Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived.
More great FMEP programming:
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
(FY22 SFOPS) HR XXXX: This week the House Appropriations Committee completed its work on the FY22 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. For details, see Section 2, below.
(USING ISRAEL TO SCORE PARTISAN POINTS) H. J. Res. 54: On 7/1, McCarthy (R-CA) took to the House floor to ask for unanimous consent to bring H. J. Res. 54 – introduced that same day and referred to the Appropriations Committee – directly to the House floor for a vote. This measure, cosponsored by Scalise (R-LA), Granger (R-TX), Rogers (R-AL), and McCaul (R-TX), would make “an emergency supplemental appropriation for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, to provide funding to Israel for the Iron Dome defense system to counter short-range rocket threats.” The exchange on the House floor related to this request tells the entire story behind this effort:
Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, consistent with Israel’s request for $1 billion in emergency military aid to fund the Iron Dome, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Appropriations be discharged from further consideration of House Joint Resolution 54 and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under guidelines consistently issued by successive Speakers, as recorded in section 956 of the House Rules and Manual, the Chair is constrained not to entertain the request unless it has been cleared by the bipartisan floor and committee leaderships.
Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary inquiry.
Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, can the Speaker inform us of the composition of the floor leadership?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Floor leadership includes the Speaker and majority leader on the majority side and the minority leader on the minority side and does not include the entire hierarchy of party leadership.
Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for that clarification. So that means that the Speaker and majority leader are blocking funding for Israel?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has not been recognized for debate.
Immediately after McCarthy’s procedural gambit (which violated House rules and in effect demanded that the House vote uo-or-down on a BILLION dollars in funding without any prior dicussion/consideration) was rejected, he tweeted: “BREAKING → Democrats just blocked funding to resupply the Iron Dome—the missile defense system that has saved countless lives in Israel from Hamas’ rocket attacks. While Democrats defend anti-Semitic remarks from their own members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.” Following McCarthy’s lead, Buck (R-CO) tweeted “House Democrats just blocked funding to protect Israel from Hamas terrorists. Republicans stand with Israel.” Balderson (R-OH) re-tweeted McCarthy’s comment, adding: “The Iron Dome missile defense system has proven itself again and again to be a vital, life-saving investment. The United States must always stand with its ally, Israel, to prevent the death and destruction perpetrated by Hamas and other bad actors in the region.” More tweets along these lines continued throughout the day, including from Granger (R-TX), Westerman (R-AR), and Arrington (R-TX). Minority Whip Scalise issued a press release: Democrats Abandon Opportunity to Stand With Israel
(FINANCIAL SERVICES APPROPS) HR 4345: On 6/29 the House Appropriations Committee held a markup the FY22 Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Appropriations Bill (subsequently reported out of Committee on 7/1, becoming HR 4345). During the committee markup, Stewart (R-OH) offered an amendment that read as follows: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be obligated or expended by the Department of Treasure to eliminate, waive, suspend, reduce, or otherwise relieve sanctions programs against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The amendment was supported in Committee by Granger (R-TX) and Womack (R-AR), with a number of Democrats speaking in opposition (you can watch consideration of the amendment in committee, starting at 5:39:44 in the video). In the end, amendment failed by a vote of 25-33. Nonetheless, the amendment is important for the clear message it conveys about Republican intent when it comes to Iran policy. That intent, as reflected in the amendment, is to preemptively oppose and block ANY agreement the Biden Administration might make with Iran (even one that hypothetically satisfied, for example, the Trump Administration’s 12 demands for Iran). For more on this, see this Twitter thread from NIAC’s Ryan Costello.
(LEBANON-HEZBOLLAH) HR 4230: Introduced 6/29 by Luria (D-VA) and Zeldin (D-NY), “To support the full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, reduce Hizballah’s influence in Lebanon, address security threats to Lebanon, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: Luria press release; US lawmakers introduce bill to press Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah (Jewish News Syndicate); Luria, Zeldin pursue crackdown on Hezbollah in Lebanon (Jewish Insider)
Passed under suspension of the Rules 6/29
- HR 3261 (To repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution)
- HR 3283 (To repeal the joint resolution entitled “A joint resolution to promote peace and stability in the Middle East”)
(ATTACKING ANOTHER MUSLIM NOMINEE) Risch et al letter to Cardin: On 6/30, Sen. Risch (R-ID) led a letter, cosigned by 7 Republican colleagues, to “express serious concern regarding Mr. Dilawar Syed, President Biden’s nominee to be Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), given his involvement with Emgage Action.” Risch announced the letter on Twitter; Hawley (R-MO), issued a press release (as well as many tweets). Syed, as it happens, is both Muslim and a immigrant. The Republican letter suggests Emgage is “vocally anti-Israel” and that Syed’s connection to Emgage “necessitates an additional hearing to ensure Mr. Syed’s confirmation to be the second-most-powerful individual at the SBA would not jeopardize small businesses with close ties to Israeli companies or small businesses owned by Jewish Americans.” A range of voices came to the defense of Syed and Emgage, including T’ruah’s Rabbi Jill Jacobs, and Joe Goldman, who tweeted, “I worked with Dilawar during my nearly 5 years at JCRC. He supports Israel’s right to exist, mentors Israeli entrepreneurs, & does so much to build stronger Muslim-Jewish partnerships at home. I’m disgusted to see Israel & antisemitism weaponized this way.” Also see media report on Risch letter: Republican senators alarmed by Biden nominee’s ties to ‘anti-Israel’ group (Fox News).. As a final note: this latest attack bolsters the impression that Republicans are now attacking literally every Biden nominee who is a person of color, Muslim, or an immigrant, with allegations of anti-Israel leanings. This particular attack is especially telling, given not only the defense of Emgage and Syed by mainstream Jewish voices, but also given the fact that Emgage itself has been dogged by controversy in the Muslim American community, based on allegations that is too cozy with pro-Israel forces (yes, you read that right). For more on this, see: Joe Biden, Emgage and the muzzling of Muslim America (Middle East Eye); Call to Muslim leaders to drop Emgage USA (Mondoweiss); On Emgage and its connection to Zionist groups (American Muslims for Palestine).
(BAD UNIVERSITY!) Gottheimer letter to Rutgers: On 6/28, Gottheimer (D-NJ) sent a letter to Rutgers University president Holloway, to express his alarm over a recent statement signed by members of the Executive Board of the Part-Time Lecturer Chapter of Rutgers AAUP-AFT (Local 6324), “which declared that ‘as teachers and union members, we can no longer allow ourselves to be complicit in the illegal acts of the Israeli government,’ accused Israel of ‘military actions that have targeted, killed and maimed civilian populations’ and of upholding ‘a regime of legalized racial discrimination perpetrated against the Palestinian people.’” Gottheimer notes that “To be sure, Rutgers’ part-time lecturers are entitled to hold their own opinions, even those which may be disagreeable,” but suggests that some speech (and the implication is that this statement is in that category) qualifies as “invective which singles out, disparages, delegitimizes, or demonizes Israel can and in many cases does fall outside of bounds” and links this to antisemtic attacks against Israel. He closes with: “Considering recent events, it is important to send a clear message that all Rutgers students and community members, including those who identify as being Jewish or pro-Israel, will not be singled out, penalized, or made to feel unwelcome at our state’s flagship university. I would ask you to please speak out clearly and quickly against this hate-filled misinformation campaign and rhetoric.” Also see: Gottheimer tweet – “In response to a recent anti-Israel statement from some part-time faculty at @RutgersU, I urged the university to take steps to ensure the wellbeing of the Jewish and pro-Israel community on campus” – linked to article, Congressman urges Rutgers University president to speak out against anti-Israel rhetoric by union (Jewish News Syndicate). Also see: Gottheimer wades into fight with Rutgers part-time lecturers’ union over Israel-Palestine conflict (New Jersey Globe)
(ISRAELI ARRESTS OF JOURNALISTS) Pocan letter to Blinken: On 6/24, Rep. Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to SecState Blinken expressing his “immense alarm over reports of the Israeli government carrying out arbitrary arrests of journalists on Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.” Pocan asks Blinken to “work with your Israeli counterparts to ensure the end of administrative detentions of journalists in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories,” to “work with your Israeli counterparts to secure the release of all journalists currently under administrative detention, particularly Bushra Al-Taweel,” and to “support efforts by journalists on the ground to report on the events taking place in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
This week the House Appropriations Committee began and finished its consideration of the FY22 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations (SFOPS) bill.
- Details (including video) of 6/28 SFOPS Subcommittee markup are here.
- Bill text adopted without changes by SFOPS subcommittee is here.
- SFOPS subcommittee’s Report accompanying the bill (laying out detailed congressional intent) is here.
- Details (including video) of 7/1 full Appropriations Committee markup are here.
- Amendments adopted in full committee markup – none of which have anything to do with the Middle East – are here.
House FY22 SFOPS – Middle East elements
The FY21 SFOPS Approps bill – House version – includes most of the usual Middle East-related provisions, including military aid for Israel (granted with all the usual special arrangements – early cash disbursal into an interest-bearing account, offshore procurement), almost unbelievably far-reaching conditions, limitations, restrictions, and other requirements with respect to aid for/relations with the Palestinians, and more.
For the Round-Up’s full summary/analysis of the Middle East-related provisions in the bill and its accompanying Report, see this special publication, here.
A summary/analysis of new and otherwise interesting Middle East-related highlights of the bill and the accompanying report is below.
New/Interesting Middle East-Related Highlights in House FY22 SFOPS bill/report
Highlight #1: NO CHANGE in conditions on US aid to PA & Palestinian US
At this time, the Biden Administration is reportedly pressing the PA to change its policies to address the demands of the Taylor Force Act (which bars aid that directly benefits the PA) and is reportedly working to re-start normal diplomatic relations with the Palestinians (which ostensibly means eventually allowing the re-opening the PLO mission in Washington). With that in mind, one might have expected the Biden Administration to have worked with Democratic leaders on the Appropriations Committee – and in particularly, SFOPS chair Lee (D-CA), who supposedly represents more progressive forces in the Democratic party – to amend or add waivers to existing ICC-related conditions in Sec. 7041 — conditions that bar US aid to the PA, and block the re-opening of the Palestinian Mission in the US, if the Palestinians are supporting any Israel-related action at the ICC. Instead, the SFOPS subcommittee produced (and approved) a bill in which the ICC-related conditions on aid and on the Palestinian mission in the US – for which there are no waivers and which have already been definitively violated by the pending case before the ICC – have been left intact and unchanged.
In so doing, House appropriators, under Democratic leadership and with bipartisan support, apparently are deliberately seeking to block any possibility of the Biden Administration re-starting aid to the PA or allowing the re-opening of the Palestinian mission in Washington.
How did this happen? A Biden Administration oversight/screw-up? A sign that the Biden Administration lacks the political will and political weight to convince Democrats on the Appropriations Committee to support to it policies? Or is this evidence that the political make-up of the SFOPS subcommittee – even under its new chairwoman – remains such that meaningful legislative change is still a remote hope when it comes to issues related to the Palestinians? For now, the answer is not known, but none of the possible answers make the Biden Administration or House Democrats look good.
Highlight #2: Did you hear about the “Massive” Increase in Aid to West Bank and Gaza?
The bill includes a hard earmark of $225 million for West Bank and Gaza programs. Some critics of aid to the Palestinians are disingenuously (or perhaps just ignorantly) framing this as a “massive” increase in such aid, compared to prior years. Why disingenuous? Because in truth this is more or less a reversion to the funding level that existed before the Trump Administration and Congress began playing games with aid to the Palestinians during FY16-FY19. The data on US aid to the Palestinians over the past decade (covered in detail in by the Congressional Research Service here and here) tell the whole story:
FY12 – $496 million
FY13 – $437 million
FY14 – $440 million
FY15 – $361 million (decrease from prior year reflecting end of direct financial assistance to PA)
FY16 – $263 million (decrease from prior year reflecting budget caps, with West Bank/Gaza ESF coming from OCO; & reflecting deliberate effort to reduce INCLE)
FY17 (CBJ) – $362.6 million
FY17 (actual) – $61 million
The FY17 budget sent to Congress by the Obama Administration included $362.6 million for the Palestinians. The decrease in actual funding provided to the Palestinians compared to the prior year was due to the Trump Administration’s decision to suspend all funding for the Palestinians pending a “review” of US policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians (the amount actually provided was largely funding already in the pipeline).
FY18 (CBJ) – $251 million
FY18 (actual) – $36 million
The Trump Administration’s FY18 budget sent to Congress included $251 million for the Palestinians. The decrease in actual funding provided to the Palestinians reflected Trump’s suspension of all assistance that might benefit a Palestinian person, as a punitive response to the Palestinians’ less-than-ecstatic reaction to Trump’s December 2017 announcement that he was solving the issue of Jerusalem by taking it off the table. The only Palestinian-related funding that was allowed through during this fiscal year was INCLE (for Palestinian-Israel security cooperation, which is, in effect, aid to Israel via the Palestinians) and a small amount of CMM for internal purposes (i.e., inside the Green Line).
FY19 (CBJ) – $250 million
FY19 (actual) – $0.6 million
Notwithstanding Trump’s FY18 punitive suspension of Palestinian funding, the Trump Administration’s FY19 budget sent to Congress included $250 million for the Palestinians. The decrease in actual funding provided for the West Bank and Gaza, compared to the prior year, reflected (a) Trump’s continued anger at the Palestinians, and (b) the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which led the Palestinians to refuse all US aid (exactly as predicted, well in advance, in the Round-Up). The $600,000 that did get spent was all INCLE, obligated prior to ATCA coming into force. Notably, the signing into law of the Taylor Force Act in March 2018 theoretically might have played a role in reducing aid spend for the West Bank and Gaza in FY19, but in point of fact it was irrelevant, since Trump didn’t seek to fund the Palestinians in any case, even in categories specifically exempted under TFA.
FY 20 (CBJ) – $35 million
FY20 (actual) – $150 million
Reflecting Trump’s continued anger at and contempt for the Palestinians, his FY20 budget sent to Congress included only $35 million for the Palestinians, all of it INCLE for Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation (which, again, is in effect aid to Israel via the Palestinians). But in the FY20 SFOPS bill (which passed as part of an omnibus), Congress – frustrated with the Trump Administration sitting on funding for the West Bank and Gaza – began earmarking Palestinian aid (via explicit earmarks in the Conference Report). This earmarking also reflected a Democratic demand linked to “fixing” ATCA (i.e., amending it so that it no longer was an obstacle to aid to the Palestinians), which was also part of the FY20 omnibus bill.
FY21 (CBJ) – Zeroed out funding for Palestinians (but actually as much as $225 million)
FY21 – $150 million
This was Trump’s lame duck budget. In this budget he zeroed out aid for the Palestinians (including, remarkably, zeroing out INCLE money). BUT, he did hold out a carrot for the Palestinians under a new invention (never implemented) called “the Diplomatic Progress Fund.” This was in effect a slush fund to bribe/reward countries for giving in to the Trump Administration’s diplomatic arm twisting (or as it was expressed in the CBJ, to give State and USAID “the flexibility to use foreign assistance to support critical diplomatic efforts that may emerge in the future, such as progress on a plan for Middle East peace…The creation of this fund sends a clear signal that additional support from the United States can be made available for governments that choose to engage positively to advance peace and/or shared diplomatic goals.”). The CBJ budgeted $200 million in “Economic Support & Development Funds” (yes, they also decided to re-name ESF in this CBJ – a change that also didn’t stick), as well as $25 million in INCLE for the Diplomatic Progress Fund (see reporting on it from that time, here). On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill for FY21, which defied the Trump budget and again included earmarks in the Conference Report totaling $150 million for the West Bank and Gaza (in a copy/past of the prior year’s bill).
FY22 (CBJ) – $219 million
FY22 (in House SFOPS) – $225 million
House Appropriators’ inclusion of $225 million for the West Bank and Gaza in this year’s SFOPS bill is an increase of $75 million over actual funding for the prior two years. Taking into account this historical background, however, this number is still less than the funding for the West Bank and Gaza included in Trump’s FY17, FY18, and FY19 budgets, and is still significantly lower than Palestinian aid levels pre-Trump. Notablu, what is perhaps more significant than the amount of the funding is the fact that this year, for the first time, the West Bank/Gaza earmark has actually made it into bill text (as opposed to the Report). Earmarks in either case are binding, but including the earmark in the bill text sends a much stronger message of Congressional intent.
Highlight #3: A Green Light for “Re-Opening” U.S. Consulate in
The bill text doesn’t mention Jerusalem at all, but the Report that accompanies the bill explicitly green lights the “re-opening” of a U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. [The term “re-open” in this context should always be in quotes, since what is being proposed by the Biden Administration would not mean re-establishing the US Consulate General as it operated at that time it was closed in 2018. At that time it functioned as an independent US diplomatic mission comparable to an embassy, responsible for representing the US in the territorial areas of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem, dealing with both Israelis and Palestinians in those areas. What is being proposed today is a “consulate” in Jerusalem that would exist solely to engage Palestinains – in effect leaving settlers/settlements under the authority of the US embassy. If the Biden Administration indeed does this, it will be embracing and doubling down on the Trump Administration’s shift in US policy to treat settlements as indistinguishable from Israel].
Highlight #4: House Appropriators Really, Really Want Peace!
This SFOPS text, as always, fully embodies the principles of unconditional/unaccountable support for Israel, alongside (a) massively conditioned/restricted/limited assistance to the Palestinains, and (b) using aid as a weapon to disincentive and punish any Palestinian efforts to legally, non-violently work for Palestinian rigths (i.e., at the UN or the ICC).
The Report continues to carry that approach further, once again hijacking the bill language opposing the Arab League boycott of Israel (which is what is known as a “coercive boycott,” in that it seeks to compel people to boycott Israel as a condition for doing business with and in Arab League countries) to go after “companies, international organizations, countries, and other organizations, including state investment vehicles” for boycotting, divesting from, or sanctioning “Israel or Israeli entities” as a matter of political free speech or, with respect to settlements, consistent with the requirements of international law (the term “Israeli entities” is a term of art used here to, in effect, make it US policy to treat settlements as part of Israel).
All of this notwithstanding, the Report accompanying the bill includes three parts that some will point at to argue that Appropriators really do support peace and are more courageous than they might otherwise appear.
The first is in the section on military aid to Israel, which after expressing total unconditional support for Israel offers the meekest possible formulation of concern for how Israel is using MOU-related equipment (concerns not for the rights of Palestinians or violations of US arms control law, but concerns about undermining “prospects of a negotiated two-state solution”):
“…The Committee reaffirms its support for the 2016 United States—Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which demonstrates the unshakable commitment of the United States to the security of Israel and to ensuring that Israel’s qualitative military edge and defense capabilities are maintained. The Committee notes the continued importance of Israel as a major strategic partner and ally of the United States in an unstable and critical region of the world. The Committee strongly believes in the right and ability of Israel to defend itself against the wide range of threats it faces and believes that a close United States—Israel security partnership benefits the interests of both countries. The Committee further believes that by contributing to a safe and secure Israel, United States assistance also positively contributes to broader efforts aimed at achieving a negotiated two-state solution. Therefore, the Committee urges the Secretary of State to address in bilateral consultations with Israel the importance of ensuring that MOU-supported equipment is not used in any way that undermines the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution.” [underlining added for emphasis]
The second is a section tacked into the Report that boils down to, in effect, a non-binding Sense of Congress in support of peace and the two-state solution (and actually using the word “settlements.”):
“Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.—The Committee reaffirms the long-standing, bipartisan support for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, and notes that a negotiated two-state solution is essential to achieving the goal of a democratic Jewish State of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. The Committee remains concerned by the absence of direct negotiations and urges both sides to refrain from engaging in unilateral action that jeopardizes the chances for dialogue and returning to the negotiating table, or of eventual achievement of a two-state solution. This includes Palestinian incitement of violence and pursuing recognition as a state and membership in international organizations in lieu of achieving a two-state solution through negotiations. This also includes Israeli annexation or settlement expansion outside of an agreement negotiated between the two sides. The Committee fully supports efforts that foster reconciliation and engagement, and therefore recommends $50,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act for fiscal year 2022 in order to continue critically needed people-to-people programming and joint economic partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The third is in a section related to Palestinian aid, which notes:
“The Committee recommendation includes $225,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for humanitarian and development assistance for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza and believes such assistance is critical to promoting stability and democratic governance as well as re-engaging with Palestinian civil society. The Committee urges the Secretary of State to continue supporting—with United States assistance— Palestinian economic development, security coordination, and Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, which are the underpinnings to any sustainable two-state solution. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to promptly inform the Committees on Appropriations of any alleged incident involving any United States assistance used in such a way that adversely affects or jeopardizes these objectives.”
No doubt some will celebrate these nods toward peace (and the mentions of the “two-state solution” and “settlements” and the tiniest concern about Israel’s use of US military equipment) as a source of hope. That is their prerogative, but the fact is that the bill itself, and the binding parts of the Report — i.e., the stuff that will actually impact policy and people’s lives – send a very different message.
Highlight #5: Non-Waivable Conditions on Part of Egypt’s Aid.
The bill withholds $150 million of Egypt’s aid subject to a certification that Egypt is meeting a laundry list of requirements (related to human rights, democracy, rule of law, etc.) but also allows the Secretary of State to waive that certification if it is “important to the national security interest of the United States.” What is new this year is the addition of two new withholding requirements for which there are no waivers. These are: $135 million in military assistance shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that “the Government of Egypt is making clear and consistent progress in releasing political prisoners and providing detainees with due process of law”; and $15 million in military aid shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that “the Government of Egypt has provided American citizens with fair and commensurate compensation for injuries suffered as a result of an attack against a tour group by the Egyptian military.” For more on how this went down in the SFOPS subcommittee, check out coverage/analysis from POMED’s Seth Binder, here.
See Section 2, above, for details on the House Appropriations SFOPS subcommittee and Full Committee markups of the FY22 SFOPS approps bill.
On July 28-29, various subcommittees of the House Armed Services are scheduled to mark up the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). On September 1, the Full Committee will markup the entire bill. Details are here.
Members on the Record
re: Save Silwan, Save Sheikh Jarrah
Newman (D-IL) 7/1: Floor speech- STOP PALESTINIAN EVICTIONS
Carson (D-IN) 6/29: Tweet – “Palestinian people in Silwan continue to live under threat of home demolition and displacement. When the U.S. fails to uphold its values in foreign policy, people notice and children suffer the most.”
Garcia (D-IL) 6/29: Tweet – “Homes are next in Silwan, East Jerusalem. 1,500 Palestinians—including 900+ children—face displacement right now. Residents defending their property are met with extreme violence by Israeli forces. We must not look away. #SaveSilwan #SaveSheikhJarrah”. Linked to video of Silwan demolition. [Re-tweeted by Tlaib (D-MI)]
Pressley (D-MA) 6/29: “I stand in solidarity with the residents of Silwan’s Al-Bustan neighborhood who are facing the demolition of their homes by the Israeli government. The violent dispossession of Palestinians is a clear violation of international law. @SecBlinken must act.” Linked to Al Jazeera English video report on Silwan. [Re-tweeted by Garcia (D-IL)]
Pocan (D-MI) 6/29: Tweet – “#SaveSilwan”. Linked to tweet from Mohammed El-Kurd, “There’s a strategy in starting with demolishing a shop—not a house. Today there won’t be photos of crying homeless families & destroyed furniture. By the time they demolish homes, people will be desensitized & the news cycle will have moved on. Can’t let that happen. #SaveSilwan”. Pocan also re-tweeted (1) Al Jazeera English video report on Silwan; (2) IMEU tweet, “Earlier today, Israeli forces arrived to the al-Bustan area of Silwan to demolish a butcher shop owned by Palestinian Harby Rajabi. This is part of Israel’s plan to forcibly displace Palestinians from Silwan to build a religious theme park. #SaveSilwan”; (3) Tweet with video of Israeli forces beating owner of the shop that was demolished
re: President Rivlin Comes to Washington
Wilson (R-SC) 6/30: floor statement [excerpt: “Allies stand together. Thank you, President Rivlin, for your incredible insight on the murderous threat of Iran. Israel is vigilant in monitoring Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile development, which would deliver nuclear warheads against North America.”]
Pelosi (D-CA) 6/29: Tweet – “Honored to welcome His Excellency Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel, to the United States Capitol yesterday. Support for Israel has always been and will continue to be bipartisan due to our shared values and mutual security concerns.”
Kustoff (D-TN) 6/29: Tweet – “Last night, I met with the President of the State of Israel,@PresidentRuvi. The U.S. and Israel have an unbreakable bond, and it was an honor to speak with President Rivlin to reiterate my support for Israel’s unequivocal right to defend herself.”
House Republicans 6/28: Tweet – “WATCH: President Biden needed to consult his notes to remember that Israel has a right to defend itself.” Linked to video clip of Biden…consulting notes (gasp).
Pelosi (D-CA) 6/28: Pelosi Remarks at Photo Opportunity with His Excellency Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel
Pelosi (D-CA) 6/28: Tweet – “Join me live at the U.S. Capitol with His Excellency Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel, ahead of a bipartisan leadership meeting.”
re: Another Manufactured Israel-focused Controversy targeting Ilhan Omar
Once again, Rep. Omar (D-MN) is under attack. Jewish Current’s Noah Kulwin does a great job summarizing the situation:
“The ‘controversy’ this week began with a Jake Tapper interview on Wednesday in which the CNN anchor uncharitably asked Omar whether she regretted her earlier comments about the Taliban and the offense taken by her Jewish colleagues. Without naming Jewish colleagues specifically, Omar replied that she didn’t regret the comments and that many of her colleagues in the House seem not to be ‘partners in justice,’ that they ‘haven’t been equally engaging in seeking justice around the world’ as she has. A version of this interview edited by the National Republican Congressional Committee quickly made the rounds on Twitter, from which it spread throughout right-wing media—which, without Trump to cheer on, has increasingly come to rely on Omar as a reliable antagonist who can be publicly excoriated by members of both parties on the thinnest of pretexts. Emerson T. Brooking, a researcher at the Atlantic Council, recently published a nifty quantitative analysis of this phenomenon, noting that while ‘Omar ‘controversies’ are largely orchestrated by far-right media […] Democrats make them worse.’”
Also doing a great job summing it up was Cicilline (D-RI), who on 6/29 Tweeted – “There they go again… right wingers in Washington are once again claiming Rep. @Ilhan Omar said something she didn’t say, and trying to create a controversy where there is none. It’s pathetic that they are (once again) demonizing a young woman of color to score political points.” In response, Omar tweeted: “It’s their mission to turn and twist everything I say until I am completely silenced. Demonizing voices for justice is part of their playbook and it won’t work here. I am grateful to colleagues like you who are my partners in our fight for justice and equality at home and abroad.” Omar also published a lengthy (and quite beautiful) thread on the long history of Black-Jewish solidarity in fight against antisemitism and fighting for justice. Subsequently, this happened: Jewish Democrats Back Ilhan Omar Following ‘Partners in Justice’ Controversy (Haaretz)
Jackson (R-TX) 7/1: Tweet – “Anti-Semite and Anti-American Ilhan Omar said she doesn’t regret comparing Israel and the U.S. to the Taliban. This new Radical-Left is not only deranged; they’re pure EVIL. If you hate America – LEAVE!”
Mullin (R-OK) 7/1: Tweet – “This week, Rep. @Ilhan Omar told @CNN that she did not regret equating the U.S. and Israel with the Taliban, and instead blamed Jewish lawmakers for, ‘not being partners in justice.’ This blatant anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric has no place in Congress.”
Cammack (R-FL) 6/30: Twitter thread – “I cannot even begin fathom how someone can put the United States and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban. What’s even more disturbing? When given the opportunity to walk back her original comments, she refused to do so. (1/3) Positions like these are dangerous, and have rightfully received bi-partisan condemnation, but Nancy Pelosi is all words and no action. She’s the one who has the power to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, but as expected, she refuses to do so. (2/3) The Democratic Party is consistently being held hostage by extremists like Omar and their anti-Semitic, anti-police, and anti-American rhetoric. When will they wake up and recognize it? (3/3)”. Linked to article, Ilhan Omar tells CNN: ‘I don’t’ regret equating US and Israel with the Taliban, blames Jewish lawmakers” (Fox News) [NOTE: on quick reading that headline looks like a quote from Omar; in fact, the only part this is an actual quote are the words “I don’t”]
Gimenez (R-FL) 6/29: Tweet – “This shocks no one. That’s why I led several of my colleagues in demanding @SpeakerPelosi remove Congresswoman Omar from her committee assignments, including the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We stand with Israel and the Jewish people.” Linked to article, Omar says she doesn’t regret past comments on Israel (The Hill)
Burchett (R-TN) 6/29: Tweet – “The difference is if we lay down our weapons along with Israel we will be destroyed, if the Taliban and Hamas do we will have peace.” Linked to video clip of Jake Tapper’s interview with Omar, tweeted by the communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee).
Ernst (R-IA) 7/1: Tweet – “The Biden Administration must not cave to the largest state sponsor of terrorism. Do not re-enter the failed Iran Nuclear Deal.” Linked to article, US must guarantee it will not leave nuclear deal again, says Iran (The Guardian)
Steube (R-FL) 6/30: Tweet – “While President Biden acts like he is tough on terrorism, his half-hearted steps to hold Iran and their militias accountable does not nearly go far enough.” Linked to article (promoting Steube’s HR 2117), GOP Wants Sanctions on Iran-Backed Terror Group Targeted in Biden Airstrike (Free Beacon)
Hagerty (R-TN) 6/29: Tweet – “Congress should pass my Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act to ensure it gets an up-or-down vote on any future sanctions relief to the Ayatollah and his terror-sponsoring regime in Iran.” Linked to article, Biden admin weighs lifting sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (NBC News)
Lankford (R-OK) 6/29: Tweet – “Iran is the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism. Rejoining any agreement w/o first ensuring Iran’s terrorist & nuclear activities have ended is a risk to US national security. Congress must stop the Admin from re-entering any nuclear deal with Iran.” Linked to article, Biden and the Iran-Backed Militias (Wall Street Journal)
Menendez (D-NJ) 6/28: Statement from Chairman Menendez on U.S. Airstrikes Targeting Iran-Backed Militias
Wilson (R-SC) 6/28: Tweet – “Iran-backed militias are a direct threat to American families. I commend the administration for taking swift action and striking back on these terror groups in response to their recent attacks on U.S. troops.” Linked to article, US military launches airstrikes against three facilities on Iraq-Syria border (Fox News)
Massie (R-KY) 6/28: Tweet – “In the wake of a missile attack against Iran in Iraq, I was one of only three republicans (@RepMattGaetz was another) who voted with dems to limit President Trump’s power to attack Iran. Which democrats are consistent enough to demand that same vote now that Biden is President?”
Wittman (R-VA) 6/28: Tweet – “The Biden Admin continues to consider a return to the Iran Nuclear Deal even as we strike Iran’s proxies in #Iraq and #Syria . If #Iran can be trusted with nuclear materials, then why are these air strikes necessary? If not, then why is the Admin so eager to re-enter this deal?”
Pelosi (D-CA) 6/27: Pelosi Statement on Defensive Airstrikes in the Iraq-Syria Border Region
Slotkin (D-MI) 6/27: Twitter thread – “I’m following tonight’s announcement from the Pentagon that the U.S. has carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia groups near the Syrian-Iraqi border. Iran continues to prop up Shia militias in Iraq and Syria that launch attacks against American forces, and the number and complexity of these attacks has increased in the past year. The U.S. always reserves the right to take an appropriate, measured response to defend itself and our people abroad, and that seems to be what we’ve done in this instance. I expect Congress to be briefed on the full details as soon as possible.”
Tenney (R-NY) 6/27: Tweet – “Iran’s Supreme Leader is dangerous. He has American blood on his hands & oversees the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. @POTUS must not lift sanctions on him – doing so would send the wrong signal to dictators & despots around the world.” Linked to article, Biden considering lifting sanction of Iran’s supreme leader – NBC (Jerusalem Post)
Cruz (R-TX) 7/1: Tweet – “Under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, it’s the radicals who are driving the agenda. With the border, open border radicals are in charge. With Israel, anti-Israel radicals are in charge.” Linked to video clip of Cruz on Fox News
Hill (R-AR) 7/1: Tweet – “Since being elected to Congress, I have been a proud supporter of the strategic partnership between the United States and Israel. I am honored to have the endorsement of Pro-Israel America reflecting my commitment to keeping our alliance strong.” Linked to tweet/press release, Pro-Israel America Announces 22 New Congressional Endorsements for the 2022 Election Cycle
Cruz (R-TX) 7/1: Tweet – “Really sad. Academic Leftists reveling in lies & anti-Semitism. Want to know why the Dem party is embracing more & more of the Squad’s angry anti-Israel policies & rhetoric? Our nation’s ‘elite’ universities teaching hate is a big part of the problem.” Linked to article, Yale student council approves statement accusing Israel of ‘genocide’ and ‘apartheid’ (JTA)
Hill (R-AR) 6/29: Floor statement in support of H. Res. 117, “which calls on the Egyptian Government to end the culture of impunity for attacks on Christians and to undertake the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of individuals who carry out attacks on Copts and other Christians in Egypt.”
Risch (R-ID) 6/29: Tweet – “The opening of the first #Israeli embassy in #AbuDhabi is a welcome and historic development. It represents an important step towards implementation of the #AbrahamAccords. It is my sincere hope this will serve as the basis for further normalization and regional peace.”
Gosar (R-AZ) 6/29: Tweet – “1) An America First foreign policy means supporting true allies with a mutually beneficial relationship. Anyone even slightly familiar with my record sees a 10 year history of support for Israel. The current hysteria by the left is not fact based and does not reflect reality.” [re: fundraiser with Holocaust denier]
Garbarino (R-NY) 6/29: Tweet – “I recently spoke on the House Floor in honor of Long Island native and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. His historic achievements strengthened the U.S. – Israel relationship and made Long Islanders proud. WATCH my remarks below.”
Hagerty (R-TN) 6/29: Tweet – “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East. We must always stand with them.”
Blackburn (R-TN) 6/28: Tweet – “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. I stand with Israel 100%.”
Risch (R-ID) 6/28: Tweet – “Iran’s lapse of the agreement with @iaeaorg is just one more example of why the regime cannot be trusted. The Iranians must agree to extend this agreement immediately. Continuing U.S.-#Iran talks amidst these issues is beyond unconscionable.”
Levin (D-MI) 6/28: Tweet – “As #PrideMonth nears an end, I want to celebrate the raucous Pride March and party in Tel Aviv, which drew over 100,000 people. Like the US, Israel has plenty of room to improve on LGBTQIA+ rights (like letting queer people marry in-country). But it’s well along on the journey.”
Gottheimer (D-NJ) 6/27: Tweet – “We must crack down on Hamas’ ability to acquire financial resources, for the sake of protecting our key ally Israel & ensuring stability in the Middle East. This is a vital issue of national security, & my new bipartisan bill would help tackle it.” Linked to article, Bipartisan bill seeks to block funding to Hamas and other terrorist groups (JNS)
Garcia (R-CA) 6/27: Tweet – “Honored to meet and sit with Secretary of State @MikePompeo last night. He’s a real hero. From the Middle East, our partnership with Israel, China, and border security…the nation and world were safer because of President Trump and Secretary Pompeo’s policies…”
Portman (R-OH) 6/26: Tweet – “Normalization of relations between Israel and other countries in the region will help build on the success of the Abraham Accords, support our ally Israel & pave the way for a more peaceful and prosperous Middle East.” Linked to Portman’s 6/24 press release
Media & Other Reports
Another Ilhan Omar Media Pile-On
Israel Hayom 7/1: ‘Jewish colleagues haven’t been partners in justice,’ Omar blasts
Israel Hayom/JNS 7/2: Jewish leaders excoriate Ilhan Omar for latest bigoted rant
Newsweek 6/30: Ilhan Omar Doubles Down on Israel Remarks, Sparking Outrage
Jerusalem Post 6/30: Ilhan Omar defends comments comparing Israel, US to Hamas, Taliban
The Hill 6/29: Omar says she doesn’t regret past comments on Israel
Jewish Insider 7/2: A budding Senate campaign in North Carolina [excerpt: “Budd, an evangelical Christian, has visited Israel twice, in 1998 and 2013, both biblical tours of the Jewish state…Budd commended Trump’s foreign policy achievements in the Middle East, including the Abraham Accords agreements between Israel and a number of Arab nations that his administration helped broker. Now, Budd believes that President Joe Biden is undoing that progress. ‘It just seems with the promotion of the Palestinians, it has, you know, as being hostile to Israel, we’ve just seen a lot of unforced errors in the last six months and so much chaos as a result of that,’ he told JI. ‘We were having increasing peace in the Middle East under Trump and a devolving of peace under Biden.’]”
Jewish Insider 7/1: Pro-Israel America announces new batch of 2022 congressional endorsements
Detroit News 6/29: How Rashida Tlaib’s Fight for Palestinian Rights Plays in Congress
Times of Israel 6/30: Republican senator [Lindsey Graham] warns that Iran-Israel war is nearing
Jewish Journal 6/30: Freshman Democrat Congressman’s Lessons on Engaging Progressives with Zionism
Jewish Insider 6/30: Inside the meeting between Rivlin and members of Congress
Jewish Insider 6/30: Pro-Israel House Democrats endorse Shontel Brown in heated Ohio race
Center for Global Development 6/30: How Congress Is Turning DFC into an Agency Serving Poland and Israel but not Senegal or Ghana
Jewish News Syndicate 6/28: Democrats in Congress urge Biden to reverse Trump policies on Israeli settlements
Inkstick 6/25: Congress Has The Power To Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers