(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was booed Sunday at the Jerusalem Post’s annual conference in New York City when he said President Barack Obama and his administration has done more than any of his predecessors to advance the security of Israel.
“The simple fact is this: No administration has done more for Israel’s security than this one,” Lew said. “Under President Obama, and with the support of Congress, America has provided $20 billion in military support to Israel.”
The crowed repeatedly heckled Lew as he tried to lay out the case that brokering an agreement with Iran is the only way to prevent the Islamic theocracy from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“We recognize that the threats to the state of Israel’s existence today are real. They are complex, and they must be taken seriously,” Lew, the first orthodox Jew to hold the highest post at Treasury, said on Sunday. “That is why the Obama administration has done so much over the past six years to advance Israel’s security.”
Lew said that the Obama administration is “standing up to those who undermine the state of Israel’s basic legitimacy,” as well as working to improve trade and investment between the two countries, fighting terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas and providing “unprecedented” and “historic” intelligence and military assistance.
“This assistance has not only enabled Iron Dome, which has saved countless lives, it will lead to the delivery of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Israel next year,” Lew said. “With this stealth fighter, Israel will be the one and only country in the Middle East to have the next generation of technologically advanced fighter jets.”
Lew tried to reassure the large crowd of mostly Jews that the Obama administration stands by Israel and will look out for its security even if a deal is made with Iran, which has pledged the destruction of the Jewish State.
“We are resolved to hold Iran accountable and continue to use all our available tools, including sanctions, to deter Iran’s aggression, its violation of human rights, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its threats against America’s allies - like Israel,” Lew said. “Iran knows that our array of sanctions focused on its efforts to support terrorism and destabilize the region will continue after any nuclear agreement.
“That means Treasury will continue to aggressively target the finances of Iranian-backed terrorist groups and the Iranian entities that support them, including Hezbollah and the IRGC-Qods Force,” Lew said. “And as we have always done, we will continue to stand with Israel and publicly condemn any hateful speech towards the state of Israel from Iranian officials.”
The deadline for completing the Iran nuclear deal, which includes participation by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the U.S., Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany -- and the European Union, is June 30.
You can see a timeline for the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear ambitions – 1950s to 2015 -- here.