We would be remiss today if we did not at least pause and reflect what a difference a couple of years can make. What a difference Ambassador Nikki Haley makes. What a difference Ambassador David Friedman makes. It was just November and December of 2016, the end of the previous administration, when we saw the United Nations passing Resolution 2334 condemning – with the voice of the international community – condemning Israel as illegal occupiers. Declaring the Jewish quarter of Israel illegally occupied. Declaring the Western Wall illegally occupied. Done with the acquiescence and energetic support of the Obama administration.
It was only a year and a half ago, we had the secretary of state, John Kerry, describing Israel as an apartheid state. It was only a couple of years ago that we had members of Congress boycotting Prime Minister Netanyahu as he addressed a joint session of Congress. But oh, how the world has changed.
This has been a year of celebration. Just a few months ago, I was so incredibly privileged and humbled to be in Jerusalem for the opening of the United States Embassy. Many of you were there on the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern State of Israel. As we stood there dedicating that embassy, fulfilling a promise that we had seen presidents from both parties make. We’d seen Republicans make that promise, we’d seen Democrats make that promise, and yet, when it came time for action, neither one followed through. But this year, America did follow through.
The joy of being in Jerusalem visiting with Israelis, visiting with Americans, particularly those of the generation that went through the Holocaust. The survivors that were still there that you would visit had tears in their eyes, as they would look at you and say, “I never ever thought this day would come.”
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