Menendez Statement On The 60th Anniversary Of The Founding Of Israel

Menendez Statement On The 60th Anniversary Of The Founding Of Israel

Washington - Today, we mark the sixtieth Anniversary of Israel's founding and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, gave a speech on the Senate floor to honor and congratulate Israel on this occasion. The following are excerpts from his speech:

"On April 22nd of this year, we here in the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution expressing our unwavering commitment to the sovereign and independent State of Israel.
60 years after its founding, we now witness a strong nation, a steadfast ally and strategic partner of the United States, a dynamic democracy with a thriving economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life, that survives despite the heavy costs of war, terrorism, and unjustified diplomatic and economic boycotts."

"We now witness a compassionate nation, which regularly sends humanitarian aid, search-and-rescue teams, mobile hospitals, and other emergency supplies, to help victims of disasters around the world-and which has taken in millions of Jews from countries around the world."

"By honoring and commemorating the 60th anniversary of Israel, we do more than congratulate a nation. We take a stand against hatred and discrimination everywhere.
We recognize a triumph over fear, an achievement of industriousness, a victory of hope. We express our sincere confidence that despite the challenges its people have faced, despite the threats to their very existence, Israel has, and it shall, overcome."

Click below to see the video of Senator Menendez's speech on the Senate Floor: http://menendez.senate.gov/links/050808_RobertMenendez.ram

Click here for the audio of his speech: http://demradio.senate.gov/actualities/menendez/menendez080508.mp3

Text of Senator Menendez's full remarks on the Senate floor, as prepared for delivery:

M. President, I rise to honor and celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary. On a sad note, this is the first year we honor Israel's anniversary that we do so without my friend and former colleague Tom Lantos. Mr. Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to ever serve in Congress and his recent passing has left a hollow void for all of us.

M. President,

On April 22nd of this year, we here in the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution expressing our unwavering commitment to the sovereign and independent State of Israel.

60 years after its founding, we now witness a strong nation, a steadfast ally and strategic partner of the United States, a dynamic democracy with a thriving economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life, that survives despite the heavy costs of war, terrorism, and unjustified diplomatic and economic boycotts.

We now witness an innovative nation, which has developed some of the leading universities in the world, and produced 8 winners of the Nobel Prize.

We now witness a compassionate nation, which regularly sends humanitarian aid, search-and-rescue teams, mobile hospitals, and other emergency supplies, to help victims of disasters around the world-and which has taken in millions of Jews from countries around the world.

And these accomplishments have followed one of the most tragic events in human civilization: the slaughter of more than 6 million European Jews during the Holocaust.

We are reminded that, as I have said many times before on this floor, the events of the Holocaust are not distant and are not buried in the past. Today, those who survived the camps live to tell us their story and the stories of their families and their lives before the Holocaust.

And their children and grandchildren are here with us, too.

They are living testimony to the strength, courage, and optimism of their parents and grandparents.
But in their hearts and in their souls they feel the pain and suffering of those who raised them. In them, too, the past is present.

Echoes from that tragedy still rattle our world in other ways.

Every time a hateful slogan is spray-painted on a wall, every time a bigoted joke spreads like wildfire on the Internet, every time a synagogue somewhere in the world has to station armed guards outside it so its members can pray in peace, and every time a terrorist rocket attack shatters a pane of glass at a family's home or a school, we feel the dark shadows of history falling upon our time.

It is a harsh reality, that sixty years after its founding, the nation of Israel continues to face mounting threats to its way of life and existence. Sixty years after the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people, anti-Semitism is very much alive.

And so those who speak against the sovereignty of Israel or who believe that anti-Semitism is an attack that need not be answered do not recognize the consequences of history. In fact, an attack against anyone simply because of race or religion is ultimately the beginning of the unraveling of civilization. So it is in our common interest to raise our voices against anti-Semitism.

By honoring and commemorating the 60th anniversary of Israel, we do more than congratulate a nation. We take a stand against hatred and discrimination everywhere.
We recognize a triumph over fear, an achievement of industriousness, a victory of hope. We express our sincere confidence that despite the challenges its people have faced, despite the threats to their very existence, Israel has, and it shall, overcome.

M. President, Israel and the Jewish people have held many commemorations and events over the past week. Yesterday was a day to remember those who gave their lives to protect the state of Israel and others who have fallen victim to attacks from its enemies. Today is a day to celebrate the nation's sixty years of life. It is a day for celebration and strong action.

On this day, we pause to commemorate all those who have contributed to make Israel such a strong nation. And we pledge to continue to strengthen our bonds of close friendship and cooperation, so that, as proud as this nation's history is, the future will be brighter still.

Thank you.

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