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APN Applauds Obama's historic speech to the Israeli people.


In his historic speech today, President Obama fired up a crowd of a thousand young Israelis at Jerusalem's convention center, receiving an outpouring of enthusiasm and support for his message of peace.

You can read the text of the speech here, but this is a speech worth watching for the outpouring of emotion engendered by its inspiring vision to a nation in search of hope. You can watch this monumental address here.

In this speech, President Obama did exactly what APN urged him to do on this visit - he spoke directly to the people of Israel and spoke to them clearly and passionately about his commitment to Israel and how, from this commitment, comes his commitment to peace and the two-state solution. You can read our statement issued earlier this week here.

Below is APN's press release responding to the speech:

Americans for Peace Now (APN) today applauded President Obama's historic speech, delivered to an audience of young Israelis in Jerusalem.

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee stated:

"Today, President Obama did what he does best: he spoke directly and honestly to the people. With compassion, courage, integrity, and a touch of humor, President Obama made the best case for peace that Israelis have ever heard, either from a U.S. president or from their own leaders. In doing so, Israelis finally got a chance to understand the depth of this president's commitment to their security, their prosperity, and their future, and to understand why this commitment is directly linked to the longstanding U.S. commitment to the achievement of peace.

"We applaud President Obama for his courageous and historic speech. With this speech, he demonstrates his true friendship for Israel and the people of Israel. President Obama clearly laid out some difficult but critical truths to all sides: the incompatibility of settlements with peace, the indignity and injustice of the occupation, the threat the status quo poses to Israel's future as a Jewish state and a democracy, the moral imperative of achieving a two-state solution based on viable borders and reflecting Israel's security needs, and the reality that peace is the path to true security for Israel.

"President Obama's speech was warmly received in Jerusalem, with enthusiastic applause for all of his key substantive points. This is because, as we know well, the people of Israel are a partner for peace. Extremists and rejectionists, whether among settlers or the general population, are a minority. President Obama was correct when he told his audience that political leaders will rarely act to challenge the status quo unless pressed by their constituents. We believe that Israelis are ready to heed his call to "create the change" that they want to see.

"Israelis, however, cannot do this alone and will be looking for support and leadership from President Obama in the coming period. The upcoming visit by Secretary of State Kerry offers an opportunity to demonstrate to Israelis that President Obama's courageous words in Jerusalem are part of his administration's new commitment to Israelis and to resolving this conflict.

"APN in the U.S., and our friends and colleagues in Shalom Achshav (the Israeli Peace Now movement), enthusiastically welcomed President Obama's visit and warmly embrace Obama's powerful words. Together, we now stand ready to support and actively help President Obama and Secretary Kerry, as they work to realize the vision laid out in today's historic speech."

Israel's Peace Now movement today organized a get-together of peace activists at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to watch President Obama's speech broadcast live from Jerusalem