McCarthy reaffirms US commitment to Israel in Knesset speech, warns of China, Russia
McCarthy led a bipartisan congressional delegation with more than a dozen members.
JERUSALEM – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a historic speech before the Knesset, reaffirmed the United States' commitment to its closest and longest Middle East ally – while denouncing neighboring Iran's aggression in the region and warning of the growing threat of China.
"As long as I am speaker, Congress will continue to fully fund security assistance to Israel," McCarthy said in a bipartisan pledge of support.
Denouncing Iran's aggression in the Middle East, the leader of the Republican-controlled House, also accused the rogue nation of funding terror proxies in the region.
"To deter Iran our nations must continue to stand together," said McCarthy, who became to first sitting House speaker in 25 years to address the Knesset, the unicameral legislature of Israel. "We must always remain resolute in our commitment that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon."
The California Republican also said U.S.-Israel relations are stronger than they were two and a half years ago, when Republican Donald Trump was in office, in response to a question asked by Just the News.
"I think you look at us right here, we're stronger," he said, one day after saying he'd invite Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, D.C., if President Joe Biden does not.
McCarthy also pointed to the bipartisan congressional delegation that joined him on the trip and said, "You can ask any member. I think, even walking away from this, they feel stronger today. And I think it will be stronger tomorrow."
Biden, who was vice president during the Obama administration, which did not have strong ties with Netanyahu, recently said he has no plans "in the near term" to invite the prime minister to the U.S.
The comment also follows the Trump administration in 2020 brokering the historic Abraham Accords – treaties that normalized diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
McCarthy called for Israel to strengthen its oversight of Chinese investment and said while the Chinese Communist Party may "disguise itself as promoters of innovation, in truth, they act like thieves. We must not allow them to steal our technology."
McCarthy also gave a stern response to a RIA Novosti reporter in Israel who said to him, "We know that you don't support the current unlimited and uncontrolled supplies of weaponry and aid to Ukraine. ... Is it possible that the U.S. policy of sending weaponry to Ukraine?"
"No," McCarthy responded. "I vote for aid to Ukraine. I support aid for Ukraine. I do not support what your country has done to Ukraine. I do not support your killing of the children either and I think from one standpoint, you should pull out. And I don't think it's right, and we will continue to support, because the rest of the world sees it just as it is."
As the audience and fellow members of the House delegation applauded McCarthy's answer on Ukraine, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) took to the podium to also voice his support for Ukraine.
"I share the speaker's view," Hoyer said. He also said that rather than wearing a U.S.-Israel flag pin, he is wearing a U.S.-Ukraine flag pin in support of the war-torn country.
The last sitting House speaker to address the Knesset prior to McCarthy was Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich in 1998.
McCarthy is joined on his trip by Democratic Reps. Hoyer, Josh Gottheimer, Jimmy Panetta, Greg Landsman, Rob Menendez and Jared Moskowitz.
The Republicans on the trip are Reps. Garret Graves, Bruce Westerman, Andrew Garbarino, Julia Letlow, Anthony D’Esposito, Thomas Kean, Jr., Erin Houchin, Nick LaLota, Michael Lawler and Max Miller.
The delegation also visited Jordan on Sunday and met with King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein.