'We're facing a moment that demands moral clarity. This is a time for choosing. And the choice is crystal clear. We must stand with America's closest ally in the Middle East, with the people of Israel, with those held hostage by terrorists, and with their families.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, October 17, 2023) – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today to a gathering of American Jewish leaders regarding support for Israel:
"Thank you very much. And thank you for coming to Washington. Like everyone here, I am deeply saddened by the circumstances surrounding this gathering.
"I stand with the people of Israel, in their grief and their pain, as they face down existential evil. And I stand with you, and with Jewish communities around the world, as you face alarming new varieties of the insidious, age-old scourge of anti-Semitism.
"My message to you today is about how the United States, and the entire civilized world, needs to respond.
"We're facing a moment that demands moral clarity. This is a time for choosing. And the choice is crystal clear.
"We must stand with America's closest ally in the Middle East. With the people of Israel. With those held hostage by terrorists, and with their families.
"And we must condemn barbaric terrorists, their evil sponsors, and the legacy of hatred toward Jews that has stained world history for millennia.
"Today's gathering, and our mission in the coming days, is a powerful reminder that the burden of standing against terror, defending sovereignty, deterring authoritarian aggression, and condemning hate is not Israel's alone to bear.
"Israel's fight is the fight of the entire civilized world.
"This is America's cause, too. And it demands leadership.
"People with a platform need to start by establishing loud and clear who are the victims and who are the aggressors.
"We need to push back on false 'both-sides' narratives you're hearing in the media.
"We need to denounce anti-Semitic hate wherever it occurs.
"And we need to show the rest of the world by our words and our actions that there simply is no moral equivalence between terrorism and self-defense.
"Our country needs to lead by calling on countries with relations with Hamas to push immediately and forcefully to release the hostages.
"We need to lead countries with influence in the region to deny safe haven to those who aid and abet terrorist violence.
"And we need to make it clear that America, Israel, and our allies will be watching closely how they answer this call.
"America needs to re-establish credible deterrence against Iran. We need to show the regime that stakes its existence on pursuing the extinction of Israel and the United States that our resolve is rock-solid.
"That means giving maximum support for Israel's counter-terrorism operations, as long as it takes. It also means getting back to investing in the sort of American strength that can protect our people, equip our allies, and lead the coalition to destroy the terrorists who threaten the entire civilized world.
"This is what I'll be fighting for in the coming weeks as the Senate considers the resources we put into our own defense, and the additional assistance we need for Israel and other democracies facing authoritarian aggression – from Europe to the Pacific.
"So as you embark on an essential mission, I want to thank you all for your leadership.
"May God bless you and keep you safe. And may God bless Israel and the United States of America."