Bloomberg delivered a strong pro-Israel speech at AIPAC, promising to preserve the special U.S.-Israel relationship.
By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News
Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg appeared at the AIPAC Policy Conference on Monday, pledging his undivided support for the State of Israel.
Bloomberg blasted Bernie Sanders for protesting against AIPAC, denouncing the Vermont senator’s statement that the organization is racist.
“Unfortunately, not all of my fellow Democrats in this race have attended an AIPAC conference,” Bloomberg said to the Washington, D.C. crowd. “One of them, Senator Sanders, has spent 30 years boycotting this event. And as you’ve heard by now, he called AIPAC a racist platform.”
“Well, let me tell you, he’s dead wrong. This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity, and political party,” Bloomberg said.
“Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the U.S.-Israel relationship,” he added.
Bloomberg’s speech was well-received among the crowd, with applause erupting several times.
The former mayor addressed one of the biggest concerns for Jews on college campuses. Students are often harassed for being Zionists.
“America needs your voices more than ever,” Bloomberg said. “And your presence here — and the pro-Israel identity you proudly bring to your classrooms and campuses — give me hope.
“Because at a time when some try to make strong supporters of Israel feel unwelcome in social justice conversations, your refusal to be intimidated reminds us of the courage and integrity that we need in our political discourse. Don’t stop,” he said.
‘No conditions on military aid’
The presidential candidate pledged: “If I am elected president, I can promise you: I will always have Israel’s back, because Israel has a right to defend itself — by itself.”
“That means I will never impose conditions on military aid — no matter what government is in power. That includes $3.3 billion in security assistance and $500 million in missile defense we provide Israel with every single year, thanks to the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding.”
Bloomberg said he opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. He also said that he’ll stand up against the United Nations’ anti-Israel bias.
He also said he would never relocate the U.S. embassy away from Israel’s capital, Jerusalem – something Sanders said he’d consider doing.
“I have always supported moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem — the eternal capital of the Jewish State. And, as president, I will leave it there because that is where it belongs.”
Before Bloomberg departed from the stage, he had one clear message for all Americans.
“But we also know — don’t we — that what starts with others so often ends with us, with the Jewish people, and with Israel,” he said.
“So we need to stand up against all bigotry and hatred.”