(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Eric Cantor—the Virginia representative and House minority whip who is likely the most powerful Jewish Republican politician in the country—addressed over 4,000 members of Christians United for Israel at the evangelical Zionist group’s fourth annual convention in Washington today. The ten-minute speech emphasized Israel’s status as “America’s steady ally—our only reliable ally—and one true friend in the Middle East” and catalogued the threats Israel faces from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. Cantor argued that the “real stumbling block to peace” is not the settlement or refugee questions but rather “those who vehemently deny the Nation of Israel’s historical right to the land of Zion.” Most notably, Cantor declared: “Reaching out to the Muslim world can help aid in creating an environment for peace in the Middle East. But we must insist, as Americans, that our policies be grounded in the beliefs of the Judeo-Christian traditions.” Though President Barack Obama was not mentioned in the speech, it is very likely that Cantor intended the lines to stand in subtle contrast to Obama’s Cairo speech in June. Tomorrow, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the conference via satellite. Among the other speakers will be Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and Pastor John Hagee, the group’s national chairman.

Cantor: Set Mideast policies in ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition [JTA]
Related: Previously Love Thy Neighbor [Tablet]