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Boehner: 'Israel Is Not Isolating Itself – Israel is Leading in the Middle East'

10:08 AM, Sep 19, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Speaker of the House John Boehner reiterated his commitment to Israel yesterday, in a speech given at the Jewish National Fund’s 2011 National Conference in Cincinnati. Boehner's speech is particularly timely, considering that the Palestinians will seek statehood at United Nations later this week. Here's the text (save the lengthy introduction):

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“Like you, I have read suggestions by newspaper columnists and observers that events have overtaken Israel … that Israel is ‘isolating itself’ in the Middle East.

“That view is wrong, and always has been wrong.

“Israel is not isolating itself – Israel is leading in the Middle East.

“Israel does not stand alone – Israel stands above as the one true beacon of freedom and opportunity in the Middle East. 

“We’re here to see that Israel continues to thrive – and to make clear it is America’s duty to stand by her side.  Not just as a broker or observer – but as a strong partner and reliable ally.

“That’s why I’m pleased to report that the House has ensured – in this time of fiscal responsibility – that America meets its financial commitments to Israel.

“We will continue to do so.

“I’m also pleased with the work being done by the House Foreign Affairs Committee under the leadership of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. 

“She led the charge to put the House on record opposing funding for the Palestinian Authority as long as it aligns itself with Hamas. 

“As Ileana put it not too long ago, ‘I don’t care if there is one or five or hundreds of members of Hamas involved; no U.S. funds can go to the PA.’

“Couldn’t have said it better myself.

“I’ve been Speaker of the House more than eight months now … we’ve had some significant moments in the chamber. 

“For me, one of the most powerful occurred in May when Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.

“It was my honor to invite him.  It was the least I could do for the leader of one of our closest allies in the world.

“Bibi did not disappoint.  He received nearly 30 standing ovations … bipartisan standing ovations.   All well-deserved.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress because the American people deserved to hear from him – and Washington, quite frankly, needed to hear what he had to say.

“I invite the people in this room – and anyone as concerned as I am about the future of Israel – to speak out.  Washington needs to hear from you, too. 

“For this to be a truly transformational time, one thing cannot change … and that is America’s commitment to Israel’s future.  

“Something the prime minister said in his speech to Congress has stuck with me.

“He was talking about how the Middle East stands at a crossroads.  And he said: ‘Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty.’

“It is the path less traveled isn’t it?  We know freedom and democracy don’t come cheap.  They require vigilance – they rely on the tools of persuasion and progress.

“Among those tools are strategic alliances built on trust, not fear or coercion.

“Our democracies are cut from the same cloth.  Our peoples treasure the same values.

“American patriots went to Philadelphia to make a Declaration of Independence.  Benjamin Franklin called the colonies ‘God’s new Israel.’

“Israel’s founders gathered in Tel Aviv to realize Herzl’s dream by issuing a Proclamation of Independence. 

“Both sites, by the way, are now called Independence Hall. 

“The Israeli proclamation imagined a state based on freedom, justice and peace, one that guarantees freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture.   

“It spoke of a country that would foster economic development for the benefit of all its inhabitants.

“There are no shortcuts or loopholes – no talk of one election, one time.  It’s about freedom and opportunity for all, and for all time.   

“Freedom is a universal right – but we have learned the hard way it is an earned right.

“The United States and Israel remain prime targets of terror.

“The recent anniversary of September 11th was a reminder of our shared pain.

“There is only one place in the world outside the United States that lists the names of all the innocents who died that day. 

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