EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the text of the speech House Majority Leader Tom DeLay delivered to the Israeli Knesset on July 30, 2003.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for your invitation and for that warm reception.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Israel for their generous welcome and hospitality to my wife, Christine, and me over the last three days.
My traveling partner, Ander Crenshaw, and I look forward to bringing the lessons we’ve learned here back to America and to our colleagues in Congress.
I also look forward to sharing my experiences with President Bush, whose leadership and clarity make peace in the Middle East possible and victory in the war on terror inevitable.
In his comments yesterday, the president reaffirmed America’s support for Israel’s security and our commitment to fight “terrorism wherever it is found.”
He made clear that the prospects for peace are the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority. They must maintain sustained, targeted and effective operations to fight terror and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.
After my time here, I have a new appreciation for threat terrorism poses, and for the president’s sense of urgency in fighting it every day and every
It has been an amazing six days here. I know I speak for everyone who made this trip with me when I say none of us will never forget the things we’ve seen here or the people we’ve met.
I sat with former refuseniks, heroes who spoke truth to power and helped bring an evil empire to its knees.
I visited the Kohtel, the ancient Western Wall of the temple that still stands as a symbol of God’s infinite strength and love to billions of believers of many faiths all around the world.
I shook the hand of the owner of the Moment Café which was bombed last year. Today that café has been rebuilt. Moment Café is now open for business in defiance of terror.
And I listened to another woman who told me her story.
Just a few years ago, she was, like me, a grandparent, and excited with the news her daughter was expecting again.
Her daughter and son-in-law were on their way back from the doctor’s office where they had seen — in the sonogram image — the tiny form of their third baby.
On the bus ride back home from the doctor, their joyful path met the profound cruelty of a homicide bomber’s. The terrorist detonated his weapon, and this family and their baby were gone.
She told me this story this week in a park, surrounded by the play of children directly affected by Palestinian terror. She called two of them over, and introduced me to her two grandchildren who were orphaned that day.
Despite the story I heard, these children played, and laughed, and seemed as hopeful about the future as any child could be.
And despite my heartache, I smiled too, because hope was with us in that park.
Even now, I am filled with a gratitude and humility I cannot express, I stand before you today, in solidarity, as an Israeli of the heart.
The solidarity between the United States and Israel is deeper than the various interests we share.
It goes to the very nature of man, to the endowment of our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is the universal solidarity of freedom. It transcends geography, culture and generations.
It is the solidarity of all people — in all times — who dream of and sacrifice for liberty.
It is the solidarity of Moses and Lincoln. Of Tiananmen Square and the Prague Spring.
Of Andre Sakharov and Anne Frank.
And in its name I come to you — in the midst a great global conflict against evil — with a simple message: “Be Not Afraid.”
I do not say this as a foreigner, cavalier in my estimation of the dangers that surround you.
Instead, I say it as an ally, in spite of the terrifying predators who threaten all free nations, especially Israel.
My country is not ignorant, nor are we indifferent to your struggle.
We know our victory in the war on terror depends on Israel’s survival.
And we know Israel’s survival depends on the willingness of free nations — especially our own — to stand by all endangered democracies in their time of need.
We hear your voice cry out in the desert, and we will never leave your side.
Because freedom and terrorism cannot coexist.
Terrorism cannot be negotiated away or pacified.
Terrorism will either destroy free nations, or free nations will destroy it.
Freedom and terrorism will struggle — good and evil — until the battle is resolved.
These are the terms Providence has put before the United States, Israel, and the rest of the civilized world.
They are stark, and they are final.
Those who call this world-view “simplistic” are more than welcome to share their “sophisticated” theories at any number of international debating clubs.
But while they do, free nations of courage will fight and win this war.
Israel’s liberation from Palestinian terror is an essential component of that victory.
And it’s a liberation we are determined to secure — not merely a paper-thin cease-fire.
False security is no security, and murderers who take 90-day vacations are still murderers.
The violence must stop.
An immediate and total end to Palestinian terrorism is not a concession the civilized world asks of the Palestinian Authority to advance the peace process.
It is a prerequisite to the Palestinian Authority’s invitation to it.
In the United States, we have two chambers in our national legislature: the House of Representatives, where I serve, and the Senate.
But the voice of the people resides in the House.
And one month ago, the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution — which I was proud to co-author — that states unequivocally the position of that body.
That resolution reads in part —
“Whereas Israel has no choice but to use its own measures to fight terrorism if the Palestinians are unwilling to do so…
…Therefore be it resolved that the House of Representatives recognizes and respects Israel’s right to fight terrorism and acknowledges Israel’s fight against terrorism as part of the global war on terrorism.”
This echoes years of continuous support for Israel in Congress, where we remain committed to Israel’s strength, security, and qualitative military superiority.
In short, it is the position of the people of the United States, as expressed by their representatives in Congress, that Israel’s fight is our
And so shall it be until the last terrorist on earth is in a cell or a cemetery.
The United States does not seek conflict.
We are a peaceful people whose military strength has been consciously built to deter aggression so that we might live in peace.
Ideally — and I believe, eventually — we will live in peace, with friendly democracies in every corner of the earth, committed to justice and human rights, “with malice toward none and charity for all.”
In nations with governments of the people, by the people, and for the people — as in our two nations — no tyrant or wicked regime can exert their
It is in democracy that the hope for peace resides.
Democracies do not starve their citizens, nor torture their dissidents, nor threaten their neighbors.
In democracies, governments serve the people; not the other way around.
And, by their nature, democracies neither enable terror nor instigate war.
Citizens in democracies are too busy engaging in “Tikkun Olam”… “repairing the world.”
Raising their children.
Supporting their families. Strengthening their communities.
It is only through the freedom of democracy that a nation’s capacity for industry, knowledge, and peace can be fulfilled.
This war we fight — this war on terror the United States shares with free nations, like Israel, around the world — we fight for this reason: to establish and secure a community of nations safe to be free, and free to be prosperous.
It’s the same reason we fought Nazism, fascism, and Communism: the liberation of all mankind from oppression.
Terrorism, like its tyrannical forebears, is borne of the idea that with enough guns, enough fear, and enough violence, human power can control the human spirit.
That through brute force, powerful men can erase the imprint of the Almighty etched into the souls of all His children.
That through domination of the weak, in the words of the serpent, “Ye shall be as gods.”
Ladies and gentlemen, IT IS A LIE.
It was a lie at Auschwitz. It was a lie in the Gulag.
It was a lie behind the Iron Curtain. It was a lie in Kabul and Baghdad. And today, it remains a lie in Beijing, and Havana, and Tehran, and Pyongyang, and Damascus and Ramallah!
But history has taught us, The Lie’s grip on civilization is only as tight as civilization permits.
After September 11, 2001, OUR tolerance for The Lie is no more.
As President Bush said: “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists.”
The war on terror is not a misunderstanding. It is not an opportunity for negotiation or dialogue.
It’s a battle between good and evil, between the Truth of liberty and The Lie of terror.
This war is the moral extension of World War II and the Cold War, and like the Nazis, fascists, and Communists before them, the terrorists are going to lose.
History, as always, will judge harshly those who would accommodate evil’s aggression.
Standing up for good against evil is hard work.
It costs money and it costs blood, but after September 11, 2001, it’s a price we are determined to pay.
On that day, we left behind forever the illusion that terrorism was “someone else’s problem.”
We were thrust into the horrible reality of terror that your nation has long endured.
We learned on that day what Israelis have known for decades: that evil cannot long be ignored or accommodated.
Good must stand up to evil. We must stand up to terrorism.
There is no middle ground or moral equivalence; no “moderate” position worth taking.
Appeasement is not an option!
Human freedom will not be subdued by human cruelty!
And so we fight: humbly, proudly, and together.
The common destiny of the United States and Israel is not an artificial alliance dictated by our leaders.
It is a heartfelt friendship between the citizens of two democracies at war, bound by the solidarity of freedom.
Brothers and sisters of Israel: “Be not afraid.”
The American people stand with you, and so does our President.
George W. Bush is a man of integrity and honesty.
He is a man committed to the security of Israel and its destiny among the great nations of the earth.
I’ve served with presidents of both parties, and I assure you, you could not have a better friend than George W. Bush.
He understands the fundamental truth that terrorism and freedom cannot coexist, and he has defined America’s global mission in its terms.
All people who desire peace and freedom are therefore allies of the United States.
And included in that number are the Palestinian people who yearn for peace, who for too long have been used as pawns by their terrorist leadership.
Their plight is real: they have been oppressed and abused by a pernicious enemy.
But their enemy is not Israel, nor its people, nor its democratic government.
Their enemy is Yasser Arafat.
Their enemy is Hamas, Hezbollah, and the vast network of violent men who
threaten this region like so many desert scorpions.
Leaders of these groups — “who sharpen their tongues like swords” — blame Israel for the blood they themselves draw and the squalor in which they themselves confine their people.
But the evidence is clear and the conclusion indisputable.
Israel is not the problem; Israel is the solution!
Just as freedom is impossible amid terror, so too is peace.
Terrorists are incapable of peace, because they live only to terrorize, to intimidate, and to kill.
Democracies, therefore, must only make peace with those men capable of it.
A prerequisite to a lasting peace is the establishment of a genuine Palestinian democracy that serves the Palestinian people.
David Ben-Gurion once said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.”
But the most realistic miracle of all is liberal democracy.
I sincerely hope Abu Mazen is the man to finally rid his people of the terrorist elements among them.
He may be.
And though Israel and the United States should adopt a “trust but verify” attitude toward him, peace is worth giving him that chance.
On June 24 of last year, President Bush spoke to the world and called on the “Palestinian people to elect new leadership, leaders not compromised by terror.”
This they have done, and the world supports their decision.
In large part, then, the onus now shifts to the rest of the world, to take the ascension of Abu Mazen to its logical conclusion: Arafat must be isolated.
Nations and organizations — however well-intentioned — that acknowledge Yasser Arafat and his network as legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people validate The Lie, and perpetuate terror.
Whether in Brussels, Manhattan, or anywhere in between, legitimizing Arafat undermines the prospects for peace.
Terrorism does not exist in a vacuum.
The campaigns of evil visited on innocent men, women, and children around the world rely on state sponsorship.
Governments in Iran, Syria, and elsewhere who continue to offer support and safe harbor to terrorists will be held accountable for their actions, and suffer the consequences.
Terrorism is going to be ended in the Middle East and everywhere else, and so too will regimes that support it.
In the words of President Bush: “We will not waver. Will not tire. We will not falter, and we will not fail.”
A lasting peace in the Middle East requires more than the temporary ascension of Abu Mazen.
President Bush made this point at the White House last week, when he said, “…the Middle East needs leaders of vision and courage and a determination to serve the interests of their people.”
These leaders must not only renounce terrorism, but eradicate it.
They must acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, secure in its borders, for all time.
And they must work to ensure their neighbors in the Arab community do the same.
Nations around the world and around the Middle East who have helped achieve these goals should be commended.
The work they are doing requires courage, and this is a time for courageous men.
If we do not do this difficult work, the status quo will remain.
Innocent people will die, and The Lie will live on.
But if we do…
If we do, the citizens of Israel will have what they’ve never had before.
And so will the Palestinian people.
If they rise up from terror and embrace the universal hopes of freedom and democracy, the United States and the rest of the world will be there to help them.
We will help them develop the infrastructure necessary to accommodate a free society.
We will help them establish the civic institutions necessary to foster a vibrant democracy.
Roads, hospitals, bridges, schools, accountable government, the rule of law, economic opportunity.
These are things their terrorist leaders have long promised, but never delivered.
On the other hand, the United States has — for a century — helped newly liberated peoples grow into great and prosperous democracies.
We did it in Western Europe and Japan after World War II, and Eastern Europe after the Cold War.
We are doing it now in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And I want to assure the Palestinian people: there is nothing we would like more than to do it again.
If you provide the hope, we will provide the help.
But if the Palestinian people continue to allow violent men — the murderous minions of The Lie — to speak for them, they will remain terrorized under the boot-heel of evil.
So I say again, to all Israelis and Palestinians who seek peace: “Be not afraid.”
Your liberation from The Lie is at hand.
More blood may be spilled and more tears shed, but a future of freedom is certain.
In the words of a 15-year-old girl hiding in Amsterdam less than a month before she was taken to Auschwitz, “I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us… I feel the suffering of millions.
“And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
One day, Israel — with the United States by her side — will live in freedom, security, and peace. And terrorism will perish from the earth. But until that day to dawns, free men the world over — whether of the cross, the crescent, or the Star of David — will stand with Israel in defiance of evil.
Free men will never succumb to the ease or expedience of The Lie because we will never forget that when fighting evil, determination is destiny.
May the God of Abraham continue to bless the United States, Israel, and each and every one of you.’
And in His name: Ahl teerah [Be not afraid]!