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Speech transcript by Senator Chic Hecht, Bonds for Israel, November 17, 1985

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Date
1985-11-17
Description

Transcript of a speech delivered by Senator Chic Hecht at an Israel Bond Dinner regarding the Jewish experience in the United States, the needs of Israel, and affairs in the Middle East.

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jhp000229
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jhp000229. Senator Chic Hecht Political Papers, 1943-1988. MS-00003. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1td9qv17

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2015-03-11
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English

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SPEECH BY SENATOR CHIC HECHT BONDS FOR ISRAEL RENO/ NEVADA NOVEMBER 17, 1985 -2- IT'S A GREAT HONOR FOR ME TO BE HERE WITH YOU TODAY FOR THE ISRAELI BOND'S ANNUAL DINNER, YOUR GREAT WORK HAS BEEN TO ADVANCE THE CAUSE OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL - IN ERETZ YISRAEL AND AROUND THE WORLD. I COMMEND YOUR EFFORTS AND HOPE THAT I CAN BE WITH YOU OFTEN IN THE FUTURE, IF YOU WOULD ALLOW ME, I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT WHAT I CALL THE SECOND JEWISH HOMELAND, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. SOMETIMES, I THINK, WE DON'T ALWAYS APPRECIATE THE GREATNESS OF THIS LAND AND HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO LIVE IN IT, THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA HAS BEEN RICH AND DEEP WITH SUCCESS STORIES. STORIES OF PUSHCART PEDDLERS IN THE OLD FRONTIERS WHO BUILT SHOPPING EMPIRES LIKE GIMBELS, OHRBACHS, ABRAHAM & STRAUSS, OR STORIES OF IMMIGRANTS LIKE EINSTEIN, WHO CAME FROM LANDS WHO WOULD NOT -3- ACCEPT THEIR GREATNESS/ BUT WHO FOUND GREATNESS HERE, MANY OF YOU IN THIS ROOM ARE PART AND PARCEL OF THAT GREAT SUCCESS STORY, MY LATE MOTHER WAS AN IMMIGRANT FROM RUSSIA. SHE CAME TO THIS COUNTRY/ AS MANY OF OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS DID/ TO FULFILL A DREAM -- A DREAM THAT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS HAVE HAD OVER THE LAST 200+ YEARS - THE AMERICAN DREAM, A DREAM THAT WE AND OUR CHILDREN COULD COME TO A LAND THAT WOULD LET US BE JEWS, JEWS FREE OF INQUISITION/ PROGROM/ GHETTOS AND GENOCIDE. FREE OF HATRED/ BIGOTRY/ ANTI-SEMITISM AND DISCRIMINATION. AMERICA FULFILLED HER DREAM AND MORE. HER SON WAS NOT ONLY NOT DISCRIMINATED AGAINST/ BUT ALLOWED TO FINISH COLLEGE AND JOIN THE ARMY INTELLIGENCE CORPS. FROM THERE HE WAS ALLOWED TO MOVE WEST AND OPEN HIS OWN BUSINESS; HE THEN SOUGHT ELECTED OFFICE AS A STATE SENATOR; AND NOW/ AS HER SON STANDS HUMBLY BEFORE YOU TODAY, HE IS A UNITED STATES SENATOR/ ONE OF EIGHT JEWISH SENATORS. -4- I TELL THAT STORY OFTEN TO REMIND MYSELF OF THE FORTUNATE POSITION THAT WE AS AMERICAN JEWS ARE IN. WE ARE ALLOWED -INDEED-ENCOURAGED TO PURSUE POLITICAL ACTIVITIES IN AMERICA. YOU IN THIS ROOM HAVE CHOSEN TO WORK ON BEHALF OF THE INTEREST OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL. BUT THE INTEREST OF ISRAEL CAN NEVER BE FULLY SECURED UNLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS FULLY SECURE. THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN SELLING ADVANCED WEAPONRY TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1948. MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES WHO PROFESS UNWAVERING SUPPORT FOR THESE WEAPONS SALES, TO "KEEP ISRAEL STRONG/' ARE THE SAME CONGRESSMAN WHO RISE UP IN VIOLENT ATTACK ON THE BILLS AUTHORIZING RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT/ AND PROCUREMENT OF THESE VERY WEAPONS. MANY OF MY PEERS IN THE CONGRESS, ARE ENTHUSIASTIC, IN APPLAUDING THE SIXTH FLEET'S MANEUVERS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN, AS A "STABILIZING FORCE FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST." THESE SAME MEMBERS ARE THE MOST VIGOROUS OPPONENTS OF THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN TO MODERNIZE -5- OUR NAVAL FORCES, YOU HAVE HEARD CONGRESSMAN AND SENATORS SPEAK ON THE FLOOR IN SUPPORT OF THE NEW STRATEGIC COOPERATION ACCORDS WITH ISRAEL; AND YET/ IN THE NEXT BREATH THEY RAIL AGAINST THE "MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX" AND SEEK TO CUT DEFENSE SPENDING. THE LESSON THAT I HAVE LEARNED WHILE IN PUBLIC LIFE, IS THAT IT TAL? IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH T O p d , YOU HAVE TO DO ~ OR AS THE OLD SAYING GOES, "IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO BE A MACHER, YOU HAVE TO BE A MENSCH," ISRAEL CANNOT BE STRONG IF AMERICA IS WEAK, AMERICA CANNOT BE STRONG IF ISRAEL IS DESTROYED. OUR DESTINIES ARE INTERTWINED. THIS PAST AUGUST, MY BROTHER AND I, AND OUR WIVES, TOOK SENATOR AND MRS. JESSE HELMS AS OUR GUESTS TO ISRAEL, IT WAS JESSE'S FIRST VISIT. WE DEDICATED THE HECHT SYNAGOGUE THAT MY BROTHER HAD BUILT ON MT. SCOPUS AT THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY. WE SPENT A TOTAL OF EIGHT DAYS AND TOURED EXTENSIVELY. WE VISITED THE GOLAN HEIGHTS WITH AN ISRAELI GENERAL WHO WAS A TANK COMMANDER DURING THE YOM KIPPUR WAR. AT A PRESS CONFERENCE/ SENATOR HELMS WAS ASKED LATER IF HE WOULD FAVOR A TERRITORIAL COMPROMISE ON THE WEST BANK IN EXCHANGE FOR PEACE, AND HE REPLIED, "I PREFER TO CALL THE AREA JUDEA AND SAMARIA/" USING THE ANCIENT HEBREW TERM FOR THE WEST BANK/ AND THEN SAID/ "I'M NOT MUCH OF A COMPROMISER." HE ADDED/ "I WISH ALL 100 SENATORS WOULD GO UP TO THE GOLAN HEIGHTS AND SEE WHAT I SAW AND HEARD," A HIGHLIGHT OF HIS VISIT/ DURING WHICH HE MET ISRAELI'S FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE/ WAS IN THE HADASSAH HOSPITAL WHERE HE MET A GROUP OF DOCTORS AND NURSES WHO HAD SUCCESSFULLY REMOVED A TUMOR FROM THE BRAIN OF A THREE YEAR OLD ARAB CHILD AND WERE OVERJOYED, SENATOR HELMS SAID/ "I WISH THE TELEVISION PROGRAM "60 MINUTES" WOULD SEE THE HUMAN ASPECT OF THE JEWISH-ARAB RELATIONS, WE HEAR THAT THE ISRAELI'S AND ARABS HATE EACH OTHER/ BUT WE SAW HERE THAT IN AMERICA THE REAL SITUATION IS NOT UNDERSTOOD. - 7 - AT HIS LAST TELEVISION INTERVIEW, BEFORE LEAVING ISRAEL/ SENATOR HELMS SAID/ "AS AN AMERICAN SENATOR/ I HOPE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND THAT ISRAEL IS THE ONLY RELIABLE ALLY WE HAVE IN THIS AREA WHICH IS ANTI-COMMUNIST, WITH IMPECCABLE MORAL PRINCIPALS. AND NOT ONLY IN THE AREA OF DEFENSE AND ARMAMENTS, JUST AS ISRAEL HAS BEEN THREATENED FROM OUTSIDE FORCES/ NOW ISRAEL FACES ANOTHER EQUALLY ONEROUS THREAT - THIS TIME FROM WITHIN. AS YOU KNOW/ THE ANNUAL INFLATION RATE IN ISRAEL IS RUNNING VERY, VERY HIGH. OTHER ECONOMIC CALAMITIES ADD TO THE LIST OF HANDICAPS ISRAEL TOILS UNDER. ON MANY OTHER SUBJECTS/ THE INTERESTS OF AMERICA AND THOSE OF ISRAEL ARE ONE. YOU KNOW THAT AS PART OF THE CAMP DAVID AGREEMENTS/ THE U.S. AGREED TO PROVIDE ISRAEL WITH A SET MINIMUM AMOUNT OF OIL/ SHOULD ITS SUPPLY RUN LOW. WE HAVE SIMILAR/ LESS FORMAL, RESPONSIBILITIES TO OUR WESTERN EUROPEAN AND PACIFIC BASIN ALLIES. AND YET, EVERY TIME THIS CONGRESS HAS SOUGHT TO ENACT LEGISLATION THAT -8- WOULD WEAN THE WEST FROM IT'S ADDICTION TO OPEC OIL, THE COLLEAGUES OF MINE WHO LIKE TO CALL THEMSELVES THE "FRIENDS OF ISRAEL" THWART US. THEY HAMSTRING OUR EFFORTS TO SELL COAL LEASES, OR EXPLORE OTHER RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES/ SUCH AS NUCLEAR, GEOTHERMAL AND SOLAR. IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES ALONE, WE HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY RESERVES TO SUPPLY OURSELVES, ISRAEL AND OUR WESTERN ALLIES FOR OVER 100 YEARS, BUT WE MUST BE ALLOWED TO DEVELOP THEM. ISRAEL'S FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. ON A FINAL NOTE, LET ME TALK ABOUT WORLD TERRORISM. WE MUST FIGHT TERRORISM IN THE WORLD TODAY WHEREVER IT EXISTS. IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO DENOUNCE THE PLO VERBALLY, WE MUST FIGHT THEM AND OTHER TERRORISTS WORLDWIDE. IT IS NO COINCIDENCE THAT THE HONORED GUEST AT THE SANDINISTA'S FIRST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WAS YASIR ARAFAT, TO WHOM INTERIOR MINISTER, TOMAS BORGE DECLARED "WE SAY TO OUR BROTHER ARAFAT THAT NICARAGUA IS HIS LAND AND THAT THE PLO CAUSE IS THE CAUSE OF THE SANDINISTAS." IT IS NOT AN ACCIDENT THAT UNITED STATES TROOPS -9- UNEARTHED ON GRENADA AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE NEW JEWEL MOVEMENT AND CASTRO'S COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA, STATING THE TWO ARE UNITED BY "ACTIVE SOLIDARITY...AGAINST IMPERIALISM, ZIONISM AND RACISM." AND YET WITH ALL THIS EVIDENCE, MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTED NO ON THE FOREIGN AID BILL TO ISRAEL THIS YEAR BECAUSE IT CONTAINED A RIDER WITH $180 MILLION IN AID TO EL SALVADOR, A FRIEND OF ISRAEL WHICH IS FIGHTING AGAINST SANDANISTA AND PLO BACKED REBELS. THE WORK THAT YOU ARE DOING IS ADMIRABLE. BUT IN TODAY'S WORLD, WE MUST BE EVER VIGILANT AGAINST THOSE WHO WOULD SEEK TO DESTROY ISRAEL, AND WEAKEN AMERICA. IT IS NOT ENOUGH ANYMORE, TO JUDGE A MEMBER OF CONGRESS SOLELY ON WHETHER OR NOT HE OR SHE VOTES FOR FOREIGN AID. FIND OUT IF THEY SUPPORT THE STRATEGIC ACCORDS, ASK THEM ABOUT FREE TRADE, RESEARCH THEIR RECORD ON AMERICAN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, AND -10- FINALLY, SEE HOW THEY TREAT ISRAEL'S ENEMIES AROUND THE WORLD - FOR SURELY, ISRAEL'S ENEMIES ARE AMERICA'S ENEMIES. LET ME AGAIN APPLAUD YOUR WORK AND PLEDGE TO YOU TODAY THAT THIS SENATOR WILL ALWAYS BE AT YOUR SIDE AS YOU FIGHT FOR AMERICA/ ISRAEL AND WORLD JEWRY. THANK YOU.