Legislative Round-up: May 17, 2019

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived

  1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
  2. SFOPS season starts - House text/report/markups
  3. Hearings
  4. On the Record

NOTE: Congress continues (reportedly) to wrestle with a “fix” for ATCA but related life goes on - as seen notably this week in 2 distinct developments: (1) As noted in yesterday’s summary of the House FY2020 SFOPS, House appropriators appear to have come up with an elegant workaround for ATCA, by funding Palestinian humanitarian needs via accounts not sanctioned under ATCA. Given the insistence of ATCA supporters that ATCA was never intended to prevent such funding, perhaps this approach will be allowed to go forward. And (2) On 5/17 Grassley (R-IA), who was the moving force behind ATCA, put a hold on the Trump Administration’s nominee for Ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield. He explained in a floor speech his reason: “...the State Department's, through Ambassador Satterfield, consistent efforts to protect the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization from liability and thereby undermine the rights of American victims of Palestinian terrorism. This stands in sharp contrast to the intent of Congress.” Read the full statement to get a full sense of Grassley’s determination to see ATCA’s core purpose - enabling US citizens to sue the PLO and PA out of existence - be implemented.

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters

(TRYING – AGAIN – TO FORCE VOTE ON ANTI-FREE SPEECH BILL) H. Res. 348: On 5/15, a motion was filed to discharge the Committee on Rules from the consideration of H. Res. 348 a resolution providing for consideration of H.R. 336 (A discharge petition requires 218 signatures for further action; this discharge petition has 177). As reported previously in the Round-Up, on 5/2 Zeldin (R-NY) and Kustoff (R-TN) introduced H. Res. 348, “Providing for the consideration of the bill (H.R. 336) to make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to Israel, to reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other purposes.” As previously explained, this resolution is another attempt by Zeldin and Kustoff to force House leaders to allow a vote on HR 336, which is the House version of S. 1 – the bill that caused much ado in the Senate back in January. Both bills are a grab-bag of Mideast-related measures, including the Combating BDS Act (CBA), a bill that seeks to offer political cover and encouragement for U.S. states to pass brazenly unconstitutional laws compelling people and businesses to affirmatively give up their right to political free speech with respect to criticizing Israel as a condition for doing business with the state. For full background on this effort, see the 5/3/19 edition of the Round-Up. For GOP grandstanding on the issue, see Section 3, below.

(TRYING – AGAIN – TO FORCE VOTE ON ANTI-FREE SPEECH BILL) H.R. 336: On 5/15, Cole (R-OK), during floor consideration of the Rule governing debate on H. Res. 377, a rule providing for debate on “(H.R. 5) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 312) to reaffirm the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reservation, and for other purposes; and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 987) to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide for Federal Exchange outreach and educational activities, sought to amend the rule to force a vote on HR. 333 [“if we defeat the previous question, I will offer an amendment to

the rule to immediately bring up H.R. 336, the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019. This bill includes four titles, three of which passed the House last Congress, and one of which has already passed the House this Congress on suspension. My amendment will also include three additional provisions agreed to by the Senate when they considered their version of this bill, so that what we will debate will be identical to what the Senate passed with an overwhelming majority vote in February. The most critical title of H.R. 336, in my opinion, is the Combating BDS Act of 2019, which will allow a State or local government to adopt measures to divest assets from entities using boycotts, disbursements, or sanctions to influence Israel's policy. Madam Speaker, yesterday was the 71st anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. I can think of no better way to celebrate Israel's independence, reaffirm our support for Israel, and indicate our ongoing  commitment to a peaceful and more secure Middle East than to consider and pass H.R. 336 immediately.”] The motion passed and the Cole’s effort (at least for now) ended there.

(PRESSURE MOUNTING TO MOVE RES BASHING BOYCOTTS) H. Res. 246: This is the anti-BDS resolution introduced during the AIPAC policy conference, bashing BDS, delegitimizing boycotts of both Israel and settlements, etc. The resolution does not including any binding provisions that would make the resolution itself unconstitutional but clearly it is intended, once passed, to serve as a bipartisan foundation on which to place binding legislation (I wrote about this in detail in the 3/29/19 edition of the Round-Up). Back on 3/29 the resolution had 77 cosponsors (almost 50/50 Democrat/Republican). As of 5/15, it has 258 cosponsors (139 Dems, 119 GOP). In parallel to pressure to move HR 336 (the companion of S. 1), pressure is ramping up in the House to move H. Res. 246 (in part under the certainly mistaken belief/forlorn hope that doing so will lessen pressure to pass HR 336; members of Congress who believe that have clearly forgotten the lesson most kids learn early on in life, on school playgrounds or in school hallways - if you give in to a bully, it doesn’t make them go away, it makes them bully you more. Pressure to move the Senate version appears to be relatively light-to-absent, probably because the Senate already passed the far weightier (and politically more valuable for the GOP) S. 1. NOTE: Beware of media reports talking about BDS-related legislation -- reporters are regularly mixing up the Combating BDS Act (which is included in S. 1 and HR 336) with the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (which hasn’t yet been reintroduced in 2019 in either the House or Senate) and the BDS resolutions introduced during AIPAC.

(3 BIPARTISAN CHEERS FOR ISRAELI AMERICANS!) H. Res. 376: Introduced 5/10 by Zeldin (R-NY), Meng(D-NY), Wilson(R-SC), and Rose(D-NY), “Recognizing Israeli-American heritage and the contributions of the Israeli-American community to the United States.” Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

(HELP AMERICANS SUE IRAN FOR TERROR) S. 1529 & HR 2790: Introduced 5/16 in the Senate by Cotton (R-AR) and 8 bipartisan cosponsors, and in the House by Pence (R-IN) and Gallego (D-AZ), “A bill to make additional financial assets of the Government of Iran available to pay compensatory damages to the victims of terrorism sponsored by that Government, and for other purposes.” In the Senate, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations; in the House referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Cotton et al press release is here (pdf of Senate bill text is here). The press release states: “This legislation amends the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to allow the families of the Marine Barracks bombing victims to execute on $1.68 billion in Iranian funds currently held by Clearstream, a Luxembourg-based firm.” My (non-lawyer’s) reading of the bill is that it is a bipartisan, bicameral effort to re-write the rules governing the authority of U.S. domestic courts outside of the US - in effect giving a U.S. court extraterritorial authority to seize Iranian assets pursuant to a judgement of that same court, by (a) declaring as fair game Iranian assets that are located outside of the US and held or moved by actors that have no US footprint that could be used to establish personal jurisdiction; and (b) making it U.S. law that said court has personal jurisdiction over foreign entities by virtue of said entities engaging with Iran relative to the movement/holding of these assets. Hopefully Iran experts and international law authorities will weigh in regarding the implications of Congress seeking to legislate this rather extraordinary extraterritorial reach for U.S. courts (the kind of reach that the U.S. would certainly reject if foreign courts tried to do it to U.S. businesses or individuals).

(WE *HEART* IRANIAN PEOPLE, esp if they want to change the regime) H. Res. 374: Introduced 5/10 by McClintock (R-CA), “Condemning Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and expressing support for the Iranian people's desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.” The final resolved clause states that Congress “recognizes the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(NO WAR ON IRAN W/O PERMISSION) H .J. Res. 58: Introduced 5/15 by Moulton (D-MA) and no cosponsors, “Requiring congressional approval prior to engaging in hostilities within the sovereign country of Iran.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(UM, TURKEY, CAN WE TALK?) H. Res. 372: Introduced 5/10 by Engel (D-NY) and 7 bipartisan cosponsors, “Expressing concern for the United States-Turkey alliance.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, Oversight and Reform, Ways and Means, and the Judiciary. Hoyer (D-MD) press release is here.

(DISAPPROVING OF ARMS SALES TO BAHRAIN) S. J. Res. 20: Introduced 5/13 by Paul (R-KY) and no cosponsors, “A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the proposed sale to the Government of Bahrain of certain defense articles and services.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

(DISAPPROVING OF ARMS SALES TO BAHRAIN) S. J. Res. 22: Introduced 5/14 by Paul (R-KY) and no cosponsors, “A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the proposed sale to the Government of Bahrain of certain defense articles and services.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

(DISAPPROVING OF ARMS SALES TO UAE) S. J. Res. 25: Introduced 5/14 by Paul (R-KY) and no cosponsors, “A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the proposed sale to the Government of the United Arab Emirates of certain defense articles and services.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

(DISAPPROVING OF ARMS SALES TO QATAR) S. J. Res. 26: Introduced 5/14 by Paul (R-KY) and no cosponsors, “A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the proposed sale to the Government of Qatar of certain defense articles and services.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.



(CHALLENGING POLITICIZATION OF INTELL RE: FOREIGN THREATS, ESP IRAN: Engel-Smith-Schiff letter: On 5/16 Reps. Engel (D-NY), Smith (D-WA), and Schiff (D-CA) -- chairs of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and House Intelligence Committees, respectively -- sent a letter to SecState Pompeo expressing deep concerns over reporting that the 2019 State Department Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, which the State Department submitted to Congress on April 15, “may have been the product of political appointees disregarding intelligence or distorting its meaning in order to potentially ‘lay the groundwork to justify military action’ against countries mentioned in the report.” The letter notes that “It is further reported that that attempts to politicize the U.S. Intelligence Community’s normally objective assessments of Iran and others’ adherence to international obligations led to intense disagreements within the Department and the interagency Our nation knows all too well the perils of ignoring and ‘cherry-picking’ intelligence in foreign policy and national security decisions, as evidenced by a prior White House’s disregard of the intelligence community’s analysis on Iraq and its selective use of Iraq-related intelligence to justify the march to war in 2003.” Press release is here.

(ADDRESS ATTACKS IN NW SYRIA) Boyle-Kinzinger et al letter: On 5/16, Reps. Boyle (D-PA) and Kinzinger (D-IL) led a group of 32 Members of Congress in a letter to President Trump urging immediate action to preserve the cease-fire in Northwest Syria. Press release is here.

(WORRIES ABOUT GROWING CONFRONTATION WITH IRAN) Senators letter to Trump: On 5/16, Sens. Van Hollen (D-MD), Sanders (I-VT), Markey (D-MA) and Merkley (D-OR) sent a letter to President Trump noting they are “deeply concerned by your administration’s growing confrontation with Iran. The blunt use of sanctions and military posturing following the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) risks unwinding all constraints on Iran’s nuclear program, putting it once again on the path towards a nuclear weapons capability.” The letter also notes that the US “has grown increasingly isolated from its allies and international partners, while raising the specter of another military conflict in the Middle East. Designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, boosting the deployment of military assets to the Persian Gulf, and mischaracterizing the Iranian threat have escalated tensions to a dangerous level.” The letter closes with a list of questions for President Trump: “1. How will sanctioning nonproliferation projects in Iran that are under close monitoring by the IAEA enable the administration to fulfill its nonproliferation objectives? 2. What is the administration’s plan to constrain Iran’s nuclear program if the limits under the JCPOA are terminated? 3. What progress has the administration made on each of the 12 objectives Secretary of State Pompeo announced for the administration’s “New Iran Strategy” on May 21, 2018?” Press release is here.

(TARGETING FORMER SECSTATE KERRY FOR KNOWING IRANIANS & SUPPORTING JCPOA) Rubio letter: On 5/13, Sen. Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Attorney General Barr urging the Department of Justice to investigate whether former Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s actions since leaving office related to the Iran nuclear deal violate the Logan Act or the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This is a follow-up to his Sept 2018 letter to AG Sessions making the case that Kerry’s contacts with Iranians and his efforts since he left his post as Secretary of State to make the case for saving the JCPOA constitute a violation of U.S. law (the Logan Act and FARA). This year’s press release is here.


2. SFOPS season starts - House text/report/mark-ups

As reported in last week’s Round-Up, on 5/10 the House Appropriations Committee marked up the draft FY2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill. Video is here. Bill text is here; press release is here. On 5/15, the committee released the Report that accompanies the draft FY2020 SFOPS text, in which the Committee lays out extensive explanatory language, conditions, and other directives.

For the sake of not sending out a 50-page Round-Up, you can find details and analysis of Mideast elements of the FY20 SFOPS bill/Report (House) here.

On 5/16, the full Appropriations Committee held its mark-up of the bill. During that mark-up, no amendments were made to Middle East-related provisions, other than in the Managers’ package, which included an amendment to the Report to add language stating: “UN Annual Report - The Committee directs that the Secretary of State continue to comply with the directives contained in the paragraph headed ‘Report’ that appears under this heading in title I of House Report 115-829.” That opaque reference adds to the FY2020 SFOPS language under which the State Department is empowered/directed to report on and penalize “anti-Israel activities.”

Specifically, the para from House Report 115-829 reads:

The Committee remains concerned with continued anti-Israel bias at the UN and strongly endorses the Department of State's withholding of a proportionate share of the costs to such UN entities deemed to be anti-Israeli. Pursuant to Public Law 98-164, as amended, the Committee notes that in fiscal year 2017 the Secretary of State withheld funding to the following: the Division for Palestinian Rights in the Department of Political Affairs; the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. The Committee supports this action and directs the Department to include a description of any anti-Israel activities of these entities in the annual report submitted pursuant to section 4(a) of Public Law 79-264 on United States participation in the UN.


3. Hearings

6/12: The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to mark-up the FY2020 NDAA.

5/22 (& 5/23, if necessary): The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a CLOSED
mark-up of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA).

5/22: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting to deal with a number of pieces of pending legislation, including HR 31, Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (with an amendment).

5/15: The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled, “Assessing the Use of Sanctions in Addressing National Security and Foreign Policy Challenges.” Witnesses were: David Mortlock, Atlantic Council (testimony); Michael Carpenter, Univ of Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, (testimony); Elizabeth Rosenberg, CNAS (testimony); Daleep Singh, CNAS (testimony); and Matthew Zweig, FDD (testimony). Video here; committee memo here.

5/15: The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a closed briefing entitled, “Iran Update.” No information was published regarding who the briefer was.

5/15: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing entitled, “The Conflict in Libya.” Witnesses were: Benjamin Fishman, WINEP (testimony); Megan Doherty, Mercy Corps (testimony); Frederic Wehrey, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (testimony); Thomas Hill, USIP (testimony). Video is here.


4. On the Record

[Note: It feels like every member of both the House and Senate spoke out this week on Iran - with some, like Cotton (R-AR) making the case for war, and many others (from both parties) warning of reckless actions and dangerous escalation. Given the sheer number of statements, the Round-Up isn’t going to cover what every member said. If you want to know what specific elected officials said, check their websites or search on Twitter. That said, for sheer irony/sarcasm, the highlight of the week was this 5/16 Twitter exchange between Sen. Murphy (D-CT) and Sen. Schatz (D-HI):

  • Commenting on a tweet reporting that “Trump told aides including his defense secretary that he doesn’t want tensions with Iran to lead to war, and instead expressed interest in a negotiated solution—even if that means speaking to the Iranians directly.”
  • Smith tweeted, “I have no words…”
  • Schatz, “He should probably put together a global coalition that forces Iran to the table, and negotiate a deal that ends Iran’s nuclear program, complete with comprehensive inspections from the IAEA.”
  • Murphy: “But I would want that deal to force them to shut down their path to a plutonium bomb, end weapons grade enrichment, get rid of their uranium stockpile, and also the inspectors would need to go anywhere, even military sites if needed. But all that’s not possible, right?”
  • Schatz: “That seems like a reach, but man that would be an enormous diplomatic achievement. It would make Israel, the region, and the world safer.”
  • Murphy: “Brian, I just did some quick online research and I have BIG NEWS.”
  • Schatz: You are starting a podcast?
  • Murphy: That’s a brilliant idea. But no. Apparently we HAD an agreement that did all those things (I know!) and Trump tore it up, and then did a whole bunch more stuff that his military advisors told him might lead to war. Anyway, sometimes the internet is wrong but that’s what I found
  • Schatz: I will look into this. See you Monday.


BDS - The Gift that Keeps on Giving to the GOP

(As has been previously noted in the Round-Up, the GOP has seized on BDS as an extraordinarily effective tool to turn both Israel and anti-Semitism into weapons to be used, over and over, against Democrats, and as tools to get Democrats to fight amongst themselves. Unless/until Democrats find the backbone to stand up to this cynical manipulation and to defend not just the constitutionality but the legitimacy of political free speech challenging Israel and settlements, BDS promises to be the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP -- as demonstrated both by the number of statements this week and the content/tenor of what these GOP members are saying -- and it is worth recalling that all of this comes in the wake of 2 synagogue attacks in the US in 2 months, both committed NOT by BDS supporters/critics of Israel, but by anti-Semitic white supremacists).

McCarthy (R-CA) 5/17: “Anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate is on the rise not just in our communities, but here in the halls of Congress. The Senate took bipartisan action against the toxic BDS movement. The House should do the same.” [set to nifty video]

Brooks (R-AL) 5/17: “Socialist Democrats refuse to vote on H.R. 336, a bill to thwart the anti-Semitic, Palestinian-led ‘boycott, divestment, & sanctions’ movement against Israel. As a strong supporter of Israel, I signed the discharge petition to force a vote on H.R. 336.”

Rogers (R-AL) 5/16: “Recently in the halls of Congress, it’s become a much too common practice for some Democrats to spew hatred and anti-Semitism. From Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Representative Rashida Tlaib to Representative Illhan Omar, their words cut deeply.  Their spreading of anti-Semitism is harmful to all Americans.On the world stage, we have also seen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement gaining traction and trying to hurt Israel. The BDS movement is cover for some of the world’s worst anti-Semites.  The movement is ultimately devoted to the destruction of the state of Israel. I am a strong supporter of Israel. Not only is Israel fundamental to my Christian faith, it is one of our greatest allies. This week, to show my support, I, along with my Republican colleagues, signed a Discharge Petition to bring legislation to the House Floor for a vote.  If the Discharge Petition gets 218 signatures, H.R. 336, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, can be brought to the House Floor for a vote. The legislation reaffirms the United States’ commitment to Israel and against the BDS movement. Months ago, the Senate passed similar anti-BDS legislation with some Democrat support.  Meanwhile in the House of Representatives, the legislation has been collecting dust on Nancy Pelosi’s desk because of some of the Members of her party who have been outspoken critics of Israel. There is no place in Congress or America for this type of hatred. It is vile and repugnant. It must be condemned. I have been very disappointed in the Democrat leadership for not condemning this type of behavior and for not standing up for Israel.  I hope we can bring this vote to the Floor and show the world that we are standing up for and standing with Israel.

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/15: Rep. Zeldin and House Republican Colleagues File Discharge Petition on Anti-BDS Package (with video)

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/15: Floor rant bashing Dems, Nancy Pelosi, Rashida Tlaib, etc for BDS, anti-Semitism, etc [“this Chamber is going in the wrong direction in the effort to combat the BDS movement, to combat anti-Israel hate, to combat anti-Semitism…”] (Well worth reading in full to get a understanding of the hate and fanaticism) [video]

Collins (R-GA) 5/15: press release - We Stand with Israel [“I’m calling on Speaker Pelosi and Democrat leadership to join us in taking a stand against anti-Semitism and the BDS movement, and to support Congress in sending a clear message to the world: we stand with Israel.”]

McCaul (R-TX) 5/15: ICYMI: McCaul, House Republicans Call on Democrat Colleagues to Support U.S. Allies in the Middle East, Disavow BDS Movement

Cline (R-VA) 5/15: Rep. Ben Cline Signs Anti-BDS Discharge Petition, Expresses Support for Israel

Hern (R-OK) 5/15: “Earlier this year, the Senate quickly passed legislation against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement with a widely bipartisan vote. In the House, we have since seen anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric grow louder and more prevalent, and Speaker Pelosi refuses to bring HR 336 to the floor for a vote.The BDS movement's only aim is to delegitimize the only Jewish state in the world. As Israel's strongest ally, we must stand up to this threat. Today, I signed a discharge petition to force a vote on HR 336. With a simple majority, we can bring this bill to the floor. More than 30 Democrats voted for the same legislation last Congress, so I look forward to seeing where my colleagues stand when it comes to supporting Israel.

Kustoff (R-TN) 5/15: Kustoff Joins House Republicans to File Discharge Petition on Anti-BDS Package

Olson (R-TX) 5/15: “Israel is one of America’s closest friends, a staunch ally and the only democracy in the Middle East...the BDS movement’s ultimate goal is to exclude, isolate, and delegitimize Israel.  Support for Israel should never be partisan. Sadly anti-Semitic rhetoric has not been fully rejected by House Democrats. I urge all of my colleagues to sign this petition and send a strong message to the world that America rejects this kind of hatred and anti-Semitism.”

Steil (R-WI) 5/15: Steil Signs onto Bill Forcing Vote on Legislation Supporting Israel [“The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement represents a direct economic and political threat to one of America’s most important allies.  Speaker Pelosi should bring this bill to a vote to support Israel”]

Green (R-TN) 5/15: Rep. Mark Green signs discharge petition to force vote on pro-Israel, anti-BDS bill [“The Senate passed a bill to support Israel earlier this year with wide, bipartisan support. But Nancy Pelosi refuses to bring it the floor — instead she lets open anti-Semites like Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib control the U.S. House...Someone has to lead and stand up for our ally Israel. I am proud to stand alongside Republican leaders in the House to condemn the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that seeks to shame and isolate America’s best ally in the Middle East

Brady (R-TX) 5/15: “The BDS movement wages economic war against our friend and ally Israel, as well as all people of Jewish faith. The recent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric coming from some of my Democratic colleagues is not just hateful – it’s inexcusable. We will not stand by while elected officials refuse to denounce these hateful acts.

“That’s why I signed the discharge petition to force a vote on anti-BDS legislation on the House floor. As members of Congress, we have a duty to stand against this type of hate, and fight for what is right.”

Conaway (R-TX) 5/15: Conaway: Republicans Move to Combat Anti-Semitism and Support Israel

House Republican Conference 5/15: “ICYMI HFAC Lead Republican @RepMcCaul and @HouseGOP held a press conference calling on House Democrats to support U.S. allies in the Middle East and take a stand against anti-Semitism & the BDS movement.

Reschenthaler‏ (R-PA) 5/15: “Proud to stand with our great ally Israel in fighting the anti-Semitic BDS movement. It's shameful that House Democrats have refused to take action against this political and economic attack on Israel’s right to exist, despite its bipartisan passage in the Senate, 77-23.”

Rubio (R-FL) 5/15: “Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy: The House must stand against the toxic #BDS movement by passing the bill I passed out of the Senate earlier this year - The Washington Post”

Rubio (R-FL) 5/15: Rubio Urges House Democrats to Take Meaningful Action in Support of Israel

Barr (R-KY) 5/15: “Proud to sign the discharge petition to make Democrats bring the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 up for a vote in the House. We should #StandWithIsrael by voting to condemn the dangerous BDS movement and support our greatest ally in the region.

McConnell (R-KY) 5/15: “A core feature of this anti-Semitic trend is the BDS movement, a political and economic attack on Israel’s right to exist. In February, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that included a counter-BDS provision. Now the House must do the same.

Scalise (R-LA) 5/15: Tweet 1 - “With the alarming rise in anti-Semitism across the country & from some Democrats in Congress, we must take action & stand with Israel against the dangerous BDS movement. Every member should sign the discharge petition to bypass Pelosi & bring anti-BDS legislation up for a vote.” Tweet 2 The Senate took swift action earlier this year against the BDS movement by passing S. 1 in a widely bipartisan vote. But Nancy Pelosi is letting the radically anti-Israel elements of her caucus call the shots and refusing to bring similar anti-BDS legislation to the House Floor.

Green (R-TN) 5/15: tweet 1 - “The Senate passed a bill to support Israel earlier this year with wide, bipartisan support. But @SpeakerPelosi refuses to bring it the floor — instead she lets open anti-Semites like Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib control the U.S. House.” Tweet 2 - “Someone in the House has to lead and stand up for our ally #Israel. I am proud to stand alongside Republican leaders in the House to condemn the BDS movement that seeks to shame and isolate America’s best ally in the Middle East.”

Calvert (R-CA) 5/15: “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. I just signed the discharge petition to force a vote on anti-BDS legislation. A similar bill already passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote. It’s time for the House to act. #StandWithIsrael”

Stefanik (R-NY) 5/15: “I was proud to support Israel & sign the discharge petition to immediately bring the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act to the House floor for a vote. BDS is a dangerous movement aimed at delegitimizing Israel through economic warfare & it must be condemned.”

Brady (R-TX) 5/15: Tweet 1 -  “The recent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric coming from some of my Democratic colleagues is not just hateful – it’s inexcusable. As members of Congress, we have a duty to stand against this type of hate, and fight for what is right. Tweet 2 - “That’s why I just signed the discharge petition to force a vote on legislation to counter the toxic BDS movement. #IStandWithIsrael Important oped from @senatemajldr @GOPLeader to read

Hudson (R-NC) 5/15: “Troubled by the growing anti-Semitism around the world. Today I’ll sign a discharge petition to force floor consideration of H.R. 336, bipartisan legislation to counter the anti-Semitic BDS movement. #StandWithIsrael

McConnell (R-KY) and McCarthy (R-CA) 5/14: WaPo op-ed - The House must stand against the toxic BDS movement


Rashida Tlaib insanity

[NOTE: It should now be clear to everyone that literally anything Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar say, if it any way relates to Israel, is going to be parsed, twisted, taken out of context, or deliberately misunderstood as anti-Semitism. And maybe now folks are finally starting to understand that...time will tell.]

Cruz (R-TX) 5/14: “Cruz: Dems Embracing ‘Extreme Left‘ That ‘Has a Long History of Antisemitism, of Anti-Israel Hatred‘ | Breitbart http://bit.ly/2E8KqwW  via @BreitbartNews”

Cruz (R-TX) 5/14: Tweet 1 - “The Holocaust revisionism of ⁦@RashidaTlaib⁩ is simply FALSE. This article gives the real history. Key excerpt: ‘The Arab leadership was also openly pro-Nazi. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem and a respected figure…’ (link)” Tweet 2 - “‘...in Palestinian circles to this day, met with Hitler & visited German troops. According to the German transcript...the mufti said: ‘An appeal by the Mufti to the Arab countries . . . would produce a great number of volunteers eager to fight.’ (link)

Sanders (I-VT) 5/13: “Mr. President: Stop dividing the American people up by their religion, their race or their country of origin--and stop your ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress. You are taking Rep. @RashidaTlaib's comments out of context and should apologize.”

Pelosi (D-CA) 5/13: “Republicans’ desperate attempts to smear @RepRashida & misrepresent her comments are outrageous. President @realDonaldTrump & House GOP should apologize to Rep. Tlaib & the American people for their gross misrepresentations.”

Hoyer (D-MD) 5/13: “If you read Rep. @RashidaTlaib’s comments, it is clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are taking them out of context. They must stop, and they owe her an apology.”

Escobar (D-TX) 5/13: “It's vital that we speak out against racism and hate. What @RepRashida said was neither. The goal of this ongoing effort to twist the words of minority Democratic women is to marginalize them, deepen our country's divide & distract from what (& who) is truly racist and hateful.

Jayapal (D-WA) 5/13: “Republican leadership is spreading straight-up lies about a Congresswoman in a way that is inciting hate. This isn’t just incredibly disrespectful– it’s dangerous. They should be ashamed. (link)”

Velazquez (D-NY) 5/13: “.@realDonaldTrump & the GOP are attempting to twist the words of my colleague,@RashidaTlaib. Not only is it offensive & disgraceful to play politics with these issues, but it is dangerous. The American people will not fall for this! The President should apologize immediately.

Mast (R-FL) 5/13: “Over the weekend, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tried to rewrite history to make her ‘Palestinian ancestors’ the heroes of the Holocaust and said that the Holocaust gave her a ‘calming feeling.’ When will Speaker Pelosi stop enabling anti-Semitism?

Duncan (R-SC) 5/13: “These comments are disgusting & horrifying, & have absolutely no place in our society. The anti-Semitism coming from some Democrats in Congress is dangerous & should be 100% condemned. (link)”

Scalise (R-LA) 5/12: “"There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance. More than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust; there is nothing 'calming' about that fact. Unfortunately, this is far from the first display of heinous anti-Semitic comments coming from Democrat House members this year, and it’s clear this is now the norm for their caucus. It’s long past time for Speaker Pelosi to take swift action and make it clear that these vile comments have no place in Congress."

Estes (R-KS) 5/13: Tweet 1 - “Anti-Semitism by members of her caucus continues to go unchecked by Speaker Pelosi. On Sunday, a representative said they get a ‘calming feeling’ when thinking of the Holocaust and denied Jewish people’s ancestral claim to Israel. (link)” Tweet 2 - “On Thursday, another representative invited the opening prayer for the U.S. House to be given by an Imam with a history of anti-Semitism, support for the Muslim Brotherhood and calls for violence against Israelis. (link)” Tweet 3 - “I condemn these disgraceful comments and the presence of this divisive figure in the U.S. House. I stand with Americans in denouncing all forms of anti-Semitism and once again call on Speaker Pelosi to urge members of her caucus to do the same.”  

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/13: “Answering a ? re her push for a 1 state solution removing Jews from power in Israel, Tlaib said thinking about the Holocaust gives her “a calming feeling” bc of a “safe haven” Palestinians provided to Jews. It’s a sick take & rewrite of history. The proposal is horribly wrong too

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/12; “.@RashidaTlaib says the Holocaust gives her “a calming feeling” calling for a 1 state solution putting Jews in the minority & out of power of their own country. This is a heart filled w darkness & how the Holocaust began in 1st place. Listen @ 28 min mark.

Cheney (R-WY) 5/12; “Surely now @SpeakerPelosi⁩ & ⁦@LeaderHoyer⁩ will finally take action against vile anti-Semitism in their ranks. This must cross the line, even for them. Rashida Tlaib says thinking of the Holocaust provides her a ‘calming feeling’”


Celebrating 1 year of US Embassy in Jerusalem

[Note: most of these comments were made on Twitter, which offers a fun opportunity to see how the Twitterverse - constituents and non-constituents - feel about the move - check out, for example, replies to tweets from Rubio (R-FL),  Inhofe (R-OK) and Perdue (R-GA).]

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/14: In honor of 1 year anniversary of the embassy opening, Zeldin entered into the Congressional Record an op-ed by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, published in Israel Hayom (the Israeli newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson), entitled, “A year after opening the Jerusalem embassy: On the right side of history

Rubio (R-FL) 5/14: “One year ago today the U.S. began a new era in our relationship with #Israel by moving our embassy to #Jerusalem Here is my message from one year ago today: link

Crenshaw (R-TX) 5/14: “A year ago today, we opened the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. It’s great to see the Trump administration following through with its promise of treating Israel as we treat every other country by placing our embassy in their national capital.” [with link to David Friedman op-ed in Adelson-owned Israel Hayom)

Inhofe (R-OK) 5/14: “The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem opened one yr ago today—a move made possible by my past bill. Proud of our relationship over the years & @realDonaldTrump and @netanyahu's continued efforts to build on these strong ties. Israel will always find a strong ally in America #PromisesKept

Perdue (R-GA) 5/14: Tweet 1: “Today marks the one-year anniversary of our embassy opening in Jerusalem. Since President @realDonaldTrump took office, we have reestablished America's support for our friend and ally, Israel. Tweet 2: “We've withdrawn from the dangerous Iran nuclear deal. We've recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. And yes, we've moved our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after generations of politicians promised to do so but failed to follow through.

Wilson (R-SC) 5/14: Floor statement, “on this day last year, I was grateful to lead nine House colleagues on a congressional delegation to Jerusalem for the opening of the U.S. Embassy.  We had the opportunity to meet with Members of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, and to meet the Knesset Foreign Affairs chairman, Avi Dichter. It was an honor to be welcomed to the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We have a shared priority to stop terrorism and anti-Semitism in both of our countries and around the world. I am confident in the leadership of Israel and know they will do all they can to protect and serve its citizens.  I am thankful for the strong commitment shown to the American-Israeli alliance by President Donald Trump, with promises made and promises kept. Ambassador David Friedman enthusiastically coordinated the Embassy movement, fulfilling a vote of Congress in 1994 to relocate from Tel Aviv to the capital of Jerusalem. In conclusion, God bless our troops, and we will never forget September the 11th in the global war on terrorism.”

Cruz (R-TX) 5/14: Tweet 1 - “Today we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the United States signaling to the world that #Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of #Israel with the opening of our #US Embassy in #Jerusalem.” Tweet 2 - “It was a true honor to witness the historic opening of our new #US Embassy in #Jerusalem in person in #Israel on this day one year ago” (w/ pics incl w/ Joe Lieberman). Tweet 3 - “I have long fought for the United States to recognize #Jerusalem as the rightful capital of #Israel and move its embassy there and am grateful for @realDonaldTrump's leadership in making this historic move.

House Republican Conference 5/14: “One year ago today, the United States embassy opened in Jerusalem, the rightful capital of Israel. Join us in celebrating this landmark move thanks to President Trump's leadership!

Kustoff (R-TN) 5/14: “Today marks an important day for our greatest ally Israel. After years of talk and no action from previous administrations, last year, @realDonaldTrump kept his promise and moved the United States embassy to Jerusalem. Today is a day that should be celebrated for years to come.

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/14: “1 year ago, the US Embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem. It was an honor to attend in person. Beyond fulfilling US law & pledges made of past presidents, it was the right thing to do. Jerusalem should be forever known as the unquestionable capital of the Jewish state of Israel.”

Miller (R-WV) 5/14: “Today marks one year since the US Embassy in Israel moved to its rightful place - Jerusalem. Thank you @POTUS for your continued support for one of our most important allies.

Schweikert (R-AZ) 5/14: “One year ago today, The U.S. Embassy moved to it's rightful place in Jerusalem. This recognition of Israel's capitol was another symbol of our continued support for our friend and ally, Israel. #PromisesMadePromisesKept”

McCarthy (R-CA) 5/14: “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And one year ago today, the United States officially acknowledged that fact by moving our embassy there. Thanks to @POTUS and @VP, our commitment to Israel is stronger than ever.

Biggs (R-AZ) 5/14: Tweet 1 Several American Presidents promised to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; @POTUS @realDonaldTrump courageously fulfilled that promise one year ago today. Throughout his administration, President Trump has proven himself a constant friend of our Middle Eastern ally.” Tweet 2 I am thankful that the embassy transition was relatively peaceful, and I pray for lasting peace in the Middle East. The United States of America stands with our enduring ally Israel.” [Reminder: NYT headline from May 14, 2018, “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem”; Haaretz headline one day later: Jerusalem Embassy and Gaza Protests: 59 Palestinians Killed by Israeli Gunfire at Border (and over 770 wounded from live gunfire)]

Rice (R-SC) 5/14: “President Clinton promised. President Bush promised. President Obama promised. But @realDonaldTrump delivered! 1 year ago today I attended the opening of the US Embassy in Israel's rightful capital, Jerusalem. Last year's Jerusalem's Post says it all... #PromisesMadePromisesKept”

Scalise (R-LA) 5/14: “After years of broken promises, @realDonaldTrump was the first president to boldly follow through on his commitment to our greatest ally in the Middle East by finally moving America’s embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s rightful capital, one year ago today. #PromisesMadePromisesKept”

Blackburn (R-TN) 5/14: “One year ago today, @realdonaldtrump moved our embassy in Israel - our best partner and ally in the Middle East - to Jerusalem! For over 20 years, other presidents made promises, but President Trump got the job done. #promisesmade #promiseskept Tweet 2: “Take a look back at why our embassy’s move to Jerusalem is an important symbol of our support for Israel: link to op-ed she published on Fox News May 15, 2018, “US Embassy move to Jerusalem signals that America stands with Israel

Huizenga (R-MI) 5/14: FB post, “Now more than ever it is important to remember our strong relationship and partnership with Israel. It was one year ago today that we reaffirmed our commitment to our most important ally in the Middle East.”


Other stuff

Grothman (R-WI) 5/15: Belated statement on Gaza

Hill (R-AR) 5/15: Op-ed in the Washington Examiner, “A sidelined America limits already difficult options in Syria tweet

McCollum (D-MN) 5/13: 26 Advocacy and Faith-based Groups Supporting McCollum Legislation Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation

Hagedorn (R-MN) 5/14: “Thanks to MN @AIPAC for inviting me to attend last night's annual event in Minneapolis. Huge turnout to support US-Israel relations and hear from former Canadian Prime Minister @StephenHarper. Special thanks to @RealBillyGrant for inviting me to sit at his table. -JH

LaMalfa (R-CA) 5/10: President Trump Stands with Israel

Hunter (R-CA) 5/10: Condemn antisemitic violence

Zeldin (R-NY) 5/10: Rep. Zeldin Statement on Speaker Pelosi’s Invite for Omar Suleiman to Give Opening Prayer Yesterday on House Floor

House Republican Conference 5/9: House Democrats Select Muslim Brotherhood Sympathizer To Deliver Invocation