President Donald Trump boasted on Saturday of his record on issues of importance to Jews, saying unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises” to Israel.
Speaking at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida, he highlighted his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.
“They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”
Trump also highlighted his decision to reverse more than a half-century of US policy in the Middle East by recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war but its sovereignty over the territory had not been recognized by the international community.
In his speech, the president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don't love Israel enough.
“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more," Trump said, to some applause. “Because you have Jewish people that are great people — they don't love Israel enough.”
Trump criticized Israel's sworn enemy, Iran, saying he withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal with other world powers because Tehran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.
But Trump voiced support for Iranian citizens who have been protesting a decision by their government to withdraw fuel subsidies, which sent prices skyrocketing.
Trump said he believes thousands of Iranians have been killed in the protests and that thousands more have been arrested.
“America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom," he said.
The president introduced his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has played a leading role in helping the administration craft its Middle East peace plan.
A self-described deal-maker, Trump said he had long been told that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be the hardest deal of all.
But ''if Jared Kushner can't do it, it can't be done," Trump said.
The White House has said its Middle East peace plan is complete and had promised to release it after Israeli elections in September. The long-delayed plan remains under wraps, and Israel appears headed for its third round of elections this year.
The plan also is facing rejection by Palestinian officials, who object to the pro-Israel leanings of the Trump administration.