Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton to the Zionist Organization of America
National Security Council New York City November 5, 2018
As prepared for delivery by Ambassador John Bolton on November 4, 2018.
Thank you, Ingeborg, for your kind introduction. We are all deeply grateful to you and Ira for your devoted service to so many important causes.
I also want to thank Mort Klein for the invitation to speak at this year's dinner. For twenty-five years now, Mort has served as national president of this outstanding organization, leading with extraordinary courage, vision, and pride. Thank you, Mort.
I am truly humbled to receive ZOA's Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Award for Defense of Israel.
This organization has long served as a staunch advocate for the Jewish state, for the Jewish people, and for a strong U.S.-Israeli partnership. It is a true privilege to attend this dinner and to have the opportunity to address all of you.
In September, President Trump and I were here in New York City for his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. During his remarks, the President made clear that the United States has embarked on a new foreign policy course.
We are no longer apologizing for defending our national interests and our sovereignty.
We are calling out our enemies, and standing by our friends.
We are preventing foreign bureaucrats from dictating our means of self-defense and attacking our partners.
Gone are the days when the United States sold out our allies, appeased murderous regimes, and tiptoed around obvious facts in the name of political correctness.
As President Trump has repeatedly said, America is being respected again.
We saw the results of renewed American leadership last year when the President officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The United States has since moved our embassy to its rightful home in the Holy City.
I was honored to visit our new embassy site in August during a trip to Israel, where my team and I had more than a dozen meetings with Israeli officials, starting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As you know, the historic American embassy move was long overdue.
In relocating the embassy, President Trump accomplished what other leaders had repeatedly promised, but consistently failed to deliver.
This important decision did more than simply acknowledge a clear reality on the ground. It did more than merely shift our principal diplomatic activities from Israel's coast to the heart of the Holy Land. This decision, without a doubt, showed the world that the United States will once again stand for what is right and just.
We will not sacrifice Israel's security to garner praise at all the right cocktail parties, in all the wrong corners of the world.
Under this administration, we will support and champion our trusted ally-a thriving democracy in the Middle East-and our truest friend.
In June, we withdrew from the anti-Israel United Nations Human Rights Council.
For decades, the U.N. Human Rights Council, and its equally corrupt predecessor-the U.N. Human Rights Commission-devoted most of their time to criticizing Israel, not to mention the United States, while shielding the world's most egregious human rights abusers.
In 2006, I cast the U.S. vote against establishing the supposedly reformed U.N. Human Rights Council. It was one of the proudest votes I cast at the U.N. At that time, I warned Member States that the Council we created would become our legacy.
In the years ahead, we would be judged on whether we established a "U.N. human rights machinery that was effective and strong." An overwhelming U.N. General Assembly majority ignored our objections, and you can see the results today.
Since that day twelve years ago, despite repeated U.S. calls for reform, the U.N. Human Rights Council has continued to welcome and enable the world's worst human rights violators.
As our administration declared in June, the Human Rights Council is unworthy of its name. Today, I want to be clear, this Council is also unworthy of American membership. It was unworthy in 2006, and it didn't get any better with age.
From now on, U.S. participation in international institutions will be conditioned on the organization's effectiveness and on whether or not it serves U.S. interests and the interests of our allies.
As the President announced to the U.N. General Assembly, the United States is working to shift more of our U.N. funding from assessed to voluntary contributions in order to target the most effective programs directly.
We will ensure that American resources and support advance American objectives and goals.
For similar reasons, on the eve of September 11th this year, I announced that the United States will not engage, fund, or support the International Criminal Court in any way.
We will not cooperate. We will provide no assistance. And, we certainly will not join.
The ICC is an illegitimate, unaccountable, and unconstitutional foreign bureaucracy that has the audacity to consider asserting jurisdiction over American and Israeli citizens without their consent.
The Court is flawed at its core, and we will let it die on its own.
The ICC's fundamental purpose is not, as claimed, to punish and deter horrific human rights atrocities.
On this count, the Court has been an utter disgrace, spending more than $1.5 billion dollars, while achieving only eight convictions.
Atrocities continue unabated in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya-and in many other areas-despite ongoing ICC investigations. The world's monstrous dictators and despots are not deterred by The Hague's toiling bureaucrats and robed judges. What a surprise!
The ICC's real purpose is of course not to punish these perpetrators, but to constrain the foreign policies of the United States and our allies like Israel.
The Court claims jurisdiction for ambiguously defined crimes in order to intimidate leaders in both countries, who strive to defend their nations from myriad threats every single day.
As usual, Israel has been the canary in the coal mine for the ICC's corruption, revealing the Court's dangerous overreach and true, though concealed, ambitions.
While the ICC has gladly welcomed the membership of the so-called "State of Palestine," it has threatened to investigate Israeli housing projects, and it has targeted Israeli actions against terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza.
In November of last year, the ICC Prosecutor also requested to investigate alleged war crimes supposedly committed by U.S. service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.
This outcome was entirely predictable. First, the global governance apostles go after Israel. Then, they come for the United States.
It is fully apparent that the ICC wants U.S. and Israeli leaders to think twice before taking action to protect their people from terrorism and other threats.
In September, reflecting congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to provoke an ICC investigation of Israel, the United States announced the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.
We will not consider reopening this office until the Palestinians take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel on the peace process.
We have likewise cut funding for the Palestinian Authority, which must immediately cease its despicable practice of paying terrorists and their families for murdering innocent Israeli men, women, and children.
Until it does, the United States will not risk the chance that U.S. taxpayer dollars could be used as bounties for terrorists.
We have also defunded the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, "UNRWA," which failed to use generous American funding effectively to help those in need, thereby inhibiting progress toward peace.
The United States continues to support a robust peace process and direct negotiations between all parties.
Of course, we know that the primary obstacle to enduring peace and stability in the Middle East is none other than the murderous Iranian dictatorship in Tehran.
The ayatollahs steal from their people to fund their worldwide campaign of chaos, destruction, and bloodshed.
The regime has long been the world's central banker for terrorism, and it remains the leading state sponsor of terror to this day.
Over the decades, Iran has kidnapped, tortured, and murdered American and Israeli citizens. It has attacked our embassies, and targeted our service members.
The mullahs proudly chant "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." At least we are in good company.
This brutal dictatorship can never be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
For this reason, earlier this year President Trump withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran Nuclear Deal.
This deal was by far the worst diplomatic fiasco in American history.
It was based on the tragic fallacy that a handshake, and a wink, between self-styled global elites is sufficient protection for millions of innocent lives around the world.