Ted Deutch, a most Jewish speech from the most Jewish district


The newest congressman, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), just delivered his first speech from the House floor, wishing Israel a happy 62nd birthday.

Deutch handily won Robert Wexler’s old seat — believed to be  the most Jewish seat in the United States — and he already seems like a pro.

He handily handled a procedural request, to allow five minute speeches during a congressional business break so that he and a number of his colleagues could co-sponsor a non-binding resolution (initiated by fellow Floridian Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) congratulating Israel on its 62nd birthday.

Wexler was, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), perhaps the most "Jewy" member of Congress: unabashedly observant and unabashedly outspoken and unabashedly involved with the community.

Deutch, delivering his own 62nd accolades, is sustaining that tradition. 

Full speech below the jump.


Mr. Speaker, 

As the nation’s newest member of Congress, it is truly an honor to have my first remarks on the floor be in commemoration of Israel’s 62nd anniversary. 

Today, I proudly rise in support of House Concurrent Resolution 260, which recognizes the independence of the Jewish State of Israel and reaffirms the unyielding friendship and unshakeable alliance between our two great nations.

As Israelis and Jewish communities throughout the world celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, this resolution holds a special significance for me and my constituents in Florida’s 19th district. 

I proudly represent a district with  one of the nation’s largest number of Jewish Americans as well as Holocaust survivors. 

So many of my constituents remember when the promise of Israel was only an unlikely possiblity, and over the years they watched the amazing realization of this dream and the establishment of this great nation.

For so many of my constituents, and to so many Americans, that day in 1948, when Israel declared its independence, was the day that a promise was fulfilled to the Jewish people who for so long struggled to find a place that they could call home. 

62 years later, Israel has grown into a thriving democratic state with a technologically advanced economy and a rich, democratic culture. 

The people of Israel embrace freedom, and through art and literature, music and business, the entire globe has benefited from from Israel’s existence and success. 

Throughout these 62 years, the people of Israel have shown an open hearted desire to live in peace and a fierce resolve to protect the secutiry of their citizens no matter the cost.

This nation and these citizens have shown incredible determination and fortitude in the face of terrorism, violence, and threats from those who deny and threaten Israel’s very existence. 

While Yom Ha’Aztmaut is a day to celebrate, we cannot ignore the real and present threats and security challenges faced by Israel every single day. 

Whether they be attacks from terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, or the continued financial sponsorship of terrorism by Syria and Iran, the people of Israel should know that the United States will always – unequivocally – stand in support of Israel’s right to self defense. 

The relationship between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. The relationship is one between two peoples – our comon values, the history we share, our commitment to freedom, and our joint vision of of a secure and peaceful Middle East. 

From the recognition of the new State of Israel by President Harry Truman in 1948 through today – let me make this clear – the United States stands with Israel and the United States will always stand with Israel. The relationship is secure, and the relationship is strong.

This resolution not only reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense, but recognizes that the single most serious threat facing Israel’s security is that of a nuclear-armed Iran. 

Iran’s illicit quest for nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to the State of Israel and an unnacceptable threat towards the United States. 

The importance of this issue cannot be understated. 

Just this week – the very week we celebrate Israel’s independence – news organizations have reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  has approved new uranium enrichment plans in Iran. 

This threat is real, and it is unacceptable.

Congress and the Administration must work together and use every tool at our disposal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms.

The United States must take immediate agressive action to ratchet up economic pressure on Iran – which I am hopeful the House will continue to work on tomorrow –  and we must continue to demand that the international community join with us in this critical effort. 

As a new Member of Congress, I look forward to working with my new colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, on initiatives that will strengthen our bond with Israel, enhance Israel’s defense capabilities, and thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons program. 

America and Israel share a commitment not just to confronting terrorism and extremism, but to bolstering freedom, human rights, and democracy across the globe. 

The generosity and kindness of the Israeli people could not have been more evident than in the days following the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

It was Israel that arrived on the scene first and began rescuing men, women, and children trapped in the rumble. 

It was Israel that built the first field hospital in Haiti and began offering immediate medical care to injured. 

It was Israel that stood with those most in need because of a simple belief in universal human dignity. 

Let’s stand with Israel today, by passing House Concurrent Resolution 260, and by expressing our most sincere hope that our dear ally Israel  achieves the lasting peace it has long deserved. 

Thank you, and I yield the balance of my time. 

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