Growing respect for Israel strengthens the Middle East

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo says growing acceptance of Israel benefits everyone and is central to a prosperous Middle East.

“Nations of the Middle East and the world are recognizing just how enduring Israel is,” Pompeo told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) March 2 in Washington. “They’re coming to recognize that the more the Middle East embraces Israel, the brighter their future will be.”

The secretary pointed to Israel’s robust, free-market, innovative economy, where entrepreneurship is rewarded.

Pompeo also called Israel a place where all can worship freely without fear or favor. “An Israeli society respectful of all faiths shows there is nothing to fear from religious minorities,” he said.

The secretary highlighted Middle East nations’ gestures of support for Israel in recent years, noting that:

  • Oman received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a visit in 2018.
  • Bahrain last year allowed Israeli journalists to visit for the first time since 1994.
  • The United Arab Emirates in 2018 played the Israeli national anthem during a judo tournament.
  • Representatives of those three nations attended President Trump’s White House announcement of a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, U.S. policies demonstrate continued support. The U.S. officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The secretary called the Islamic Republic of Iran the “number one state sponsor of anti-Semitism in the world.” He denounced Iranian leaders’ “poisoned declarations” against Israel as a distraction from the Iranian regime’s own corruption and mismanagement. He also noted that such statements run counter to Iran’s proud history, which includes giving sanctuary to Jews during the time of the Holocaust.

U.S. sanctions continue to strip Iran’s regime of money it would use to support Hezbollah and other terrorist groups that sow violence throughout the Middle East.

“The world knows that the noble Iranian people do not hate Israel, or Jews, or any other religious group,” Pompeo said. “It’s the bigoted, intolerant regime that does.”