WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton said Monday that she was prepared to take the relationship between the U.S. and Israel to the next level. Speaking to the country’s largest pro-Israel lobbying group at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual meeting, the presidential candidate warned about the speakers who would take the stage in the afternoon, one of them in particular.
“We need steady hands,” she said “not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who-knows-what on Wednesday. Security with Israel is non-negotiable.”
Taking from her time as secretary of state and her travels through the region, Clinton made clear that she was the candidate with the most foreign policy experience and knowledge about Israel.
“America can’t ever be neutral. Some things aren’t negotiable. Somebody who doesn’t understand that has no place being our president,” she said. Applause and cheers drowned her voice many times during the 25-minute speech in Washington’s Verizon Center.
Though she didn’t mention him by name, it was clear she was referring to Republican front-runner Donald Trump when he refused to pick a side in the Israeli-Palestine conflict in February, saying he was a “neutral guy.”
Clinton also addressed security issues affecting Israel and condemned Palestinians’ incitement of violence, saying that the U.S. needs to be an important presence in the region. She said that, as the next president, she would renew the 10-year memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Israel and invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the White House.
Clinton’s rival in the Democratic race, Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, the only Jewish candidate, has said he will not appear because of a scheduling conflict. All the Republican presidential candidates are set to speak later in the day, and anti-Trump groups say they will protest outside the Verizon Center.
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