Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, praised the administration's recent decisions to pull out of the Iran Deal and move the embassy to Jerusalem at a Jewish Community Relations Council meeting on June 6.
Dermer began his remarks by sharing his deep gratitude to Chicago's Jewish community for its continual support of Israel.
"The first thing I want to say is thank you," Dermer said. "People think we've always had a strategic relationship between Israel and the United States, but a lot of people don't know there was an arms embargo on Israel when they newly-established state was fighting for its life. In those first two decades, we did not have any strategic relationship with the U.S. In those two decades when no one else was here for Israel, you were here for Israel. And your grandparents and parents were here."
Dermer praised President Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran Deal, stating that "few decisions have been more important to Israel's national security."
"I know it was a point of controversy. I want to be clear: I don't think that people on the other side of the issue want any harm to Israel," Dermer said. "But we saw and see this deal as a threat to the survival of the state of Israel."
As a people who were voiceless for centuries, Dermer emphasized the necessity of "having a voice to use on critical and existential issues for your country."
"One hundred generations of Jews dreamed of living in a time where there'd be a sovereign Jewish state, and three generations have lived that privilege, and with that privilege comes a great responsibility to secure that privilege for future generations," Dermer said.
Dermer advocated for sanctions to pressure Iran to "roll back their aggression in the region."
The silver lining of the entire situation is the new relationship between Israel and the Arab world that has resulted, according to Dermer. Dermer expressed optimism that a negotiated settlement could be reached in part due to the changed attitudes toward Israel from Arab leaders.
"The relationships are under the surface, but real." Dermer said. "An iceberg isn't strong because of what you see, but because of what is beneath the surface. Surfacing it is a challenge, but it's a great source for hope that a common enemy can bring former adversaries together."
In his remarks, Dermer also lauded the American embassy's recent move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a "historic moment."
"It will be remembered centuries from now," Dermer said. "Jerusalem has a unique place in the history and consciousness of our people. It might get lost in the specific controversy and the politics of the moment, but in the perspective of history, I think people will see it