This article was originally published on Jewish Insider.
- Israel Emerges as a Campaign Issue Ahead of Ohio, Illinois, Florida Primaries
- Tuesday's GOP Primaries Could Provide Defining Moment in White House Race - or Not
- Trump Turns Toward Pivotal Primaries After Weekend Marred by Turmoil
Israel has a special purpose. It was created as a homeland for the Jewish people to ensure they do not face annihilation, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said during a campaign rally in Wast Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday.
“Israel is a special creation for the Jewish people. It was founded as a homeland for the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust. It has a special purpose,” Rubio said during a rally at Palm Beach Atlantic University ahead of a make or break crucial primary contest in his home state of Florida.
“How quickly we forget the lessons of history, how quickly we forget that less than a hundred years ago, an entire people almost vanished from the face of the earth because of evil, and Israel was created to make sure that never happens again.”
Rubio, in one of the most compassionate speeches he has given on the campaign trail, lambasted the UN’s criticism of Israel as the new face of anti-Semitism in the 21st century. “All of this anti-Israel action going on globally; it’s anti-Semitism,” he said. “They hide behind criticism of Israel, but that’s what it is. The United Nations spends more time condemning Israel than they do North Korea, Cuba, China – with serious human rights violations. My friends, this is the new face of anti-Semitism.”
Stating that Israel is “the only” pro-American free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East, Rubio said “it is upsetting” that the front-runner in the Republican Party, Donald Trump, says he’s not going to pick sides.
“I want you to know, when I am president, I am going to pick sides. I am going to be on Israel’s side,” he said to loud applause. “And the world is going to know it on my first day in office because when I get to the Oval Office, I am going to cancel Barack Obama’s deal with Iran, and I am moving our embassy to Jerusalem.”
Rubio touted his foreign policy credentials and focused on Israel in the final days before Tuesday’s Florida primary, which could potentially end or reset his presidential campaign. On Friday, Rubio held a press conference in Palm Beach in which he suggested that a Trump presidency would be an extension of Obama’s two terms as it relates to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Sign up for Jewish Insider's curated Daily Kickoff newsletter here.