“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3)
The relationship between the United States and Israel spans generations in both countries. It transcends the political parties: Republicans and Democrats in America, and Likud, Labor and Kadima in Israel. Ever since President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel just 11 minutes after the British mandate expired, our two nations have become inseparable, and our continued friendship is sine qua non of America’s foreign policy.
Israel’s Capital is Jerusalem
Jerusalem is the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. But this must be more than a talking point for political leaders in either nation. To make this a reality, the United States must move its embassy from Tel Aviv.
Public Law 104-45 (the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995) states, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” As a Member of Congress, I will commit to amending P.L. 104-45 to remove the presidential waiver authority under Section 7 and requiring the establishment of an American Embassy in Jerusalem by April 18, 2017.
The Peace Process
For many years, Israel has shown that it is ready for peace. Sadly, there has not been a willing partner to make peace with Israel. While the “end-of-an-administration” efforts to impose yet another peace settlement on Israel and its neighbors make for a good photo opportunity, the best way to bolster the peace process is to demonstrate America’s continuing support for Israel by speaking out against the false arguments that the Jewish people are not entitled to the historic land of Israel, speaking out in support for Israel’s right to defend herself, and standing against international organizations that might pressure Israel into an agreement that is not in its security interests.
Furthermore, America must press the Palestinians to participate in high-level, direct talks with Israel without any preconditions and without distractions like appealing to the United Nations in order to delay the process. As a Member of Congress I will support legislation reducing aid to the Palestinian Authority if its delays persist.
Red Lines and A Nuclear Iran
There is no denying Iran’s nuclear ambitions or its former president’s declaration that Israel should be wiped off the map. At the same time Iran was negotiating the Joint Plan of Action in Geneva last November, Iranian technicians were visiting North Korea as part of a joint-development program for an ICBM-like launcher.
There is no way Israel or the United States can accept a nuclear Iran. It would pose an immediate threat to Israel and all Americans in the region. It will also allow Iran’s surrogate groups a new weapon with which to terrorize the world. We must stand steadfast in opposition to Iranian nuclear capability; furthermore, we must ensure Iran is prevented from even having the capacity to make such a weapon. No final agreement with Iran should allow it to maintain any sort of uranium enrichment capacity (including centrifuges) or heavy water reactor, and must require a stringent inspection regime.
President Obama’s actions in the light of Syria’s 2013 chemical weapons attacks have made things more dangerous for Israel. Simply put, the lack of resolve regarding the “red line” imposed on Syria has emboldened Iran and its nuclear efforts.
I oppose any efforts to lift sanctions on Iran while it is still pursuing its nuclear program. In this year’s State of the Union address, the President said he would “be the first to call for more sanctions” if Iran failed to negotiate a final agreement. I believe Congress should pass appropriate legislation now to give the President the power to impose additional sanctions if no final agreement is reached.
Any Palestinian effort to change its status should be via direct, high-level talks with Israel and not via the United Nations General Assembly or other UN organizations.
As a Member of Congress I will support efforts to withhold UN funding or PA aid in response to any move to recognize or legitimize a Palestinian state outside of the context of direct talks. Furthermore, I would support congressional action that would press other regional nations to normalize relations with Israel.
Additionally, as a Member of Congress, I will publicly urge the administration to veto any anti-Israel resolution brought before the UN Security Council, to fight against anti-Israel efforts in the UN General Assembly, and to strongly support Israel joining the Security Council.
In the 25 years since the United States and Israel entered in to a Free Trade Agreement, trade between our countries has grown 500%. The daily $78 million in trade creates jobs in both countries. American tech firms are flocking to Israel to set up their international headquarters for research and development.
I strongly oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement propagated by Palestinians against Israel. BDS is simply another effort to make Israel illegitimate on the world stage. I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent remarks to AIPAC that “BDS sets back peace because it hardens Palestinian positions and it makes mutual compromise less likely.”
In light of the effort to harm Israel through the BDS movement, I would support efforts to strengthen the US-Israel FTA in a manner that mutually benefits each nation.
Continued Aid for Israel
Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig once said, “Israel is the largest American carrier in the world that cannot be sunk.” Israel is America’s one stable, democratic ally in the Middle East and our financial support gives Israel the needed resources to remain a functioning democracy governed by the rule of law in a region full of authoritarian governments.
The military aid we offer illustrates to the world the nature of our special relationship with Israel, and how we stand together in the face of those aligned against us. America’s assistance has resulted in Israel maintaining a military edge over those in the region. It has also enabled Israel to make the daily decisions required to maintain security, and has sent the message to adversaries that our relationship is immutable.
Our unwavering commitment to Israel was further cemented in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding where America pledged $30 billion in aid over a ten-year period. As a Member of Congress, I will strongly support this important covenant and ensure that our budget has the appropriate funding to meet the obligations of the MOU. Because of the mutual benefit to both countries, I will work to insure that Israel is the top priority in U.S. foreign aid funding.
In 2011, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren wrote: “What is the definition of an American ally? On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America's values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people's beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the United States through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision. From its location at one strategic crossroads, an ally enhances American intelligence and defense capabilities, and provides ports and training for U.S. forces. Its army is formidable and unequivocally loyal to its democratic government. An ally helps secure America's borders and assists in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation.”
America and Israel share many common traits, including the fact that we were both founded by those seeking religious freedom, had to fight for our independence, welcomed immigrants seeking better lives, and created democracies governed by the rule of law and the will of our people.
Being two of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, our mutual partnership is an economically beneficial one, as well as militarily. I am a strong supporter of the recently signed agreement that continues production of the Iron Dome weapons system that includes development opportunities for American industry.
Israel is a global leader in the innovation of advanced homeland security and counterterrorism techniques. America has benefitted from Israel’s sharing of this important cutting-edge information. Additionally, the mutual training of American and Israeli military forces has enhanced the capabilities of both nations against regional threats. As a Member of Congress, I will support ways to expand military and intelligence cooperation between our countries. I would further support programs to increase the training of American law-enforcement and first responders by their Israeli counterparts in order to better protect the American citizens they serve.
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