Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in 2023, delivered a powerful message underscoring the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and the need for regional integration. His remarks emphasized the ironclad U.S-Israel relationship, the common challenges posed by Iran, and the continued significance of the Abraham Accords in fostering regional peace.
Non-Negotiable Support for Israel’s Security
Blinken asserted that the U.S.’s commitment to Israel’s security was “non-negotiable” and “ironclad”. In proof of the U.S.’s unprecedented support, he pointed to the substantial financial aid package provided to Israel, totaling $3.3 billion in foreign military financing and an additional $500 million for missile defense, including advanced counter-drone and anti-tunneling technologies. He also highlighted an additional $1 billion dedicated to replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, jointly developed with the U.S., which has saved countless lives. These financial contributions represent the most significant aid package in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
In addition to financial support, Blinken mentioned joint military exercises and research on cutting-edge defense systems like Israel’s laser-focused Iron Beam. All these measures contribute to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, enhancing its defense capacity, and advancing U.S. national interests.
Pushing Back Against Anti-Israel Sentiment
Secretary Blinken addressed the constant attempts to delegitimize Israel and undermine its rightful place on the international stage. He emphasized the U.S. commitment to freedom of expression while also rejecting the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement for unfairly singling out Israel. The Secretary of State also spoke of concerted efforts against anti-Israel tendencies within international forums such as the UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council.
Addressing the Iranian Threat
In his address, Secretary Blinken was unambiguous about the significant threat Iran poses to Israel, characterizing it as “the gravest danger” that the country faces. Iran’s repeated threats to obliterate Israel from the map, its unabated provision of weaponry to terrorists and proxy groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas who deny Israel’s right to exist, as well as its continuous exportation of aggression beyond its region were all firmly underscored by Blinken. He also pointed out Iran’s role in arming Russian forces with drones being used against Ukrainian civilians, further emphasizing Iran’s destabilizing influence in global affairs.
He cautioned against the potentially catastrophic implications of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, with Iran’s pattern of hostile behavior illuminating a clear imperative to prevent this from occurring. To this end, Blinken echoed President Biden’s firm stance, stating that “all options are on the table to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.” This unequivocal statement highlights the U.S.’s readiness to take any necessary measures to inhibit Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.
Strengthening the Abraham Accords
Secretary Blinken emphasized the U.S.’s role in amplifying ties between Israel and its neighbors, a core policy of President Biden’s Middle East approach, and an extension of the Abraham Accords, a diplomatic breakthrough engineered under President Trump. Blinken highlighted successful initiatives such as the Negev Forum, a result of the expanded Accords, Project Prosperity (an Israel, Jordan, and UAE collaboration for water and energy security), and the innovative I2Y2 coalition joining India, Israel, UAE, and the U.S. to tackle common challenges, testifying to the sustained commitment to the Accords initiated under Trump and continued under Biden.
Looking Forward: Israel-Saudi Arabia Normalization
Blinken acknowledged the U.S.’s interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, pledging to play an integral role in advancing it. Though recognizing the challenges, he affirmed his commitment to work towards that goal.
Keeping Two-State Solution Alive
Finally, Blinken reminded that while integration and normalization efforts are significant, they should not be seen as a substitute for progress between Israelis and Palestinians. He reemphasized the U.S.’s commitment to a two-state solution, preserving Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state, and improving the well-being of the Palestinian people.
Secretary Blinken’s address reasserted the strategic importance of the U.S.-Israel alliance and the necessity for broader regional cooperation, setting the tone for U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East moving forward.
Watch Sec. Blinken’s Address Here: