Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday evening, March 21, 2016, at its annual conference in Washington, DC.
Here is a full transcript of his remarks.
Good evening. Thank you very much.
I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel.
I am a newcomer to politics, but not to backing the Jewish state.
In 2001, weeks after the attacks on New York City and on Washington and, frankly, the attacks on all of us, attacks that perpetrated and they were perpetrated by the Islamic fundamentalists, Mayor Rudy Giuliani visited Israel to show solidarity with terror victims.
I sent my plane because I backed the mission for Israel 100 percent.
In spring of 2004 at the height of the violence in the Gaza Strip, I was the grand marshal of the 40th Salute to Israel Parade, the largest-single gathering in support of the Jewish state.
It was a very dangerous time for Israel and frankly for anyone supporting Israel. Many people turned down this honor. I did not. I took the risk and I’m glad I did.
But I didn’t come here tonight to pander to you about Israel. That’s what politicians do: all talk, no action. Believe me.
I came here to speak to you about where I stand on the future of American relations with our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the state of Israel.
My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.
I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making. And let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic for America, for Israel and for the whole of the Middle East.
The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return.
I’ve studied this issue in great detail, I would say actually greater by far than anybody else.
Believe me. Oh, believe me. And it’s a bad deal.
The biggest concern with the deal is not necessarily that Iran is going to violate it because already, you know, as you know, it has, the bigger problem is that they can keep the terms and still get the bomb by simply running out the clock. And of course, they’ll keep the billions and billions of dollars that we so stupidly and foolishly gave them.
The deal doesn’t even require Iran to dismantle its military nuclear capability. Yes, it places limits on its military nuclear program for only a certain number of years, but when those restrictions expire, Iran will have an industrial-sized, military nuclear capability ready to go and with zero provision for delay, no matter how bad Iran’s behavior is. Terrible, terrible situation that we are all placed in and especially Israel.
When I’m president, I will adopt a strategy that focuses on three things when it comes to Iran. First, we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region.
Iran is a very big problem and will continue to be. But if I’m not elected president, I know how to deal with trouble. And believe me, that’s why I’m going to be elected president, folks.
And we are leading in every poll. Remember that, please.
Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen and will be a very, very major problem for Saudi Arabia. Literally every day, Iran provides more and better weapons to support their puppet states. Hezbollah, Lebanon received — and I’ll tell you what, it has received sophisticated anti-ship weapons, anti-aircraft weapons and GPS systems and rockets like very few people anywhere in the world and certainly very few countries have. Now they’re in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
In Gaza, Iran is supporting Hamas and Islamic jihad.
And in the West Bank, they’re openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed. A deplorable, deplorable situation.
Iran is financing military forces throughout the Middle East and it’s absolutely incredible that we handed them over $150 billion to do even more toward the many horrible acts of terror.
Secondly, we will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us.
Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the Western Hemisphere, very close to home.
Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we will work to dismantle that reach, believe me, believe me.
Third, at the very least, we must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable. And we will enforce it like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before, folks, believe me.
Iran has already, since the deal is in place, test-fired ballistic missiles three times. Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel, which is only 600 miles away, but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States. And we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not letting it happen. And we’re not letting it happen to Israel, believe me.
Do you want to hear something really shocking? As many of the great people in this room know, painted on those missiles in both Hebrew and Farsi were the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth.” You can forget that.
What kind of demented minds write that in Hebrew?
And here’s another. You talk about twisted. Here’s another twisted part. Testing these missiles does not even violate the horrible deal that we’ve made. The deal is silent on test missiles. But those tests do violate the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The problem is no one has done anything about it. We will, we will. I promise, we will.
Which brings me to my next point, the utter weakness and incompetence of the United Nations.
The United Nations is not a friend of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom, it’s not a friend even to the United States of America where, as you know, it has its home. And it surely is not a friend to Israel.
With President Obama in his final year — yea!
He may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me. And you know it and you know it better than anybody.
So with the president in his final year, discussions have been swirling about an attempt to bring a Security Council resolution on terms of an eventual agreement between Israel and Palestine.
Let me be clear: An agreement imposed by the United Nations would be a total and complete disaster.
The United States must oppose this resolution and use the power of our veto, which I will use as president 100 percent.
When people ask why, it’s because that’s not how you make a deal. Deals are made when parties come together, they come to a table and they negotiate. Each side must give up something. It’s values. I mean, we have to do something where there’s value in exchange for something that it requires. That’s what a deal is. A deal is really something that when we impose it on Israel and Palestine, we bring together a group of people that come up with something.
That’s not going to happen with the United Nations. It will only further, very importantly, it will only further delegitimize Israel. It will be a catastrophe and a disaster for Israel. It’s not going to happen, folks.
And further, it would reward Palestinian terrorism because every day they’re stabbing Israelis and even Americans. Just last week, American Taylor Allen Force, a West Point grad, phenomenal young person who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was murdered in the street by a knife-wielding Palestinian. You don’t reward behavior like that. You cannot do it.
There’s only one way you treat that kind of behavior. You have to confront it.
So it’s not up to the United Nations to really go with a solution. It’s really the parties that must negotiate a resolution themselves. They have no choice. They have to do it themselves or it will never hold up anyway. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel that it must be and really that it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don’t even really know what’s happening to Israel, to anything in the area. It’s so preposterous, we’re not going to let that happen.
When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent.
You see, I know about deal-making. That’s what I do. I wrote “The Art of the Deal.”
One of the best-selling, all-time — and I mean, seriously, I’m saying one of because I’ll be criticized when I say “the” so I’m going to be very diplomatic — one of…
I’ll be criticized. I think it is number one, but why take a chance?
One of the all-time best-selling books about deals and deal- making. To make a great deal, you need two willing participants. We know Israel is willing to deal. Israel has been trying.
That’s right. Israel has been trying to sit down at the negotiating table without preconditions for years. You had Camp David in 2000 where Prime Minister Barak made an incredible offer, maybe even too generous; Arafat rejected it.
In 2008, Prime Minister Olmert made an equally generous offer. The Palestinian Authority rejected it also.
Then John Kerry tried to come up with a framework and Abbas didn’t even respond, not even to the secretary of state of the United States of America. They didn’t even respond.
When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.
And when I say something, I mean it, I mean it.
I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we’ll be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region.
Meanwhile, every single day you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and to hate the Jews. It has to stop.
When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars.
In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer.
You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible, horrible way to think. It’s a barrier that can’t be broken. That will end and it’ll end soon, believe me.
In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fomenting there for years. And if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start this educational process. They have to end education of hatred. They have to end it and now.
There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
You see, what President Obama gets wrong about deal-making is that he constantly applies pressure to our friends and rewards our enemies.
And you see that happening all the time, that pattern practiced by the president and his administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a total disaster, by the way.
She and President Obama have treated Israel very, very badly.
But it’s repeated itself over and over again and has done nothing (to) embolden those who hate America. We saw that with releasing the $150 billion to Iran in the hope that they would magically join the world community. It didn’t happen.
President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue. But it’s precisely the opposite that happens. Already half of the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS and Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation that’s never going to get solved unless you have great leadership right here in the United States.
We’ll get it solved. One way or the other, we will get it solved.
But when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States.
We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.
And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.
The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.
They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel. They must do that.
And they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will forever exist as a Jewish state.
I love the people in this room. I love Israel. I love Israel. I’ve been with Israel so long in terms of I’ve received some of my greatest honors from Israel, my father before me, incredible. My daughter, Ivanka, is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.
In fact, it could be happening right now, which would be very nice as far as I’m concerned.
So I want to thank you very much. This has been a truly great honor. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
Thank you very much.