Clinton: Obama will be good friend to Israel
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US presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton delivered an address to AIPAC in Washington on Wednesday morning.
Less than 24 hours after the Associated Press reported that Senator Barack Obama had clinched a sufficient number of delegates to claim the Democratic nomination, Clinton announced that it had been "an honor" for her "to contest this race with [him]" and that it was also an honor to call Obama her friend.
Clinton then stated that she knew "Obama will be a good friend to Israel" and that the presumptive Democratic nominee "shares [her] views" that the US stands with Israel "now and forever."
The US presidential candidate opened her speech by praising the pro-Israel lobby group for engaging in the constitutionally protected activity of "exercising the right to petition," and expressed her "pleasure" in representing "one of the largest Jewish constituencies" in her role as a senator from New York State.
Speaking in commemoration of Israel's 60th anniversary, the senator lauded Israel by stating that the Jewish state's story "demonstrates [that] democracy can flourish in the most difficult of environments."
"What a remarkable 60 years it has been," the former first lady said, noting that after nearly continual "trials and tears" since Israel's independence, "the desert is blooming again."
Turning to current threats faced by Israel, Clinton declared that "our hearts go out to residents of cities like Sderot," who exist under a nearly continuous barrage of Kassam rocket attacks.
In contrast to Obama, who expressed a deep commitment to Israel's security, the New York senator also made mention of Israel's security barrier. She recalled her visit to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, where she witnessed the barrier "protecting families." She went on to say that she has "spoken up for the right of Israeli families to have that protective fence."
At the close of her speech, Clinton outlined what she considered to be three important points of her Middle East and Israel foreign policy.
First, she stressed the importance of continued US support for Israel, including the 2 billion dollars of US military aid given annually and cautioned against pressuring Israel to make unilateral concessions or implement "made in America" solutions to the conflict.
Secondly, she said that "no nuclear weapons for Iran" with its "president who denies the Holocaust" must be a central component of American policy in the region. Clinton reiterated her previous calls to have the US Congress define the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization.
Lastly, Clinton stressed the importance of standing up against "hatred and anti-Semitism wherever they are found" and said that "every fair-thinking person must be concerned."
Continuing to highlight the fight against anti-Semitism, she said that the "debacle at Durban" should never be repeated and even went as far to say that perhaps the "US should boycott" the so-called Durban II conference should it contain anti-Semitism rhetoric.
Despite her opponent Barack Obama having claimed victory on Tuesday evening, Senator Clinton made no mention of it, nor did she hint at conceding her campaign.