Legislative Round-Up - July 24, 2020

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters
2. FY21 SFOPS — House
3. FY21 NDAA – House
4. FY21 NDAA – Senate
5. FY21 Defense Approps – House
6. Hearings & Markups
7. On the Record

*Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!

1. Bills, Resolutions, & Letters

(CONDEMNING ASSAD REGIME WAR CRIMES) H. Res. 1061: Introduced 7/22 by Chabot (R-OH), “Condemning war crimes committed in Idlib, Syria, by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and its backers and calling for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(IRAQ-US TIES ARE GREAT!) H. Res.1062: Introduced 7/23 by Allred (D-TX) and Reschenthaler (R-PA), “Affirming the nature and importance of the United States-Iraq bilateral relationship, including security and economic components of the relationship.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs & the Committee on Ways and Means.


(THANKS YOU FOR OPPOSING ANNEXATION) Israel Ex-officials to House members: On 7/20, 41 Israeli former senior security officials sent a letter to Reps. Schakowsky (D-IL), Schneider (D-IL), Deutch (D-FL) and Price (D-NC), thanking them and fellow House Democrats for their letter to Netanyahu and Gantz – which was signed by 191 House Democrats – opposing annexation. Jewish Inside report on the thank-you letter is here. The letter also implicitly rejects  linking opposition to annexation with conditions on aid to Israel. Schakowsky twitter thread on the letter is here; Price tweet is here.


2. FY21 SFOPS – House

On 7/24, by a vote of 224-198, the House passed HR 7608, an appropriations “minibus” that included FY12 appropriations not only for State & Foreign Operations, but also Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs.

  • For a comprehensive run-down of the Middle East-related provisions in SFOPS portion of the base bill, see the of the Round-Up.
  • As noted in last week’s Round-Up, on 7/13 HR 7608, was officially filed, and In preparation for floor consideration, on 7/15 the House Rules Committee opened the window for the submission of amendments to HR 7068 (due by 1pm on 7/20).
  • All amendments submitted to the bill can be viewed here. See below for a run-down of Middle East-related amendments and how they fared.

Amendments – submitted/voted on

A number of Middle East-related amendment were ruled “in order” and voted on by the House as part of several “en bloc” amendments, listed below (including how they fared)

Included in En Bloc 1 (PASSED by vote of voice vote)

  • Rose (D-NY) – Decreases the Overseas Program account by $500,000 and increases the Diplomatic Policy and Support account by $500,000 for the purpose of increasing the budget for the Office of the Special Envoy To Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
  • Titus (D-NV), Bilirakis (R-FL), Cicilline (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Deutch (D-FL), Schneider (D-IL) – Increases and decreases by $1 million the Diplomatic Programs Office of International Religious Freedom account for the purpose of encouraging the State Department to denounce Turkey for taking formal action to change the status of Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site spiritually significant to people of many faiths and backgrounds, from a museum to a mosque; and to engage with Turkey for the purpose of returning its status to a museum so as to welcome people of all faiths and those who have marveled at its architectural and artistic splendor.

Included in En Bloc 2 (PASSED by vote of 223-194)

  • (ISRAEL) Hastings (D-FL), Increases and decreases $10 million in ESF for programs benefiting the Ethiopian-Israeli community.
  • (MIDEAST SCIENTIFIC COOP) Foster (D-IL), Increases and decreases by $10 million the NADR account to emphasize the need to fund the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications project in order to promote scientific diplomacy and peace in the Middle East.
  • (SAUDI ARABIA/YEMEN) Malinowski (D-NJ), Lieu (D-CA), Khanna (D-CA), Cicilline (D-RI), Dingell (D-MI), Sherman (D-CA), Deutch (D-FL), Prohibits use of Department of State funds to facilitate the transfer or sale of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recognition of the continuing devastation to civilians caused by US-provided weapons in the Yemen conflict.

Included in En Bloc 3 (DEFEATED by vote of 187-230)

  • (LEBANON/SYRIA) Wilson (R-SC) – Ensures that funding to Lebanon is withheld if the Lebanese Armed Forces and Lebanese Internal Security Forces are committing human rights abuses including shooting at Lebanese protesters and helping the Assad regime in Syria with sanctions evasion.
  • (UNRWA) Perry (R-PA) – Prohibits any funds under this Act from being used to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

Amendments – submitted but not considered

In addition, a number of Middle East-related amendments to the FY21 SFOPS were submitted but not ruled in order (meaning not considered). These are worth looking at as well, as they provide a window into ideas that members may well raise again in other contexts:

  • (EGYPT) Omar (D-MN), Requires the Egyptian government to meet the human rights and governance conditions laid out in the committee report before it can receive any of the $1.3 billion appropriated under Foreign Military Financing.
  • (IRAN SANCTIONS) Omar (D-MN), Adds additional reporting requirements on the Iran sanctions program to include impact assessments on the geopolitical, economic, and humanitarian impacts of sanctions.
  • (IRAQ/IRAN) Wilson (R-SC), Prohibits funding to any Iraqi military unit that includes members of any Iranian-backed militia which attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in December 2019.
  • (SAUDI ARABIA) Connolly (D-VA), Prohibits the use of funds for International Military Education and Training for Saudi Arabia.
  • (SYRIA/ASSAD) Wilson, (R-SC), Assures that humanitarian assistance will not be diverted to the Assad Regime by stopping United Nations assistance to government areas in Syria.
  • (SYRIA) Wilson (R-SC), Provides for a report be submitted to Congress on United States humanitarian assistance to United Nations-affiliated organizations in Syria in areas controlled by the Government of Syria.
  • (IRAQ) Wilson (R-SC), Requires that a report on United States security assistance to Iraq is submitted to Congress detailing whether assistance has been provided to members of the Badr Organization. Additionally, the report would include a list of divisions, battalions, and brigades of Iraqi Federal Police and Military of Iraq which include members of the Badr Organization.
  • (IRAN) Wilson (R-SC), Prevents the United States funded international broadcasting from providing an open platform for dictatorial governments China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Syria, as well as those who support those governments.
  • (IRAN/SYRIA) Wilson (R-SC), Adds additional reporting requirements on the Iran sanctions program to include assessments on the human rights impact of lifting such a sanction, to include a description of how lifting such sanctions would lead to human rights abuses against the Iranian people, as well as on resources available to the Assad regime in Syria to commit gross human rights violations.
  • (LEBANON) Johnson (R-LA) Adds additional limitations on funds provided in this Act to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces.
  • (MIDEAST/US UNIVERSITIES) Shalala (D-FL), Provides $60,000,000 in Development Assistance funds to US-chartered universities located in the Middle East to cover costs related to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.


3. FY21 NDAA – House

On 7/21, the House passed HR 6395, its version of the FY21 NDAA by a vote of 295-125. The base text brought to the House floor included significant funding for Israel-US missile cooperation as well as other Israel/Middle East-related  provisions. For full details of Middle East elements included in the base bill, as well as amendments submitted to the Rules Committee, see last week’s edition of the Round-Up. Below is a rundown of how Middle East-related amendments fared.

Amendments – submitted/voted on

A large number of MIddle East-related amendments to HR 6395 were submitted to the Rules Committee. Of these, a small number were ruled “in order” and voted on by the House — mainly as part of several “en bloc” amendments, listed below (including how they fared),

Included in En Bloc 1 (PASSED by vote of 336-71)

  • (ISRAEL) Biggs (R-AZ), “Expresses a sense of Congress about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
  • (IRAN) Crow (D-CO): “Updates the space strategy and assessment requirement to include Iran and North Korea, and adds the Director of National Intelligence as a tasked senior official.
  • (EGYPT) Fortenberry (R-NE) & Ruppersberger (D-MD), (revised) “Expresses a sense of Congress that it is in the best interests of the stability of the region for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to immediately reach a just and equitable agreement regarding the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”
  • (SYRIA/IRAN) Gabbard (D-HI), “Requires the President, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to submit a report to Congress on humanitarian impacts of all bilateral and multilateral economic sanctions imposed on foreign countries.
  • (HAMAS/HEZBOLLAH/ETC) Gottheimer (D-NJ), “Requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to report to Congress on the use of online social media by U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations, and the threat posed to U.S. national security by online radicalization.
  • (YEMEN) Khanna (D-CA), “Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, not later than one year after enactment of this Act.”
  • (YEMEN) Lieu (D-CA), Yoho (R-FL), Malinowski (D-NJ), “Requires the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, to submit a report to Congress on U.S. policy in Yemen, including diplomatic efforts, humanitarian assistance, and civilian protection. Requires GAO to report to Congress on U.S. military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and expresses a Statement of Policy on the conflict.” Press release re: passage is here.

Included in En Bloc 2 (AGREED to by Voice Vote)

  • (TURKEY) Kinzinger (R-IL) & Spanberger (D-VA), “Requires the imposition of sanctions with respect to the Government of Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 air and missile defense system from the Russian Federation.”
  • (IRAQ/SYRIA) Lynch (D-MA) & Hice (R- GA), “Reauthorizes the independent and bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting to ensure greater oversight of U.S. overseas contracting and reconstruction spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other war zones.”
  • (EGYPT) Malinowski (D-NJ), Wagner (R-MO), Trone (D-MD), “Requires the Secretary of State to provide a certification on whether state-sanctioned intimidation and harassment by the Egyptian government against Americans and their families constitutes a ‘pattern of acts of intimidation or harassment,’ which would trigger a suspension of security assistance under section 6 of the Arms Export Control Act.” 
  • (KUWAIT) McGovern (D-MA), Lynch (D-MA), Pressley (D-MA), Keating (D-MA) “Expressed a Sense of Congress relating to payment of amounts owed by Kuwait to about 45 U.S. hospitals and medical institutions since 2018.” 
  • (EGYPT) Reschenthaler (R-PA) & Trone (D-MD), “Authorizes the President to transfer two excess OLIVER HAZARD PERRY class guided missile frigates to the Government of Egypt, upon certifying that certain conditions are met.
  • (EGYPT/SYRIA) Ruiz (D-CA), “Require DOD and VA to expand Burn Pits Registry to include Egypt and Syria.”
  • (IRAN/IRAQ) Steil (R-WI), (revised), “Requires the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the short- and long-term threats posed by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to Iraq and to United States persons and interests.” Steil press release touting passage is here.
  • (SAUDI ARABIA) Zeldin (NY) & Malinowski (D-NJ), “Requires the Department of State to review vetting procedures for diplomatic visas provided for international military educational training programs in annual country strategy reports. Additionally, the amendment requires the GAO to conduct a study on vetting procedures for international students participating in military education and training programs on United States military bases.”

Amendments – submitted but not considered

In addition, a number of Middle East-related amendments to the FY21 NDAA were submitted but not ruled in order (meaning not considered). These are worth looking at as well, as they provide a window into ideas that members may well raise again in other contexts:

  • (IRAN/INSTEX) Steil (R-WI), “Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to apply one or more special measures with respect to a foreign financial institution that conducts a significant transaction with INSTEX, if the transaction facilitates the evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran. Requires consultation with European allies and clear objectives as the basis for a special measure…does not apply to non-sanctionable activities such as humanitarian assistance.”
  • (IRAQ/SYRIA) Deutch (D-FL) & Engel (D-NY), “Expands required reporting on U.S. support to partner forces to include a list of any lethal action taken in support of partner force and the program or funding authority under which such Armed Forces are operating, how such action furthers U.S. national security objectives, and steps taken to ensure partner forces will not engage in human rights abuses.
  • (IRAN) Huizenga (R-MI), “Expresses the sense of the Congress that U.S. citizens’ bank deposits should not be used to finance the Government of Iran, and prohibits the issuing of licenses that authorize U.S. financial institutions to provide financial services to Tehran. Provides for waivers in the case of medical goods, humanitarian assistance, and agricultural commodities, as well as financial services for persons not engaged in sanctionable activities.” Also see Huizenga press release.
  • (AUMF) Biggs (R-AZ), Gaetz (R-FL), Massie (R-KY), “Repeals the Authorization for Use of Military Force enacted in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks; directs the Department of Defense to report to Congress a plan for (1) the orderly withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and (2) political reconciliation and elections in Afghanistan independent of U.S. involvement; and gives members of the U.S. Armed Forces who deployed in support of the Global War on Terror a $2,500 bonus.”
  • (ISRAEL/IRAN) Gottheimer (D-NJ), “Requires a study and report to ensure Israel is prepared for all contingencies if Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon.”
  • (IRAN) Hill (R-AR) Requires the President to submit a report to Congress on the estimated funds held in domestic and international financial institutions by certain Iranian government leaders, unless the funds were acquired through noncorrupt means, as well as a list of financial institutions providing significant financial services to such persons. Provides for certain exemptions and waivers for national interest and law enforcement purposes. Further requires the Department of the Treasury to brief Congress on any illicit or corrupt means employed to acquire or use such funds. These provisions were introduced in the bipartisan Holding Iranian Leaders Accountable Act (H.R. 6081).
  • (AUMF) Slotkin (D-MI) & Gaetz (R-FL), “Requires any future AUMF to sunset after 3 years unless otherwise authorized or renewed
  • (AUMF) Spanberger (D-VA) & 10 bipartisan co-sponsors, “Limits the use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to the countries where U.S. Armed Forces are currently engaged in hostilities under the authorization at the time of enactment of this act.” [likely same as HR 7500]
  • (SAUDI ARABIA) Khanna (D-CA), “Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, not later than one year after enactment of this Act.”
  • (IRAN) Khanna (D-CA), “Expresses the sense of Congress that the use of the Armed Forces against Iran is not authorized by this Act or any other Act.”
  • (EGYPT/SYRIA) Ruiz (D-CA), Hudson (R-NC), Welch (D-VT), Cárdenas (D-CA) “Require DOD and VA to expand Burn Pits Registry to include Egypt and Syria.”
  • (AUMF) Lee (D-CA) Repeals the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
  • (AUMF) Lee (D-CA) Expresses the sense of Congress that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force should be repealed, and details criteria for any potential replacement.”
  • (SAUDI ARABIA/UAE) Malinowski (D-NJ), McGovern (D-MA), Lieu (D-CA), Bera (D-CA), Sherman (D-CA), Deutch (D-FL), Cicilline (D-RI), Khanna (D-CA), Allred (D-TX), Spanberger (D-VA) “Pauses the delivery of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recognition of the continuing devastation to civilians caused by US-provided weapons in the Yemen conflict. This suspension of munitions transfers would prevent further civilian casualties from airstrikes and support UN-led efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict.
  • (SURVEILLANCE TECH) Malinowski (D-NJ) “Uses existing DOC structures to create a review process strengthening U.S.G. oversight of exports of technologies that could be integrated into abusive surveillance architectures. Provides for a systematic response to growing concern over potential misuse of technologies and capabilities exported by US and like-minded countries to countries where it could end up contributing to surveillance regimes that undermine US national security and are used against journalists, religious minorities, political opponents, lawyers, Americans, and activists.
  • (IRAN) Ruiz (D-CA), “Authorizes assistance in the form of training, equipment, supplies, and small-scale military construction to countries bordering the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea to help them deter and combat illegal smuggling and related maritime activity by Iran.”
  • (SURVEILLANCE TECH) Malinowski (D-NJ) & Gallagher (R-WI), “Limits exports of items allowing repressive regimes to run facial recognition algorithms that are tied to databases of pictures of Americans. This provision would require a DOC policy to regulate this type of software, which offers dictators an off-the-shelf capability to instantly identify dissidents, religious leaders, journalists, peaceful activists, American diplomats, and other individuals—as well as their past online and offline activities.”
  • (IRAN) Schakowsky (D-IL), Khanna (D-CA), Castro (D-TX) Prohibits war with Iran absent Congressional authorization.


4. FY21 NDAA – Senate

On 7/23, the Senate passed S. 4049, its version of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act, by a vote of 86-14. 

  • For details of Middle East-related amendments submitted to the bill see the July 3 edition of the Round-Up.
  • As a reminder, major Israel-related amendments were added to the base bill via an Amendment in the nature of a substitute (S, Amdt. 2301), offered 6/29 by SASC Chairman Inhofe (R-OK),  which in effect immediately became the new base text on the floor (as in, from that point forward, amendments dealt with on the floor were amendments to SA 2301, not amendments to S. 4049). That new base bill retained all the Middle East/Israel-related provisions from the version it replaced, but added to them Israel-related provisions offered in the early set of amendments, all of which were apparently considered so non-controversial that SASC leaders from both parties agreed on them being added to the bill without any consideration by the committee or on the floor). All this is, of course, detailed in the 7/3 edition of the Round-Up.
  • On 7/23, S. Amdt. 2301, as amended by various other amendments (none related to the Middle East), was passed by the Senate by a vote of 88-12, paving the way for passage of the final version of the bill.


5. FY21 Defense Approps – House

On 7/20, the House Rules Committee announced that it would deal with HR 7617 – another appropriations minibus, which in this case included the FY21 Defense Approps bill –  the week of July 27, and opened the window for amendments to be submitted for consideration in that meeting, with amendments due by 7/23. Of the amendments submitted to the Rules Committee for the Defense Approps part of the bill,  three related to the Middle East, all from Wilson (R-SC):

  • An amendment that “prohibits US funding from going to the Badr Organization a militia whose leader participated in the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad in December 2019.
  • An amendment that “prohibits taxpayer funding from going to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces which are largely made up of Iranian backed militias.”
  • An amendment that “strikes language repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.”

In addition, an amendment was submitted by Huizenga (R-MI) to the Financial Services & General Government” approps bill (part of the same minibus bill) that “Prohibits funds from being used to authorize financial services for the Iranian government and persons sanctioned for international terrorism and Iranian human rights abuses.”

For details of Middle East/Israel-related provisions in the part of the base text of HR 7617 that is the FY21 Defense Appropriations bill, see last week’s edition of the Round-Up.


6. Hearings & Markups

7/23: The House Foreign Affairs Committee (full) held a hearing entitled, “The Trump Administration’s FY2021 Foreign Assistance Budget Request.”  The sole witness was John Barsa, Acting USAID Administrator. Video of the hearing is here.


7. On the Record...

Members on the Record…

Lamborn (R-CO) 7/24: Op-ed in the Washingon Examiner – “Why is our State Department downplaying Palestinian terrorism?”

Cruz (R-TX) 7/24: Tweet – “Our dependence on #China for life-saving meds & treatments is deeply problematic. That’s why I’m glad the Senate has included my bipartisan bill with @ChrisCoons to expand medical partnerships with our friend & ally Israel, as we work together to develop #coronavirus treatments.”

Rubio (R-FL) 7/23: Tweet (in response to AIPAC press release) – “Senator Rubio, member of the @SenateForeign Committee, was proud to reintroduce the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020 w/ @ChrisCoons. This bill, included in the FY2021 NDAA, strengthens our nation’s important relationship with Israel.”

Deutch (D-FL) 7/23: Tweet – “Thank you Spain for this strong message of support for your Jewish community. @TheIHRA definition clarifies what anti-Semitism looks like today & gives assurance to the community that the gov’t will take these acts of hate seriously. #SpainInTheUSA”

Menendez (D-NJ) 7/22: Tweet – “Let’s be crystal clear—the only country ‘disputing’ these waters is Turkey. These waters belong to Greece, and the State Department must unequivocally and publicly recognize that Turkey alone is responsible for the tension over them.” [linked to article: State Department urges Turkey to halt drilling plans in East Med]

Cruz (R-TX) 7/21: Sen. Cruz: ‘We Must Continue to Vocally and Unapologetically Stand up to the Evil Iranian Regime’

Portman (R-OH) 7/21: At Hearing, Portman Secures Commitments from State Dept. Nominees to Protect Our Nation from Deadly Drugs, Pursue Hypersonic Technology for American Safety & Stand Up for Israel [“the International Criminal Court has made a recent decision to investigate Israel for alleged crimes in the West Bank and also in Jerusalem, also in Gaza. And as you know, Israel is not even a signatory according to the Rome Statute. Second, the ICC has no jurisdiction over the disputed territory, has not in the past and under some rules can only initiate actions that are brought by states and this action was brought by the Palestinian Authority not a state. So I have worked with my colleague Ben Cardin, who is here today, to put together a letter to your future boss, I hope, Secretary Pompeo on this issue. By the way, it received enormous bipartisan support, 67 of our colleagues signed the letter, including, I think, all members of the committee who are here today. I would ask you about this because to me this is an example, not just of them not following the rules of the ICC but also being politicized and the politicization of the ICC has been a concern in Republican and Democratic administrations alike. That’s why, frankly, we have not joined, so I would ask you about this. I would also ask you about the ICC’s recent decision to pursue an investigation into war crimes against US and allied troops for actions in Afghanistan. Again, even though the United States in this case is not even a signatory to the Rome Statute. So, if confirmed do you pledge to continue to push back against these efforts by the ICC to expand its legal mandate and to protect the United States and its troops and our allies from politically motivated prosecutions?”]

Rubio (R-FL) 7/21: Rubio Questions Nominees During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing (including on Iran)

Barrasso (R-WY) 7/21: Barrasso questioned Marshall Billingslea, President Trump’s nominee to be undersecretary of state for arms control and international security on the Iran arms embargo, future of U.S. missile defense, and Russian nuclear weapons.

Blackburn (R-TN) 7/21: Tweet – “Disgusting that Joe Biden would campaign with Linda Sarsour, an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel activist. President @realDonaldTrump will stand with Israel!” [in response to tweet about Biden speaking to Muslim groups where Sarsour is also speaking]

Rice (D-NY) 7/21: Tweet – “Thank you @AmbDaniDayan for your dedicated service as Consul General of Israel in New York these past four years. We will always be grateful for your leadership and partnership with our state, and we wish you the best of luck on your return to Israel. You will be missed!”

Fulcher (R-ID) 7/21: Tweet – “I support our strong ally Israel leading negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and starting negotiations from Israel’s 1967 territorial lines. This is in line w/ @realDonaldTrump Peace to Prosperity Plan and I thank @RepScottPerry for leading this letter to @SecPompeo.”

Castro (D-TX) 7/21: Congressman Castro Announces He Will Seek House Foreign Affairs Chairmanship

Rubio (R-FL) 7/19: Tweet – “Sen. Rubio joins the Argentine & Israeli community in commemorating the 26th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack against the #AMIA in #BuenosAires, #Argentina. We will never forget the victims who were killed by Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization.”


Articles and Reports Related to the Hill


The Forward 7/23: Ilhan Omar attacks challenger by referencing Jewish donors in mailer [Note: Grrrrrrrr. As a reminder:

  • Jewish Insider 7/21: “In a FAQ sent out in an email to supporters and circulated on social media, Melton-Meaux said the campaign contributions he has ‘received from the Jewish community’ won’t ‘influence’ his policy decisions….” [Tweet: Antone Melton-Meaux emailing supporters in the MN5th to say that he will not be beholden to Jewish money is … certainly a choice.” along with pic of Q&A from the FAQ]
  • Jewish Insider 7/16:  With outside help, Antone Melton-Meaux outraises incumbent Rep. Ilhan Omar [excerpt: “...In the last filing quarter, between April and June, the first-time candidate raised a whopping $3.2 million…Melton-Meaux told JI that the influx of outside money — only $323,310 in contributions came from Minnesota — is an indication that the race is ‘becoming a referendum on standing up to the politics of division at the national level.’ In recent weeks, Melton-Meaux has managed to raise his profile as a viable candidate against Omar. Nonpartisan pro-Israel groups like NORPAC and Pro-Israel America, among others, have hosted virtual fundraisers for the candidate.”]
  • Minneapolis Star-Tribune 7/15: Primary challenge to Rep. Ilhan Omar attracts big money [Excerpt: “It’s a dramatic surge for Melton-Meaux, who reported raising nearly $400,000 between December and the end of March. The influx of money came, in part, from some conservative donors and pro-Israel groups like nonpartisan NORPAC, which held a virtual fundraiser for Melton-Meaux in May. According to data from ActBlue, an online fundraising tool, a number of individual donors outside of the district contributed the maximum amount allowed in May.”]
  • Huffington Post 7/9: Israel Hawks Are Spending Big To Unseat Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar
  • Jewish Insider 4/28/20: Meet Antone Melton-Meaux, Ilhan Omar’s primary challenger who wants to end divisive politics [“…Jeff Mendelsohn, executive director of Pro-Israel America, a political action committee supporting pro-Israel candidates for federal office, included Melton-Meaux among the 40 candidates his group has endorsed in the 2020 election cycle so far. Melton-Meaux is the only challenger to have earned the group’s endorsement. Mendelsohn explained that Melton-Meaux is the ‘strongest challenger to Omar, is seen as the candidate most likely to succeed in the efforts to unsesat her, and he has voiced his recognition of Israel as a strategic ally of the United States.’”

YNet/AP 7/23: ‘Squad’ member Tlaib may be vulnerable in tough primary

Jewish News Syndicate 7/23: Omar’s challenger Antone Melton-Meaux: Progressive and pro-Israel not mutually exclusive

JTA /22: Alex Morse was elected mayor at 22. Now the gay Jewish progressive is running for Congress. [“…Morse, who visited Israel on a Birthright trip in college, said he, too, would be open to considering withholding some aid to Israel in some circumstances — ‘as long as they continue to move forward with the occupation and annexation,’ he said — he rejects the idea that criticizing the country’s policies amounts to anti-Semitism. ‘Too often we conflate criticism of Israel, criticism of their leader with being anti-Semitic or being anti-Jewish, and I think they’re two very different conversations. I think one can be critical of Israel and their actions without being anti-Semitic,’ said Morse, who was endorsed by IfNotNow, a Jewish group opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. ‘And as a young openly gay progressive Jew, I think I have a unique voice to lend in this conversation.’”

Jewish News Syndicate 7/22: Will the Democrats’ generational shift turn the tide against Israel?

Jewish Insider 7/22: Rashida Tlaib 28 points ahead of challenger Brenda Jones in new poll

The Floridian 7/22: GOP Candidate Loomer blames Frankel, House Democrats if second Holocaust occurs [“Jewish Democrats who enable anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric along with making excusing for the radical Muslims in Congress are to blame for the rise of anti-Semitism in America..“The ADL is also to blame for the rise of jew hatred in America because they are so politically correct and never call out radical Muslims in Congress for instigating hatred against Jews. Meanwhile, they have no problem taking Jewish donor money to fund the demise of Jews…It is SELF HATING JEWS like Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel, my opponent who are leading the anti-Jewish charge with the anti-Israel, pro-BDS Marxist jihadis in Congress.”]

Jerusalem Post 7/22: Sheldon Adelson give $25 million to Republican super PAC

Jerusalem Post/JTA 7/21: Jewish Republicans come to praise Trump, learn to pitch him to other Jews

Jewish Insider 7/21: Rep. Ilhan Omar skips debate against primary challengers [“In a FAQ sent out in an email to supporters and circulated on social media, Melton-Meaux said the campaign contributions he’s ‘received from the Jewish community’ won’t ‘influence’ his policy decisions.”]

Middle East Monitor 7/20: US: Rashida Tlaib faces stiff challenge in Democrat primaries

The Forward 7/20: In tight Michigan race between Tlaib and Jones, Jews want ‘none of the above’

Other News

ForeignLobby.com 7/23: RJC pushes Congress to support West Bank annexation

Jewish News Syndicate 7/22: Brad Sherman touts ‘bookish’ personality as he competes for Foreign Affairs chairmanship [‘Sherman predicted that the contest will ultimately come down to him and Meeks, although he said Castro “brings a third personality, a third group of friends and a third viewpoint’ to the table. Sherman noted that Castro ‘has said things that some supporters of the U.S.-Israel relationship are very concerned about, and some who dislike the U.S.-Israel relationship are happy [about].’”]

Washington Free Beacon 7/22: Cruz Aide Says Twitter Likely Criminally Liable for Enabling Iranian Regime

Israel Hayom 7/21: Progressive Dems praise anti-Semitic groups for letter censuring Israeli sovereignty

National Journal 7/20: The Democrats’ debate over the Jewish state

Foreign Policy 7/20: Democrats Can’t Allow Israel to Pursue Annexation Without Consequences

Jewish Insider 7/20: Race to succeed defeated House Foreign Affairs chair Eliot Engel heats up

NBC News 7/19: Fight for top House Foreign Affairs post opens race, seniority debate in Democratic Party

Al Monitor 7/17: Engel is out — will the new foreign affairs chairman upend his Mideast policies?