real democracy in the Middle East. "While the president demands Israel give back land necessary to protect their existence, he has taken his eye off of the most serious threat to Middle East security, a nuclear Iran.

Some 80 years ago the world saw evil rising. A mad man spoke, but the world did not listen and the world sank into an enormous conflict and millions of Jews lost their lives.

Today a mad man again speaks and once again it seems as if the world isn't really listening though Iran's president has made his intentions for Israel clear. He intends to wipe Israel from the face of the earth once he obtains nuclear weapons, and he will seek to use them against the United States shortly after achieving his first goal.

Consider the Iranian constitution which states that Iran's Army and Revolutionary Guard 'will be responsible…for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God's way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God's law throughout the world.'

And Iran has made good on that promise over the last 30 years from the bombing of the United States Marine base in Beirut to being the leading supplier of arms to kill Americans in Iraq. Iran is at the heart of much of Israel's problems.

That is why I co-sponsored Louie Gohmert's resolution expressing support for the State of Israel's right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found.

Two principles must guide U.S. policy toward Iran. First, we must never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. And second, we must realize that this is as much a threat to U.S. national security as it is to Israel's and should not outsource U.S. national security to the United Nations. This is the moment for clarity in standing with Israel and against Iran.

We can't afford to wait until the election to change course, the president must make it the policy of the United States now to support the dissidents of the current regime in Iran to bring down the terrorist leaders and replace it with a democratic government at peace with the U.S., Israel and the free world.

The president had an opportunity to do this shortly after taking office and failed to do so. The U.S. should meet publicly with Iranian dissidents, and strongly assist pro-freedom elements of the Iranian opposition movement. "The U.S. must be clear that it is the policy of the United States to stop Iran from building and deploying nuclear weapons. In leading from behind the president has been ambiguous with Iran and has given them the luxury of time to advance their nuclear weapons program without real punishment as we learned from the IAEA report last week.

The U.S. should develop and deploy comprehensive ballistic missile systems on land, at sea, in the air, and in space to protect the American people and our allies from the threat of ballistic missiles. Iran, with the help of the Chinese has obtained missile delivery systems for nuclear weapons that pose a threat to Israel, to the region and potentially the United States.

While the United States does not buy oil from Iran, Iran is a major player in the oil market and affects its price, which directly affects the United States. We need to legalize American energy production to free us from Iran's influence through oil.

The U.S. must immediately end appeasement and weakness towards Iran and pursue decisive, common sense strategies ignored or rejected by the current administration.

We need Secretaries of State and Defense who fully support a pro-freedom and security policy towards Iran, and we need them to replace those in the bureaucracy — especially at State — who will not fully support this policy.

We need crushing economic sanctions on Iran, including on the central bank and the oil and gas industries. We must hurt the Iranian economy more severely by doing damage to their oil revenues and their central bank.

The president stands with Occupy Wall Street, but he doesn't stand with Israel. When Israel looks at President Obama, they don't see a friend.

The State Department should regularly expose the atrocious activities of the Iranian regime that are arresting, imprisoning, torturing and murdering innocent Iranian citizens.

We must accelerate covert operations and cyber operations in Iran and order the CIA Director to take all means necessary to stop Iran from getting the Bomb before it is too late. The Pentagon should prepare a war plan, as a last resort, should all else fail in preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

But the president's lack of leadership and the failure of the Super Committee this week will lead to, in Defense Secretary Panetta's words, 'devastating cuts that will seriously damage readiness' making a military response more difficult. President Obama has seriously damaged the security of Israel by decreasing our status as a military superpower.

Part of that plan should be to direct the Navy to make preparations for a possible blockade of Iran's ports from all oil and gas imports and exports to cut off critical petroleum revenues from going to the regime in Tehran.

We should continue comprehensive missile defense development while moving additional Aegis and Patriot missile defense systems into the Middle East to protect U.S. citizens and assets, Israel and our allies.

We must sell Israel the additional fighter jets, bunker buster bombs, refueling tankers and other materials they need to defend themselves. And the U.S. should announce that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

I do not take lightly the prospect of committing U.S. troops in an effort to stop Iran. Only a fool wishes for war. But we must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to stop the Iranians from obtaining a nuclear weapon and massively destabilizing the region by attacking our ally Israel, and supplying those weapons to even more radical regimes or individuals that would use them to do harm to America and its way of life.

Hitler once famously said in justification of his order to murder millions of Jews, 'Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' Ahmadinejad is counting on the same collective memory today as he marches toward a second Holocaust.

We must send him the message that we will never forget!

God bless you and God bless Israel and God bless the United States of America.

Michele Bachmann, Address to the Zionist Organization of America in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/298816

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