Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, spoke on July 21 at Christians United for Israel (CUFI). This transcript is from his Facebook page:
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. . . As we meet here tonight in Washington, thousands of Israeli soldiers are fighting in Gaza and millions of Israelis are huddled in bomb shelters.
Twenty seven Israelis have lost their lives. Twenty five soldiers including two American citizens Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli, have paid the ultimate price for the defense of Israel.
Israel’s army is defending our country against the firing of rockets at our cities and against terrorists tunneling under our borders to massacre and kidnap our civilians.
But what is at stake is not just a battle between Israel and Hamas.
It is a battle between a democratic society that seeks peace with all its neighbors and a terror organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jewish people.
It is also a battle between a free society that allows freedom of speech, and one that doesn’t.
It is a battle between a compassionate country that’s dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages to save Palestinian civilians and a brutal terror organization that uses hospitals as military command centers, manufactures rockets next to Mosques and turns UN schools into weapons depots.
Israel appreciates that most responsible leaders around the world have supported Israel’s right to defend itself – that list includes President Obama, President Hollande of France, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain, Prime Minister Abbot of Australia, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada.
And we also appreciate that President Obama and the American Congress have helped Israel develop the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Iron Dome saves Israeli lives. Without Iron Dome, hundreds of rockets would be landing on our cities and killing our civilians.
But Iron Dome also saves Palestinian lives. Because if those missiles were landing in Israel, our government would have to respond with much greater force.
But ladies and gentlemen, Israel deserves more than the support of the international community.
Israel deserves the admiration of the international community.
Because no military in history has taken greater care than the IDF to protect innocents of the other side.
And this care is happening not when we are fighting a war by remote control thousands of miles away.
This is happening when ¾ of our country – the equivalent of over 200 million Americans - are huddled in bomb shelters.
Imagine what the United States would do if 2,000 rockets would be fired by a terror organization from contiguous territory, and 200 million Americans would have to rush to bomb shelters day after day?
Does anyone seriously believe that America would use less force?
Does anyone seriously believe that Britain would use less force if 40 million Brits were in bomb shelters every day?
Actually, in the case of Britain, we can do more than guess. We know how they responded.
The only other time in history when thousands of rockets were fired at a civilian population was during World War II. The Germans fired 4,000 rockets at Great Britain.
What was the British response? What was Churchill’s response? Dresden. Carpet bombing of German cities.
Now I’m the last person in the world who will criticize Churchill, who was perhaps the greatest leader of the 20th century.
That's right, Churchill deserves a round of applause.
I will not criticize the decisions he made to fight the Nazis and defend our common civilization.
But at the same time, I will not accept, and no one should accept, criticism of Israel for acting with restraint that has not been shown and would not be shown by any nation on earth.
I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.
There is a section for moral idiots at the back of the room
Israel did not have to send its soldiers into many of the places they are fighting today.
We could have given people time to evacuate these areas – which we did anyway - and then bombed from the air all the buildings that were being used by fighters to store and fire weapons.
But we didn’t. As we have done time after time, we are sending our soldiers into this hornet’s nest of Palestinian terror that is booby-trapped with mines and riddled with subterranean tunnels.
Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes.
But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.
One day, when the enemies of Israel are defeated and the cynics are silenced, people will look back and marvel at how the most threatened nation on earth never lost its nerve and always upheld its values.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Never forget the moral difference between Israel and Hamas.
Hamas deliberately targets the innocent. They want to kill as many of our civilians as possible. For them, the more civilians they kill, the greater the success.
Israel does not target the innocent. We want to harm as few civilians as possible. For us, the more civilians that are harmed, the greater the failure.
What makes Israel’s task so challenging is the unprecedented effort of Hamas to endanger their own civilians.
While the IDF is doing everything to get Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to put Palestinian civilians into harm’s way – by ignoring IDF warnings to evacuate, by forcing Palestinians to serve as human shields, and by placing missile batteries next to playgrounds, hospitals and homes.
And you know why Hamas is doing this?
It’s not only because of the evil they represent – and it may not be politically correct, but they are evil. After all, an organization that is capable of producing scores of suicide bombers doesn’t care a whit about Palestinian civilians losing their lives.
But Hamas also uses its strategy of human shields because it works.
It works on people like that.
Because time after time, when Palestinian civilians die, when those heart-wrenching pictures of women and children appear on television – pictures that would move any decent human being – the blame is placed on Israel and the pressure is put on Israel.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The question is whether we can break this cycle.
Will the world stand up to the use of human shields?
Will the media continue to allow Hamas to manipulate it?
Will the UN and many so-called human rights organizations continue to say nothing and do nothing?
Edmund Burke once said that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people do nothing.
But when it comes to Hamas’s use of human shields, what the UN and many human rights organizations are doing is worse than being silent in the face of evil.
They attack the good. They attack Israel for its legitimate actions of self-defense. They file Goldstone reports accusing Israel of war crimes.
Now don't get me wrong. These organizations are not like Hamas. They do not intentionally harm Palestinian civilians.
But in convincing Hamas that its strategy of using human shields will be effective, they are unwittingly serving as their accomplices.
It’s time for the UN to find a moral compass.
It’s time for the world to find a moral backbone.
It's time to take a stand against the use of human shields.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have a common heritage. We face common enemies. We share a common future.
That future is under threat by radical Islamist movements that are sweeping through the Middle East.
The values of the Islamists can be seen every day in Gaza, in Syria, in Iraq, in Iran and elsewhere in the region.
Radical Shias are led by Iran and its foremost proxy Hezbollah. Radical Sunnis are led by the likes of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas.
The radical Shias speak of the return of an imam from the 9th century. The radical Sunnis hope to restore a Caliphate from the 7th century.
If they met halfway, I suppose they’d end up in the 8th century – but wherever they ended up, rest assured, it would be a place where there are no rights for women, no tolerance for Jews or Christians, and where those suffering most under their repressive rule would be Muslims who did not share their twisted ideology.
Today, Christians are literally fleeing for their lives from Mosul, Iraq. Under the threat of extortion, conversion or death, 35,000 Christians have fled their homes, many to the safety of the Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq.
May God Bless those Kurds for their decency and humanity.
Maybe that Presbyterian group that recently decided to divest from Israel - the one place in the Middle East with a thriving Christian community - can summon the courage to fire off a press release showing some sympathy with their Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, Libya or anywhere else in our region.
But don’t bet on it.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It may be many decades before the fires being stoked between Shia radicals and Sunni radicals burn out.
The most important thing for the world is to not be singed by the flames. That means preventing any of those radicals from developing weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons.
And it is the Shia radicals, led by Iran, that are closer to achieving that goal.
Hamas in Gaza is the little evil. The Ayatollah regime in Iran is the Great Evil. I don't mean to offend Hezbollah but they're just the medium size evil.
Iran’s regime executes hundreds of political prisoners. It stones women and hangs Christians.
It has helped the Syrian regime massacre nearly 200,000 people, and turned million more into refugees.
Iran is the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world, perpetrating terror attacks on five continents and 25 countries in the last four years alone.
And Iran continues its march to develop nuclear weapons.
Fortunately, a bad deal was not signed last week with Iran.
A bad deal is a deal that would leave Iran with its nuclear weapons capability essentially intact. That is a deal that would have been unacceptable to Israel.
We hope the international community will stand firm and not agree to a deal where Iran does not fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
Pressure can make that happen.
To those who don’t believe that, think about this. If I would have stood here a year ago and told you that virtually all the chemical weapons could be removed from Syria through a diplomatic process, you'd have laughed me off the stage.
But with the right mix of military and diplomatic pressures, that is exactly what happened. And President Obama deserves credit for that.
And with the right mix of military pressures, tough sanctions and clear eyed diplomacy, Iran can be forced to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons capability.
As always, Israel reserves the right to defend itself.
The Jewish people did not restore our sovereignty in the Land of Israel after 2,000 years – the land where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached and our kings ruled – we did not restore our sovereignty to let the lifeline of our people be severed by a radical Ayatollah regime in Iran.
Pastor Hagee - Israel lives. And Israel will continue to live, from generation to generation till the end of time.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the Book of Deuteronomy, the people of Israel were presented with a simple choice:
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life, so that you and your children may live.
The lines that are being drawn today in the world could not be clearer.
Good is fighting evil.
Those who sanctify life are fighting those who glorify death.
And just as the people of Israel are given a choice, all people have a choice.
Choose wisely. Choose good. Choose life. And in doing so, choose to secure our common future.
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Ambassador Ron Dermer, Facebook, July 21, 2014