...Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people where the civil rights of all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are guaranteed. The land of Israel is the place where the identity of the Jewish people was forged. It was in Hebron that Abraham blocked [sic] the cave of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs. It was in Bethel that Jacob dreamed his dreams. It was in Jerusalem that David ruled his kingdom. We never forget that, but it's time the Palestinians stopped denying history...
Here, if I were his speechwriter, is my version:
It was in Hebron that Abraham bought the cave where our Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried and which, until 1967, no Jew had been permitted for centuries by the Muslims, to enter or even ascend higher than the 7th step. It was in Bethel that Jacob dreamed his dreams and where he heard God's promise:
"I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
It was at Shiloh where the Children of Israel erected a Tabernacle and there Joshua distributed the Land into tribal portions and where he urged them
“How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?"
and he instructed them
“Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord.”
At Shchem, a city the Romans named Nablus, as recorded in the Bible,
The bones of Joseph, which the Children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, were buried...in a parcel of land Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of silver
It was in Jerusalem that David ruled his kingdom, having purchased the plot where the Temple would be constructed, built by his son, Solomon. And where the returning exiles from Babylon, under the leadership of Ezra and Nechemiah, would rebuild it a second time.
The holiday of Chanukah, for example, is when we celebrate the rededication of the Temple and I remind you that almost all the battles our warrior forefathers won took place along the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria including Mitzpah, Beth Horon, Beth Zur, Ma'aleh Levona and Beit Zachariya. In these territories we were thyen "occupied" by being engaged in a war of liberation against foreign rulers. And it was Shimon the Maccabee who declared:
"We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation."
Yes, my friends, we Jews have been constructing communities throughout the Land of Israel, by right, by promise of God, through purchase of property and by the right of our historical connection and of the decisions of the most supreme international institutions, for over 3000 years. And not only the Bible and our cultural narrative is a proof but also scientific studies as well as the proof from out of the ground via archaeology. Our history is inferior to none in this land. We have, indeed, reconstituted our state in our ancient homeland despite conquests and the occupations by foreigners. We have asserted our rights.
Under the Mandate of Great Britain, our communities that had existed for centuries in Hebron, in Shchem and in Gaza underwent ethnic cleansing through violence and mob terror. During the 1948 War of Independence, again Jews were forced out of their homes in Jerusalem's Old City and from newer communities such as the four kibbutzim of Gush Etzion, the Bet HaAravah kibbutz on the shores of the Dead Sea, and also the agricultural communities of Neveh Yaakov and Atarot north of Jerusalem.
Yehudah and Shomron, Judea and Samaria, are not foreign far-flung territories. We have not acted as colonialists in building there. Jews are not 'settling' but residing in those areas with their schools, their orchards, their factories and their children.
Ladies and Gentlemen of AIPAC, do not be fooled by Arab propaganda assertions, by anti-Zionist clap-trap or by misrepresentations of history and misreadings of international law.
I promise you, Jews will continue to reside and flourish in the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, our patrimony even as I seek a diplomatic resolution to Arab hostility to even the idea of a Jewish state. I will act to retain the necessary security requirements for Israel's existence and the safety of all its citizens.