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
2. Targeting Ilhan Omar (still)
3. Hearings & Markups
4. On the Record
More great FMEP programming:
- (6/21): Webinar – Palestinians, Israelis, 1948, & Now: On Researching, Teaching, and Asserting the Reality of the Nakba, ft. Leena Dallasheh, Shay Hazkani, Sherene Seikaly & Sarah Anne Minkin
- 6/16: FMEP’s Occupied Thoughts podcast — Winds of Change in the Grassroots & Congress on Palestine, ft. Rania Batrice & Lara Friedman
- 6/15: Webinar – Gaza Reconstruction: More than a Humanitarian Project, ft. Tania Hary (Gisha), Issam Younis (Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights), and Lara Friedman
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
(WEAPONIZING BAD FAITH CLAIMS ABOUT ANTISEMITISM & ISRAEL TO TARGET WOMEN OF COLOR – *AND ONLY WOMEN OF COLOR* – IN CONGRESS) H. Res. 474: Introduced 6/14 by Waltz (R-FL) and currently having 24 cosponsors, (all Republicans – and yes, you read that right — 24 other Republicans have signed on to this shonda of a resolution), “Condemning and censuring Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts for defending foreign terrorist organizations and inciting anti-Semitic attacks across the United States.” Referred to the House Committee on Ethics. Also see:
- Waltz press release; tweets touting the resolution from Waltz, Banks (R-IN), Tenney (R-NY), Hartzler (R-MO), Babin (R-TX), Hartzler (R-MO)
- Media coverage: Fox News article, NY Post, Free Beacon, Jewish Insider, Al Jazeera, The New Arab, Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom,
- Waltz also released a “fact sheet” detailing examples of the alleged sins committed by the 4
congresswomen ( tweeted the whole fact sheet in this thread) — citing alleged evidence of their evil ways, including:
- Tweets likes this from Omar, in which she links to a video (that went viral in Israel) of a prominent Israeli writer and media figure explaining (in Hebrew, to Israelis) why “apartheid” is the correct word to use to desribe the situation in Israel;
- A floor speech from Pressley including, “We cannot stand idly and complicitly by and allow the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people to continue. We cannot remain silent when our government sends $3.8 billion of military aid to Israel that is used to demolish Palestinian homes, imprison Palestinian children, and displace Palestinian families,” and
- Tweets like this one from Ocasio-Cortez – “There is no room for anti-semitism in the movement for Palestinian liberation. Our critique is of Israel and their human rights abuses. This is not an excuse for anti-semitic hate crimes.”
- Yarmuth (D-KY), asked my a journalist why these four House members are being singled out in this resolution, while he and others progressives like Pocan (D-MI) who have been similarly critical of Israel are not mentioned, captured the story here succinctly: “Well, I’m neither Black, nor female, nor a Muslim.” [see Section 2, below, for more straight talk from Yarmouth].
(SUPPORTING SUPPRESSION OF FREE SPEECH IN STATES) S. 2119: Introduced 6/17 by Rubio (R-FL) and Manchin (D-NV), “A bill to provide for nonpreemption of measures by State and local governments to divest from entities that engage in certain boycott, divestment, or sanctions activities targeting Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories, and for other purposes.” This is the re-introduced Combating BDS Act, last seen in 2019 in the form of S. 1 – for details on that saga see here. Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
(PROMOTING ARAB NORMALIZATION WITH ISRAEL) S. 1061 : Introduced 3/21 by Schneider (D-IL) and having 54 bipartisan cosponsors, “To encourage the normalization of relations with Israel, and for other purposes.” This bill – which was energetically lobbied by AIPAC of late – will be marked up next week in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (see Section 3, below, for details).
(TAKE $$ FROM PALESTINIANS, GIVE THEM TO ISRAEL FOR IRON DOME) HR 3977 (text): Introduced 6/17 by Budd (R-NC), “To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to limit assistance to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and for other purposes.” This bill bars aid to the PA or PLO unless the President certifies that no money is being paid out to Palestinians convicted of terrorism, and redirects any such aid to srael for Iron Dome. NOTE: US law already has a longstanding total ban on aid to the PLO, and the Taylor Force Act already bars aid that “directly benefits” the PA (a bar which is actually higher than the one set in this bill by Budd). Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Barr press release — which offers an inaccurate description of existing US aid to the Palestinians and, tellingly, refers to Palestinians as “Islamic terrorists” — is here.
(ISRAEL AUMF + BLANK CHECK/NO OVERSIGHT MILITARY AID) HR 3976 (text): Introduced 6/17 by Budd (R-NC) and Murphy (R-NC), “To provide defense and security assistance to ensure the survival of Israel and its people from an existing or imminent military threat, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
- The first part of this bill is a broad authorization of the use of military force: “The President, upon request of the Prime Minister of Israel, is authorized to carry out such actions that may be necessary to ensure the survival of Israel and its people from an existing or imminent [a term that is conspicuously left undefined in the bill] military threat, including threats from other countries, terrorist organizations, and violent extremist, cyber, and chemical, biological, and nuclear threats. Any activities carried out pursuant to such authority shall be conducted in a manner that appropriately protects the national security interests of the United States and the national security interests of Israel.” The bill would require to President only to tell Congress about such a use of force after the fact (within 48 hours).
- The second part of the bill is a blanket authorization for the President, if he believes Israel is under threat, to waive the Arms Export Control Act and transfer to Israel any defense articles or services he sees fit, with no oversight, with the costs “not be subject to any limitation in law, or provision of any bilateral agreement,” and with the requirement only to inform Congress retrospectively, when “practicable.”
- NOTE: This bill was previously introduced in 2019 (HR 4156) by Meadows (R-NC). The second provision in the bill is similar to text that was passed by the House in 2019 (with zero debate and on a bipartisan basis) in the form of Sec. 204 of HR 1837 – for details see here.
(BLANK CHECK/NO OVERSIGHT MILITARY AID for Israel) McCaul MTR/amdt to HR 256: On 6/17, the House debated HR 256, “To repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.” In the course of that (largely partisan) debate, McCaul (R-TX) offered a Motion to Recommit (MTR) — a gambit employed on the House floor to derail consideration of a bill by forcing it back into committee to deal with a new amendment. The hook for McCaul’s MTR was a wholly non-germane amendment seeking to add language to the bill to (in McCaul’s words) “establish contingency plans to provide Israel with defense articles such as munitions, ISR technology, aircraft, and related services. It would also create a waiver to expedite arms transfers if Israel is under threat of military attack.” McCaul argued that, in effect, this should not be controversial because this same language “passed the House last Congress with broad bipartisan support [as Sec. 204 of HR 1837]” – which is indeed the case. When Democrats rejected what was a transparent effort that had nothing to do with supporting Israel and everything to do with derailing HR 256, that vote was immediately cast by Republicans as “217 House Democrats just voted AGAINST reaffirming U.S. support for Israel’s self-defense.” HR 256 passed by a largely partisan vote of 268-161 (McCaul, of course, voted “no”).
(F$$K EVERY MAN, WOMAN, & CHILD IN GAZA) S. 1899 (text): On 6/15, Sen. Scott (R-FL) notified Senate colleagues of his intention to try to bring S. 1899 to a vote on the Senate flooor by unanimous consent — a tactic known as “hot-lining,” in which a bill bypasses normal order (a bill normally has to be considered in the committee/s of jurisdiction before being taken up by the full senate). S. 1899, introduced 5/27 (but the text is still not in the Congressional record) seeks to bar any U.S. aid going to anyone or anything inside the Gaza Strip, unless the President can certify with 100% certainty that not a penny will go to any person or organization that in effect breathes the same air as anyone directly or indirectly associated with Hamas or any terrorist group. It is, in point of fact, a collective-punishment-against-every-man-woman-and-child-in-Gaza, masquerading as a bill seeking to counter terrorism.
- Scott’s floor statement 6/16 arguing for immediate passage of the bill is here.
- Think I’m exaggerating about what the bill would do? Here’s how Menendez (D-NJ) characterized the bill in his floor statement: “As written, this bill…seems intended to ensure that nobody in Gaza could ever receive any of this support. The language is written so broadly that, for example, before delivering clean water or water infrastructure, the President would effectively have to certify that anyone related to Hamas would never drink that water or drink from a water fountain that carried that water. That is simply absurd…“
- Menendez ultimately blocked Scott’s bill, noting on the Senate floor: “This bill in question is not a serious attempt at legislating; it is a partisan talking point,” and suggesting that if Scott is serious about legislating on this matter (as opposed to merely using Israel as a weapon to score political points) then he should go through the normal committee consideration process via the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which Menendez chairs), which has demonstrated over and over its readiness to move legislation on this topic. Menendez added: “Enough of using the U.S.-Israel relationship for partisan political purposes. It does damage to the United States. It does damage to the State of Israel.”
- Scott’s subsequent floor statement and press release seemed to make pretty clear that partisan point scoring is, indeed, his primary objective: “Democrats Stand with Terrorists Over Israel, Block Sen. Rick Scott’s Bill to Prevent Tax Dollars from Going to Hamas”. Other Republicans joined in to use the hotline gambit to claim Democrats are standing with terrorists against Israel – see: Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Ernst (R-IA)
(NO REJOINING THE JCPOA!) HR 3966: Introduced 6/17 by Clyde (R-GA) and 11 Republican cosponsors, “To prohibit the United States from rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) until the President makes certain certifications, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Countering Iranian Aggression Act.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
(MORE US-ISRAEL COOPERATION! THIS TIME – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE!) S. 2120: Introduced 6/17 by Rubio (R-FL), Cantwell (D-WA), Blackburn (R-TN), and Rosen (D-NV), “A bill to establish the United States-Israel Artificial Intelligence Center to improve artificial intelligence research and development cooperation.” Also see: press release; article in Jewish Insider.
(RE-DESIGNATE ANSARALLAH AN FTO) HR 3965: Introduced 6/17 by Clyde (R-GA) and 4 Republican cosponsors, “To designate Ansarallah as a foreign terrorist organization and impose certain sanctions on Ansarallah, and for other purposes,” aka the “Standing Against Houthi Aggression Act.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. As a reminder: Revocation of the Terrorist Designations of Ansarallah (State Department 2/12/21); Treasury Sanctions Key Military Leaders of the Ansarallah Militia in Yemen (Department of the Treasury 3/2/21). Press release is here.
(EASTERN MED PIPELINE) S. Res. 271: Introduced 6/17 by Cruz (R-TX) and Barrasso (R-WY), “A resolution affirming that the United States supports the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum and the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
(TARGETING HAMAS) An op-ed published 6/11 in The Hill, authored by two fellows at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), recommends to Congress a new way to target Hamas and, implicitly, to further squeeze Palestinians in Gaza. FDD urges Congress to “strengthen and expand” legislation enacted in 2018 called the “Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act” (aka, the Shields Act). Recommended tweaks include adding sanctions: “for war crimes in which terrorists frequently engage during conflicts with the U.S., Israeli, and other western militaries: the deliberate use of specially protected property (e.g. hospitals and religious institutions) to shield military assets, and the deliberate targeting of civilians.” As a reminder, FDD has historically enjoyed remarkable success in getting its Middle East/Iran-related recommendations adopted by legislators (especially but not exclusively Republicans).
(F$$K EVERY PALESTINIAN MAN, WOMAN, & CHILD) In an op-ed published in 6/16 in the Times of Israel, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) attacks the Biden Administration’s plans to provide funding (any funding) to the Palestinians. Inhofe promises: “I’m going to work with my colleagues in Congress to stop the Biden administration’s money-for-nothing policy towards the Palestinian leadership. After all, it is not Washington’s responsibility to rebuild what Hamas allowed to be destroyed. It also isn’t Washington’s responsibility to restore diplomatic privileges to a Palestinian leadership that repeatedly rejects diplomacy. American aid is meant to further American interests — not to enrich those who attack America’s friends.”
NOTE: for letters related to attacks on Rep. Omar (D-MN), see Sec. 2, below
(DEMANDING ANSWERS RE: BIDEN MOVES ON IRAN) Tenney et al letter to Blinken: On 6/17, Rep. Tenney (R-NY) led a letter, cosigned by 10 Republican House colleagues, to SecState Blinken, expressing “serious concern regarding the recent decision to delist three former Iranian government officials and two companies previously sanctioned for their involvement in Iran’s petrochemical sector” and demanding a “detailed response” to their questions about how this decision happened. Press release is here.
(NO RELEASE ON HOLD OF FUNDS FOR PALESTINIANS) Risch response to Raskin: As noted in the June 4th edition of the Round-Up, on June 2nd, Rep. Raskin (D-MD) and 143 fellow House Democrats sent a letter to Sen. Risch (R-ID), pleading with him to release his hold on funds for the Palestinians. On June 15, Risch responded to Raskin with an extraordinarily patronizing (verging on snarky) response, in effect suggesting that House Democrats doesn’t know what they are talking about (a suggestion that disingenuously ignores that Raskin’s letter referred both the humanitarian AND development aid) and that their letter could be taken to mean they want the US to “turn a blind eye to the potential of U.S. funds being used to support terrorism.” Risch also makes clear that he has no intention of lifting the holds he has in place. Also see: Sen. Risch Won’t Lift Hold on Palestinian Aid Without Guarantee Taxpayer Money Is Kept From Terrorists (Free Beacon)
(HOLD HOUTHIS ACCOUNTABLE) Risch et al letter to US Ambassador to UN: On 6/14, Senators Risch (R-ID), Young (R-IN), Rubio (R-FL) and Crapo (R-ID) sent a letter to US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield to express “serious concern over the systematic and widespread human rights abuses perpetrated by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen” and to ask that she “focus the international community’s attention on these serious and continuing human rights violations.” Specifically, the writers ask her to “use your voice and vote at the United Nations Security Council to ensure that Houthi human rights abuses are included in meetings, statements, and resolutions regarding the Yemen conflict.” Press release is here.
(SHAME ON YOU FOR QUIETLY LIFTING IRAN SANCTIONS!) Katko letter to Yellen: On 6/11, Rep. Katko (R-NY) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen regarding the administration’s recent decision to lift sanctions on three former Iranian officials. The letter notes: “It is my firm belief that continuing to lift sanctions would be a historic mistake that would leave the United States less secure. Continuing to operate from a position of weakness and appeasement will only further embolden the Iranian regime’s efforts to endanger the lives of Americans, undermine U.S. interests, and threaten the safety and security of our ally, Israel.I encourage you to immediately reinstate the previously-lifted sanctions, and work diligently to prevent further threats stemming from Iran.” Press release is here.
(DEAR FBI – INVESTIGATE BDS ORGANIZATION) Burchett et al letter: On 6/10 (not previously reported in the Round-Up), Rep. Burchett (R-TN) led a letter to the leaders of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, cosigned by Steube (R-FL) and Salazar (R-FL), calling for investigation into PACBI’s [alleged] financial links to terror groups. The basis for this allegation is based exclusively on a guilt-by-association argument, based on PACBI’s alleged support for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), an umbrella organization that the Congressmen in effect argue qualifies as a terrorist organization, since its membership includes groups associated with U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorists Organizations. Notably, in March 2021, a lawsuit based on that same guilt-by-association allegation — targeting the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (arguing that USCPR’s support for the BNC was legally a form of support for Hamas) — was dismissed by a US Federal Judge, whose ruling characterized the plaintiffs’ arguments as, “to say the least, not persuasive.” Also see: Burchett press release, Steube’s tweet
(QUASH CRITICISM OF ISRAEL ON CAMPUS!) GOP letter to Secretary of Education: According to a report published by the Jewish News Syndicate, on June 9, “A group of 19 Republican members of Congress on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona highlighting rampant anti-Semitism at American colleges and universities, and urging him to apply Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect Jewish students as it would towards racist actions against other minorities.” The report — which was re-posted on the website of Rep. Gorthman (R-WI) — appears to be talking about a letter that was posted on the website of the far right-wing organization “Emet” back in April (Emet appears to have been lobbying members to sign on to the letter for nearly two months). The text of that letter makes clear that the real focus is the demand to clamp down on criticism and activism challenging Israeli policies and actions – as opposed to actual antisemitism. That conclusion is bolstered by EMET’s action alert on the letter (from April) which includes this framing: “For decades now, professors, particularly those in the Middle Eastern Studies Programs, have been carrying among themselves and transmitting to their students profound and overt biases against the state of Israel. This is what Natan Sharansky calls ‘the new anti-Semitism.’ It is not, as the old anti-Semitism was, directed against individual Jews and the Jewish religion, but against the collective state of the Jews: Israel.”
2. Targeting Ilhan Omar (still)
The vicious attacks on Rep. Omar (D-MN) – ostensibly sparked by her comments/tweet regarding the ICC continued this week. Below is a rundown of members’ statements/actions and related developments:
(A) This week saw some powerful defenses of Rep. Omar from Congress, the most notable of which were:
- Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY) (responding to a journalist): “I think a lot of my colleagues overreacted to her remarks..It’s always fair for a member to criticize the policies of a government or of a governmental leader. I’ve been highly critical of the Israeli government’s policies and of now-former Prime Minister Netanyahu. I don’t think anybody would call me antisemitic. I think they just overreacted without actually considering exactly what she said. The fact that you put Hamas in the same sentence with the United States does not necessarily mean that you are equating the two and I think that was an unfair assumption that some of my colleagues made.” Asked why he thought the attacks on Omar and things like the Waltz resolution (in Section 1, above) single out Omar, Tlaib (D-MI), Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Pressley (D-MA), but don’t call out Yarmuth and other progressives like Rep. Pocan (D-MI), Yarmuth responded: “Well, I’m neither Black, nor female, nor a Muslim. I don’t think it’s fair, I don’t think it’s right. Congresswoman Omar has as much right to criticize Israel or any other government or any other national leader as any other member of Congress without being singled out.”
- Levin (D-MI) 6/16: Tweet – “Look: Legitimate criticism of Israel, backed up by respected human rights orgs, is not antisemitic—that’s how we build a just and peaceful world. Weaponizing antisemitism to attack Muslim and other women of color like @IlhanMN @RashidaTlaib @AOC @AyannaPressley must end. Now.”
- Levin (D-MI) 6/14: Twitter thread – “Last month, 185 Israeli scientists, intellectuals & activists, inc. 10 Israel Prize winners, urged the ICC to investigate possible Israeli war crimes independently & not to rely on the Israeli government’s own accounts. I must admit I didn’t even see this. [linked to Haaretz article – Over 180 Israeli Intellectuals, Scientists Warn ICC: Don’t Rely on Israel to Probe War Crimes.” .@Ilhan also called for accountability. She clarified that she was not suggesting the US & Israel are like the Taliban & Hamas—but her questions did not equate them. Why seize that idea if not to serve other purposes or continue the sick sport of attacking Congresswoman Omar? I believe it is my duty to raise hard questions like whether we believe in accountability for everyone, inc. friends like Israel & ourselves. No honest observer can say the US didn’t commit war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan. Yes, all three. The cases are well-documented. Can we really expect to get to a world of peace and justice for all if we are not willing to hold everyone accountable for war crimes & human rights violations? I will continue to join @Ilhan in asking these questions and condemn these attacks against her.”
- Ocasio-Cortex (D-NY) 6/14: Twitter thread explaining what is happening at the ICC with respect to cases being opposed by the US, and concluding – “Rep. @Ilhan Omar wanted to know, if ‘we oppose the ICC, where do we think the victims of these supposed crimes can go for justice?’ It’s a critical question, and we deserve an answer from the Biden administration.”
- Also see: What’s so scary about Rep. Ilhan Omar? (The Forward) & Another Manufactured Outrage: Rep. Ilhan Omar Did Nothing Wrong in Listing Hamas, Israel, and U.S. Together (Religion Dispatches)
(B) This week also saw more Republicans demanding that Omar be punished (this is in addition to the condemn/censure resolution of Squad members discussed in Section 1 above). The most notable of these were:
- Malliotakis letter: On 6/11, Rep. Malliotakis (R-NY) sent a letter to Pelosi (D-CA) and Hoyer (D-MD) demanding that Omar be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The letter was reportedly co-signed by Stefanik (R-NY) Jackson (R-TX), Zeldin (R-NY), Pfluger (R-TX), Salazar (R-FL), Gimenez (R-FL), Tenney (R-NY), Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Johnson (R-OH). Also see Malliotakis tweet.
- Gimenez Letter: On 6/11, Rep. Gimenez (R-FL) led a letter to House leader Pelosi (D-CA) demanding that Omar be removed from all of her committee assignments (not just from the House Foreign Affairs Committee). The letter was co-signed by Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Kinzinger (R-IL), Upton (R-MI), Jacobs (R-NY) Kim (R-CA), Malliotakis (R-NY) and Salazar (R-FL). Also see: FoxNews coverage; Tweets/press releases in support of letter from Gimenez; Kim (R-CA); Kim (R-CA); Kim (R-CA), Salazar (R-FL), Womack (R-AR)
- Members calling for Omar to be kicked off HFAC and bashing Democrats for failing to punish Omar — Stefanik (R-NY), Pfluger (R-TX), Zeldin (R-NY), Banks (R-IN), Gimenez (R-FL), McClain (R-MI)
- And upping the ante, on 6/14 Rep. Boebert (R-CO) tweeted: “Expel Ilhan Omar from Congress.”
(C) The media feeding frenzy continued this week (below is just a selection of article):
- Pelosi says House leadership ‘did not rebuke’ Omar (CNN)
- Republicans Want to Censure Ilhan Omar. These Jewish Lawmakers Think It’s a Bad Idea (Haaretz)
- Democrats, GOP back off plans to rebuke Ilhan Omar, Marjorie Taylor Greene (Times of Israel)
- McCarthy urges Pelosi to remove Omar from foreign affairs committee, says Republicans will if they take back the House (Washington Examiner)
- Republicans call on Democratic leadership to strip Ilhan Omar of Foreign Affairs seat (Jewish Insider)
- Ilhan Omar is ‘Unworthy’ of Congress – Israeli Ex-Prime Minister Says (Al Bawaba)
- Omar’s comments aren’t just about Israel— they threaten the ties of Jews and the Democratic Party (The Forward)
- What Ilhan Omar’s latest scandal reveals about Democrats (Washington Examiner)
(D) What’s next? Even as the kerfuffle over Omar’s comments about the ICC seems to be receding, it is clear that anti-Omar forces won’t stop looking for something – anything – Omar says or does in order to manufacture the NEXT big controversy. Think I’m exaggerating? See: Ilhan Omar Criticized for Reweeting Video from Militant Anti-Israel Group (Breitbart, 6/14)
June 23: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing entitled, COVID-19 in the MENA Region: Addressing the Impacts of the Pandemic and the Road to Recovery. Witnesses will be: Carla Humud, Congressional Research Service; Ranj Alaaldin, The Brookings Institution & Crisis Response Council; Eman Moankar, CARE International; and Hallam Ferguson, The Wilson Center.
June 22: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting to mark up a number of piece of legislation including:
- S. J. Res. 10, a joint resolution to repeal the authorizations for use of military force against Iraq, and for other purposes
- S. 1061, Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021, with an amendment [text of the amendment is not yet available; notably, this week AIPAC was energetically lobbying for this bill on social media]
- S. Res. 154, a resolution congratulating the people of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the centennial of the founding of the Jordanian state, with an amendment
June 17: The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing entitled, A Review of the FY 2022 Department of Defense Budget Request. Witnesses were SecDef Austin (statement) and JCS Chairman Gen. Mark Milley (statement). Video is here.
June 16: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing entitled, The Biden Administration’s Priorities for Engagement with the United Nations. The sole witness was U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield (statement). Video is here. Unsurprisingly, a lot of this hearing was about Israel and the Palestinians (including UNRWA.) See tweet (with accompanying video) from HFAC/MENA subcommittee chair Deutch (D-FL) – “I had a productive engagement with @USAmbUN yesterday about reforms the US will pursue at the UN, particularly the Human Rights Council on membership standards & its obsession w/ Israel. We also discussed accountability & addressing incitement in UNRWA textbooks.” Also see: Thomas-Greenfield commits to reforming UNRWA and U.N. Human Rights Council (Jewish Insider); Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar Questions U.N. Ambassador Thomas Greenfield On Crises In Latin America & Israel; Tweet (with video clip) from Malliotakis (R-XX) – “Nicole urged @USAmbUN to push for the removal of Item #7 of the @UN_HRC agenda that unfairly targets Israel @UN_HRC bullies Israel while true human rights violators like China, Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba sit on the Council without accountability.”
June 16: The House Committee on Financial Services’s Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy held a virtual hearing entitled, Schemes and Subversion: How Bad Actors and Foreign Governments Undermine and Evade Sanctions Regimes. Witnesses were: Ivan Garces, Kaufman Rossin (statement); Eric Lorber, FDD (statement); Lakshmi Kumar, Global Financial Integrity (statement); Jesse Spiro, Chainalysis (statement); Dr. Jeffrey Taliaferro, Tufts University (statement). Also see: meeting memo, hearing video is here.
Members On The Record
Welcoming new Israel Government
Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Hoyer (D-MD), HFAC/Meeks (D-NY), Veasey (D-TX), Johnson (D-GA), Menendez (D-NJ), Rosen (D-NV), Cicilline (D-RI), Gottheimer (D-NJ), Perlmutter (D-CO), Schneider (D-IL), Deutch (D-FL), Pascrell (D-NJ), Nadler (D-NY), Rice (D-NY), Pallone (D-NJ), Langevin (D-RI), Frankel (D-FL), Rubio (R-FL), and Cruz (R-TX)
We <HEART> Bibi 4 Ever
Bacon (R-NE), Scott (R-FL), Hudson (R-NC), Roy (R-TX), Crenshaw (R-TX), and Wilson (R-SC)
Applauding Nomination of Tom Nides as US Ambassador to Israel
Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Deutch (D-FL), Klobuchar (D-MN)
Pocan (D-MI) 6/19: Tweet – “Your Friday reminder that the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in Palestine is illegal under international law.” Linked to AJ+ tweet (with pix) – “Israeli forces demolished at least one Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank and issued orders to demolish several others near Hebron, impacting over 40 people. Israel has displaced over 500 Palestinians in 2021, and advanced plans for hundreds of illegal settlement homes.”
Rubio (R-FL) 6/18: Tweet – “#Israel sending #COVID_19 vaccines to the Palestinians further demonstrates Jerusalem’s commitment to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.”
Mullin (R-OK) 6/17: Tweet – “#Hamas broke the ceasefire agreement by launching 26 incendiary balloons at #Israel. Hamas is responsible for renewed violence in the region. #StandWithIsrael”
Hawley (R-MO) 6/17: Hawley Demands Biden SBA Nominee Renounce Anti-Semitic Rhetoric [“Dilawar Syed was a director for an organization that has engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric, including amplifying false statements that Israel is an ‘apartheid state.’ This rhetoric is disgusting and inexcusable. Mr. Syed must renounce this hateful rhetoric and explain his association with this organization. The Small Business Committee must convene a hearing to ask Mr. Syed about these actions and determine whether he is fit to serve.”]
McCaul (R-TX) 6/17: McCaul Speaks on House Floor on Amendment to Reaffirm the U.S. Will Provide Defense Assistance to Israel
Mann (R-KS) 6/17: Tweet – “Pres. Biden’s progressive budget aims to destroy the oil and gas industry, prioritizes the rights of illegal immigrants, funnels foreign aid away from Israel, and turns a blind eye to protecting the unborn. My floor speech on the #BadBidenBudget here:”
Rubio (R-FL) 6/16: Tweet – “Worrisome that members of the Chilean parliament have drafted anti-Semitic initiatives & are inciting commercial disengagement w/ #Israel. We can’t allow these types of proposals to damage the relationship b/w the US & Chile, which has been based on mutual support & cooperation.” Linked to article, Chilean Congress drafts bill to boycott goods from Israeli settlements (Jerusalem Post)
Cramer (R-ND) 6/16: Tweet – “Good meeting with my friend Dan Rosen yesterday to discuss the state of Israel and serving our Jewish communities. Grateful for his expertise and perspective.”
Torres (D-NY) 6/16: Tweet – “Chanting ‘death to Arabs’ is dangerous and despicable. Hate will never bring peace. It will only incite violence.” Linked to tweet with video
Schatz (D-HI) 6/16: Tweet – “It is an anti-Semitic trope to assume that allegiance to Netanyahu defines my ethnic, political, cultural, religious, or political identity. I am a proud American Jew and I won’t let anyone define the extent of my love for Israel by my belligerence towards others.” Linked to Twitter thread – “In interview with @Ami_Magazine published this week, Trump complains about lack of Jewish support in 2020: ‘I did the Heights, I did Jerusalem, and I did Iran… I believe we got 25% of the Jewish vote, and it doesn’t make sense. It just seems strange to me.’ Trump added: ‘Jewish people who live in the United States don’t love Israel enough. Does that make sense to you? I’m not talking about Orthodox Jews.’”
Bowman (D-NY) 6/15: Tweet – “This is a genocidal chant. Let’s call it what it is. I represent many within the Jewish community who disavow and condemn this hateful language. So why does only a small portion of our Congress?” Linked to tweet with video of Jewish March of Flag participants singing “death to Arabs.”
Cruz (R-TX) 6/15: Tweet – “Worrying. Boycotting our Israeli allies would badly strain US-Chile relations & business ties. US companies there would lose tax benefits & my language in just-passed China bill limits partnerships w/ countries that boycott Israel-controlled territories.” Linked to article, Chilean Congress drafts bill to boycott goods from Israeli settlements (Jerusalem Post)
Tlaib (D-MI) 6/14: Tweet – “After racist and violent ‘death to Arabs’ marches earlier today in Jerusalem, children in Gaza are being woken by bombs in the middle of the night. Israel’s government doesn’t value Palestinian lives. It has managed a decades-long ethnic cleansing project, funded by the U.S.”
Cotton (R-AR) 6/14: Tweet – “These aren’t journalists—they’re anti-Israel activists.” Linked to article, Anti-Israel journalists blasted as ‘propagandists’ for stunning letter (FoxNews)
Gottheimer (D-NJ) 6/13: Tweet – “I was proud to join @JFNNJ, the NJ Board of Rabbis, and the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County to show our Jersey community’s strong support for our historic ally Israel!”
Cline (R-VA) 6/13: Tweet – “The United States’ commitment to ensuring the safety, security, & prosperity of Israel is unwavering, particularly in light of recent events. This week, I spoke with members of @AIPAC about the organization’s legislative priorities and how Congress can continue to support Israel.”
Gottheimer (D-NJ) 6/13: Tweet – “In Congress, I’ll always be committed to ensuring our vital ally Israel has the resources it needs to defend itself. We cannot allow the the strong, bipartisan U.S. Israel relationship to be undermined with partisan, political stunts.” Linked to article, The bogus claim that Democrats voted against funding for Israel (Washington Post)
Zeldin (R-NY) 6/12: Tweet – “The City University of New York (CUNY) ‘educators’ who just passed this insane pro-BDS resolution accusing Israel of a ‘massacre of Palestinians’, shouldn’t have any ability at all to brainwash students, especially in a publicly funded university. Read it here”
Hagerty (R-TN) 6/12: Tweet – “America must always stand with Israel!” Linked to FoxNews video clip
Young (R-IN) 6/11: Tweet – “Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East. Following the recent attacks on Israel and their elections, I met with Hoosier members of @AIPAC to discuss Israel’s security and their outlook for the new government.”
Rosen (D-NV) 6/11: Tweet – “Joint collaboration between the U.S. and Israel is critical both to defending our greatest ally in the Middle East and supporting U.S. missile defense needs. I joined my colleagues in calling for full funding of U.S-Israel defense projects, including #IronDome.”
Hagerty (R-TN) 6/18: Twitter thread on Iranian elections concluding with, “As I wrote last month, Biden’s Iran policy naively assumes friendly outreach can moderate the Iranian regime. But this election will show the hardline mullahs have no intention of moderating. It’s time for Biden to discard this misguided policy.”
Stefanik (R-NY) 6/16: Tweet – “The new US administration requested that I save our disagreements on the Iran nuclear deal behind closed doors, and not share them publicly, I told them I won’t act that way.” – Netanyahu Biden’s dangerous decisions on Iran are WRONG.” Linked to article, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu blasts Biden on his way out of office (New York Post)
Cornyn (R-TX) 6/16: floor speech on Iran [elections, need to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons]
Hill (R-AR) 6/14: Tweet – “The Iran nuclear deal did not serve America or our ally, Israel, well. It was a danger to peace in the Middle East and should not be renewed — nor should sanctions be lifted on the Iranian regime. America cannot afford to show weakness, @POTUS”. Linked to article, ‘Intense’ Iran nuclear talks resume as Germany calls for rapid progress (Reuters)
Media & Other Reports
Jewish Insider 6/18: Ester Kurz reflects on four decades on Capitol Hill for AIPAC
Jewish Insider 6/17: Menendez shoots down concerns that he’s shifted on Israel
Free Beacon 6/17: GOP Probes Biden Admin for Lifting Iran Sanctions
+972 Magazine 6/16: Black-Palestine solidarity is making its way to Capitol Hill
Jewish Insider 6/16: Murphy urges new Israeli government to be ‘more evenhanded’ with U.S.
Times of Israel/Sen. Inofe (R-OK) 6/16: Biden’s plan for no-strings funding to the Palestinians is a win for terrorism [For counter-analysis reflecting actual law and fact) see – The glaringly dishonest attacks on Biden’s humanitarian aid to Palestinians (me, in Responsible Statecraft)]
Washington Examiner 6/15: Democrats, not Israel, are responsible for division
Washington Free Beacon 6/15: Biden Admin Prepared to Lift Sanctions on Iran’s Top Terrorism Financers, Senator Says
Jewish Insider/Palestinian Media Watch 6/15: Is the Biden administration violating the Taylor Force Act? [“I reached out to more than a dozen members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on both sides of the aisle to ask them just that. Only Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was willing to comment. ‘Secretary Blinken’s promise to send millions in aid to the Palestinians almost certainly violates restrictions in the Taylor Force Act,’ he said, adding: ‘The Biden administration must halt all U.S. aid to the Palestinians until we can be sure that this aid isn’t benefitting the Palestinian Authority or terrorist organizations like Hamas that are eager to wipe Israel off the map.’”] For counter-analysis reflecting actual law and fact) see – The glaringly dishonest attacks on Biden’s humanitarian aid to Palestinians (me, in Responsible Statecraft)
+972 Magazine 6/15: US aid to Israel was once a given. What’s changing now?
Jewish Insider 6/15: JDCA, OU lobby lawmakers on provisions to combat antisemitism