New York State Assemblyman, Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) challenged the posture of the Obama administration, accusing it of changing positions on issues. This was a reference to Obama’s immediate backtracking on his first address before the AIPAC Convention in 2008, in which he stated that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Hikind expressed skepticism that Obama is really in Israel’s corner and is determined to prevent a nuclear Iran. Referring to the threat from Iran, “This is real” he said.
Congressman Bob Turner, (R-NY) described what is currently a “difficult timeline” regarding the Iranian nuclear program, criticizing the administration’s decision to allow Iran five weeks to continue to develop its nuclear arsenal during the latest round of negotiations as an “awful mistake that hopefully we can recover from.”
Regarding Iranian threats against Israel, US Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) stated, “If we have learned anything from the history of the last century, when someone says ‘I intend to kill,’ he must be taken seriously.” Nadler added, “War must be a last resort.” He called for continuing sanctions to “squeeze” Iran economically, but warned of the possibility of military action.
According to US Representative Carolyn Maloney, (D-NY) a nuclear Iran “could blackmail the world. … It could have the ability to do in minutes what took the Nazis six years.” Maloney stated emphatically, “We must make sure that Iran does not develop Nuclear weapons — period,” and emphasized that “Israel has the right and sole discretion to take whatever steps necessary to defend its own people.” She added that a “nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel, but to the entire world.”
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) expressed regret at the audience Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmedinejad had received at the United Nations over the past few years and made reference to Ahmedinejad’s denials of the Holocaust that “The more someone speaks the language of Holocaust denial, the more credibility it will have.” Weprin exhorted the audience to continue to speak out. He ended with the words, “Am Yisrael Chai” (The Nation of Israel Lives.)
At the conclusion, Rabbi Yaacov Lerner of the Young Israel of Great Neck recited Psalms lead the prayer for the American Government and Rabbi Dale Polakoff of the Great Neck Synagogue recited the payer for the State of Israel.
Cantor Eric Stern of the Manhattan Jewish Experience led the introductory American Anthem and the concluding Hatikvah.
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