Transcript: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Delivers Remarks in Jerusalem Reiterating ‘Ironclad’ Relationship
Jerusalem – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Knesset Speaker Michael Levy to discuss the important and long-standing relationship between the Knesset and the Congress. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much for your beautiful welcome, for your hospitality here at the Knesset and to Jerusalem. Your kind words are words that I will treasure. I accept on behalf of my very distinguished Congress of the United States, represented by so many of our Members here this morning.
Mr. Speaker, as you were talking about your new Congress and the beautiful diversity of it, I was reminded of what we just saw when we came in. My colleagues – we saw a tribute to the Knesset for its 50th anniversary given to the Knesset, built on olive wood. But on it, the representations of the beautiful diversity of Israel. Barley, wheat, grapes, olives, pomegranate, dates and figs. We have a similar diversity in our Congress.
What a lovely way to spell out the roots and the fruit of your, of your great country. But as I say in our Caucus, we’re very blessed with diversity as well. And our delegation here: very high-powered delegation, very diverse as well. All friends of Israel.
Mr. Speaker, it’s my honor to return here. I haven’t been here, because of COVID, since January 2020, when we were here for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was such an incredible occasion – 75 years. And to be here again in front of the Chagall, this beautiful expression of art which unifies us all – thank you.
Again, our delegation brings representation of the Congress’ bipartisan, bicameral commitment to an unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States – built on mutual security, our economic interest and our common values, our commitment to democracy.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker: we are all very, very proud of our U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides. It’s very – we’re proud of him. Many of us have known him many years – I’ll talk about that in a moment. But we’re also very, very proud of our President, Joe Biden. For decades, many decades, he has had a long-term commitment and friendship to Israel. And again, that is reflected in his policies, now as President of the United States and of long standing in the Congress and as Vice President.
I’d like to acknowledge my colleagues who are here, if they would all stand – Chairman Adam Schiff, Chairman Ted Deutch, Chairwoman Barbara Lee, Chairman Bill Keating, Chairman Eric Swalwell, Chairman Ro Khanna, Congressman Andy Kim – again representing different parts of our country, this country.
I have long said, Mr. Speaker, that the greatest political achievement of the 20th Century was the establishment of the State of Israel. And very proud that America is Israel’s oldest ally.
Today, our nations are hard at work together to tackle the most pressing issues of our time – many of which you referenced in your comments. The U.S. remains ironclad – I’ll keep using that word – in our support of Israel’s security and its regional stability. The House proudly passed the additional funding for Iron Dome last September. We’re hoping to get that done very soon in the Senate.
We’re together in the fight against terrorism posed by Iran, both in the region and also its nuclear development. The nuclear threat of Iran is a global one; it’s a threat to the world. Israel’s proximity to Iran is a concern to all of us, and we are – a responsibility for all of us.
We applaud the government of Israel for its strong leadership on the COVID crisis and continue to work – as we all continue to work to vaccinate the world and end this pandemic. But you, as you – you all have been the leaders.
And our nations will continue our partnership addressing the climate crisis, which poses an urgent threat to public health, economic security and national security, by dint of migrations, competition for resources, competition for habitat and a security threat.
Our delegation is also here to reaffirm America’s commitment to a just and enduring two-state solution. One that embraces – enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinians and their neighbors. In December of 2019, the House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring, quote: ‘Only the outcome of a two-state solution can both ensure the State of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfills the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.’ That was a resolution of Congress.
And our nation will continue to work with Israel toward this solution as we pave a path toward peace with your leadership. In all the challenges we face, the relationship between the Knesset and the Congress is crucial and long-standing.
Again, Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge our Ambassador, Tom Nides. When he – many of us first met him when he was a key assistant to Speaker Tom Foley. He was very young at the time, but he was very key. He knows – our Ambassador knows the workings and importance of interparliamentary cooperation.
It is my personal honor to return to Israel here with my husband, Paul Pelosi, and I want to acknowledge Nurit. So again, this is a personal friendship, as well as a governmental and official one.
It’s personal for me because when, I was born, my father was in Congress. He was a New Deal Congressman, and he was a strong advocate for the establishment of the State of Israel and what was then called Palestine. He was a fervent supporter of Franklin Roosevelt, but in this respect, he was more challenging.
And as, again, as a champion for the establishment of the State of Israel, he said at that time, ‘Any failure on the part of our government’ – the United States – ‘to assume its full share of responsibility for the realization of this ideal can only destroy one hope, which is left to maintain thousands of homeless and destitute Jews in Europe who cannot return to their former homes.’ That was just one reason for the establishment of the State of Israel
Again, thank you, Speaker Levy, for your beautiful hospitality. When you visit us in the Capitol, we don’t have all this flourish and fanfare. I want my colleagues to see how the Speaker is treated here.
But we will do our best, and we hope that we can return your hospitality soon. And again, thank you for hosting us today as we look forward to the remainder of our visit.
As you indicated in your remarks, you talk about our secure – security, global security, regional security, our mutual security. As we talk about the economy and the relationship that we have, that is a strong one in that regard. And we talk about governance, about the enduring democracies – democracy that we share.
It is wonderful – an honor, always, to be here. We feel very much as if we all have roots in Israel one way or another. We are blessed by both countries sharing – many Israelis live in America, many Americans live in Israel. Again, a deep personal friendship. An official, an official and strong, ironclad relationship between our two countries.