Pence Sets U.S.-Israel Goals Vice President Pence adressing AIPAC's annual Policy Conference in March 2017. Photo: Ron Kampeas/JTA

March 26, 2017

Two months after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence lays out the administration’s goals for the U.S.-Israel relationship during a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual Policy Conference.

Pence reiterates the administration’s commitment to a strong relationship with Israel and repeats several of Trump’s campaign promises. He speaks of a desire to reduce U.N. bias against Israel through the work of Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, the intention to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the efforts of Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to develop an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Haley frequently speaks up for Israel at the United Nations during her nearly two years as ambassador, and the administration withdraws the United States from UNESCO and the U.N. Human Rights Council over anti-Israel bias. But the Human Rights Council maintains a standing agenda item on Israel, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights angers Israel and its supporters by publishing a list of companies doing business on the West Bank on Feb. 12, 2020.

Unlike several previous administrations, Trump follows through on his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He announces U.S. recognition of Jerusalem, with undefined borders, as the undivided capital of Israel on Dec. 6, 2017, and opens the embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, coinciding with Israel’s 70th birthday.

Trump releases his much-discussed, long-delayed peace plan for Israel and Palestinians on Jan. 28, 2020. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embraces the plan, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejects it.

Pence also tells AIPAC how Trump will restrain Iran and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Trump withdraws from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and Iran responds by openly taking a series of actions barred under the deal.