U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, addressing the opening plenary of the 2020 AJC Global Forum, reaffirmed the strong U.S.-Israel relationship, condemned rising worldwide antisemitism, and cautioned Iran against threatening Israel and pursing a nuclear weapons program.

AJC’s signature annual event, originally scheduled to take place this week in Berlin, Germany, was changed to an online meeting due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the secretary’s remarks reached an audience of many thousands in the U.S. and around the world.

“Since 1948, Israel has proven time and again that it’s up to any challenge to the Jewish people’s right to govern themselves in their ancestral homeland,” said Pompeo. “The United States will always support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Pompeo noted that he has visited Israel four times as secretary of state. “As a Christian, being in Israel deeply is moving, a very moving experience for me,” he said.

“The United States and Israel are blessed nations, and we share a very special bond,” said Pompeo. “Our bilateral partnership is all the more vital given the rise in antisemitism around the world.”

On the prospect for advancing the stalled peace process, Pompeo said that “the president’s Vision for Peace is the most realistic path to end the conflict for the good of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

Pompeo praised AJC for its leadership in combating antisemitism around the world. “I truly admire the crucial work AJC is doing to fight back,” said Pompeo. “With special envoy Elan Carr, you pushed for the adoption and implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. You are confronting the vile BDS movement and textbooks that teach innocent Palestinian children to hate Jews, making peace that much harder,” said Pompeo, adding that “anti-Zionism is indeed antisemitism.”

U.S. support for Israel is clearest, he said, when looking at how the Administration has “handled the number one supporter of antisemitism, the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“We will continue to squeeze the regime until Iran starts behaving as a normal nation, stops threatening its own people and its neighbors. The mullahs must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon,” said Pompeo

Declaring that “standing against bad actors is at the core of American values,” the secretary announced that the State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, which focuses on human rights, will issue next month a report showing how “shared principles bring us closer to friends like Israel.”

In conclusion, Secretary Pompeo declared that “with the AJC’s help, the U.S. and Israel will proudly honor our shared foundation of freedom and democracy, and confront the challenges of the day.”

“We are grateful to Secretary Pompeo for speaking to AJC,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “He addressed our priority concerns in a powerful and principled way, as he has done in each of our encounters.”

Secretary Pompeo also addressed the AJC 2019 Global Forum in a conversation with AJC CEO David Harris.