Donald Trump delivered his much-anticipated address to AIPAC this afternoon. You can read the speech here.
I thought it was a good speech. Apparently, the audience did too. Trump received applause that at times was raucous. He even brought many to their feet multiple times.
Trump’s focus was right where it should be — on the Iranian threat. “My number one priority,” he said, “is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”
Trump then outlined his three-part strategy for dealing with Iran. First, “stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region.” Second, “totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network.” Third, “at the very least. . .hold Iran accountable by restructuring the terms of the previous deal.” I liked it better when he said “dismantle the disastrous deal.”
Next, Trump attacked the United Nations. He described it as “a complete and total disaster” and insisted that the U.S. must never let the UN impose a deal between “Israel and Palestine.” As president he would use his veto to block such a deal, he promised.
After that, Trump lambasted the Palestinian government for its non-stop incitement of hatred against Israel, especially among children. He said:
When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars. In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews – we can’t let this continue. You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace.
One Fox News, one commentator, I think it was Charles Krauthammer, noted that Trump didn’t really describe what he would do about this situation. It’s unrealistic to suppose that the U.S. president can change the way Palestinian society educates children.
But Trump did make clear what he will not do, if elected president. He will not attempt to impose a settlement on Israel. He will not treat Israel’s elected leader like dirt. He will not turn a blind eye to Iranian aggression and non-compliance with the nuclear deal.
In short, a Trump administration would completely reverse President Obama’s approach to Israel and the region in general. That’s good enough for me.
Speaking of Obama, Trump’s best moment was improvised. Reading from his speech, he said, “With President Obama in his final year. . .” Then, with perfect timing, he added “yea.”
The crowd went wild. Jewish activists of the kind who attend AIPAC’s meeting have treated Obama with respect for years. Judging by the reaction to Trump’s line, however, it looks like, deep down, many of them can’t stand the guy.
In this sense, Trump’s speech was liberating. I applaud him for it.
NOTE: The original version of this post mistakenly said that “Trump will turn a blind eye to Iranian aggression and non compliance with the nuclear.” The words “deal” and the critical word “not” were left out by mistake.