Rubio: “You have your right to voice your concerns, but don’t do this to an ally, don’t do this to a nation that is as threatened today as it has ever been at any time in its existence. Don’t do this to a people that are in the cross hairs of multiple terrorist groups with the capability of attacking them. Don’t do this to a nation whose civilians are terrorized by thousands of rockets launched against them at a moment’s notice. Don’t do this to a country that’s facing down the threat of a nuclear weapon annihilating them off the face of the Earth. Don’t do this to a people that are being stigmatized all over the world, even as we speak, who are being oppressed. Don’t do this to a country that in forum after forum has become the subject of de-legitimatization as people argue that somehow Israel’s right to exist is not real. Don’t do this to them.”U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Senate Floor Speech
February 12, 2015
Senator Marco Rubio: “But Mr. Carter’s nomination comes at another important moment, and that is that in that same region of the world, one of America’s strongest allies and its very existence is under attack. Of course I’m talking about Israel, the Jewish state. An extraordinary story in the history of the world. Here’s a country founded after the end of World War II, as a homeland for the Jewish people so that never again would they have nowhere to go, if they faced the sorts of oppression, the sort of genocide that they faced during the Holocaust. And since then the Jewish state has had an extraordinary story. From an economic perspective, it is a vibrant first-world country, first-rate economy. And what’s most interesting about it is this is not a country with oil. This is not a country with vast supplies of natural gas. This is not a country that is an agricultural superpower. And yet it is a world-class economy providing prosperity and upward mobility to millions of its people. And it’s done so on the basis of innovation.”
“Now, the administration would have us believe that we’re in the midst of this negotiation that hopefully will delay the Iranian nuclear program, or extend the amount of time that they would need to break out. Let me break it to everyone. They’re not going to break out; they’re going to sneak out. They will concoct some sort of excuse at some point in the future as to why they need a nuclear weapons program. Let me begin by saying Iran is an oil-rich nation. They have no need for civilian nuclear power, but if they want one, they can have it, like most of the other countries in the world do. By importing enriched uranium or reprocessed plutonium, and using that for their reactors for peaceful purposes. But instead, they insist on the ability to enrich and reprocess, and there’s only one reason why you would insist on that: Because you want the infrastructure necessary to one day build a weapon when you decide you need it.
“But don’t take my word for it. That is not the only thing that they are doing. There are two other aspects of their program that aren’t even being discussed. The first, is they continue to develop long range rockets. Why do you need inter-continental missiles? Why do you need long-range rockets? You don’t need them for conventional purposes. You don’t put a conventional warhead, you don’t spend all the time and energy and money that it takes to build that capacity to bomb someone with a conventional weapon. There’s only one reason why you build long-range rockets such as those, and that’s to put a nuclear warhead on them. That’s not being discussed in these negotiations and they continue to make unabated progress towards their long-range rocket capabilities.
“The other is a weapon design. The three things you need for a nuclear weapon program – a weapon design, the long-range rockets and the ability to enrich and reprocess. They’re already building the rockets. The weapon design you can literally buy from dozens of people around the world who will sell it to you. And the reprocessing, even under the deal the President is asking for, if it went down exactly the way the President is asking for it, they would still keep all the infrastructure, all the things that it takes to enrich, to weapons grade. They would have all the equipment, all the scientists, all of the infrastructure.”
“But that’s why Prime Minister Netanyahu is so concerned about the deal. You see, he doesn’t have the luxury of living an illusion. He doesn’t have the luxury of pretending that somehow we can work this out as if somehow we’re negotiating with Luxembourg here, or Belgium. He knows the neighborhood he lives in, and he knows his enemy. He knows their true nature. He knows their true intentions. And it is his obligation, not just to protect his people but to fight for that nation’s very existence. So he has chosen to come before the Congress at the invitation of the Speaker, and I am glad that he has accepted that invitation. And I think we owe him the courtesy to hear what he has to say.
“I want you to go back and look at the United Nations roll call votes. Time and again, when the interests of this country are being challenged around the world, I want you to see how many times Israel is one of the few, and often, one of the only countries that votes with the United States of America in that international forum. I want you to see all the times that the Israelis have stood with America on issue after issue around the world. I also want you to think what it says about us as nation if we’re not prepared to make it very clear that before anything else we are the friends of our allies. What does it say to our other allies around the world? To other nations in other parts of the world who are counting on the American security guarantee for their own existence and their own security? What does it say to Japan, and to South Korea and to our allies in NATO, if the United States is prepared to create daylight between us and the State of Israel?
“And let me tell you, that’s exactly the message people are going to get. That there is a division between us and Israel. If in fact members of Congress carry through on their threat to boycott the Prime Minister’s speech before Congress on the 3rd of March. If you boycott this speech, if a significant number of Members of the Senate and the House boycott that speech, that message will be heard to Israel’s enemies but also by our allies. And the message will be twofold. One, that America is no longer firmly on the side of Israel, as it is a once was. And two, that America is an unreliable ally.”
“I can think of no nation on Earth that needs our help more right now than Israel. And I can think of no people on Earth that deserve our support more than theirs. As I said earlier, they are a reliable, strong, committed ally of this nation. We have strong links to them on a personal, cultural, political, and economic level. They have stood by us time and again in international forums when America’s interests have been challenged. They are everything we want the Middle East to look like in the future: free, prosperous, democratic, aligned with America, peace-loving, desirous of a better future. What more do you want? What more could they do? What else could they be for us to be any stronger an ally of theirs than we should be, or are right now? And yet there are people talking about boycotting the speech to protest, because their feelings are hurt. Because they’re upset about the way it went down. Because they don’t like the way it was scheduled, because it is disrespectful to the President.
“You have your right to voice your concerns, but don’t do this to an ally, don’t do this to a nation that is as threatened today as it has ever been at any time in its existence. Don’t do this to a people that are in the cross hairs of multiple terrorist groups with the capability of attacking them. Don’t do this to a nation whose civilians are terrorized by thousands of rockets launched against them at a moment’s notice. Don’t do this to a country that’s facing down the threat of a nuclear weapon annihilating them off the face of the Earth. Don’t do this to a people that are being stigmatized all over the world, even as we speak, who are being oppressed. Don’t do this to a country that in forum after forum has become the subject of de-legitimatization as people argue that somehow Israel’s right to exist is not real. Don’t do this to them.
“I hope my colleagues will reconsider their decision to not attend. This is an important speech. And I hope that the Prime Minister – it is his choice, obviously. He must always act in the best interests of his nation and his people. But I hope he will speak to us on the 3rd of March. And I hope that he will speak to us clearly. I hope that through his speech he will open the eyes of this Congress and the American people that this is not child’s play. That what Iran intends to have is not just a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel, but ultimately to terrorize the world. I hope that he will speak to us bluntly about the true nature of this threat.
“I know there’s a lot going on in the world. But there is no greater threat to the long-term security of the planet than the Iranian nuclear ambition. No people and no nation on Earth know that better than the people of Israel, and no leader on Earth understands that better than Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I think after years of commitment to this alliance, after the bravery that he has shown in his time in office, of the bravery that the Jewish people of Israel have shown in defending their nation’s right to exist when attacked multiple times throughout its history and even to this modern day, they deserve our support. Our unambiguous support.
“Of course there are differences between allies. There always have been and there always will be. But if we won’t stand for Israel, who will we stand for? If the United States of America will not defend its ally who will we defend? What message do we send to our alliances across the planet? And what message do we send to our enemies and Israel’s enemies? And so I hope that cooler heads will prevail. I hope that Members of the House and Senate who have announced that they’re boycotting will reconsider. And I hope we will all be there, if we can, to hear what the Prime Minister has to say the first week in March.”