Legislative Round-Up: July 23, 2021

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

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Hearings & Markups
3. On the Record

More great FMEP programming:

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(TARGETING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS OVER IRAN) HR 4592: Introduced 7/21 by Hill (R-AR) and Laswon (D-FL), “To require the President to report on financial institutions’ involvement with officials of the Iranian Government, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. Also see: Hill press release.

(TURKEY POLITICAL PRISONERS) S. 2403 & HR 4546: Introduced 7/21 in the Senate by Markey (D-MA), Wyden (D-OR) and Merkley (D-OR), and in the House by Jeffries (D-NY) and Cheney (R-WY), “A bill to assist those subject to politically motivated charges in Turkey, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on International Affairs, respectively.

(ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE) H. Res. 550: Introduced 7/22 by Harder D-CA), Eshoo (D-CA) and Schiff (D-CA), “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding United States policy recognizing the Assyrian Genocide.” Includes resolving that the U.S. “call upon the Republic of Turkey to officially recognize the Assyrian Genocide.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.


(END US TAX-EXEMPT STATUS FOR SETTLEMENT SUPPORTING ORGS) Tlaib letter to Yellen: On 7/22, Rep. Tlaib (D-MI) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen expressing “extreme concern that U.S. charities are are funding and providing direct support to Israeli organizations that are working to expand and perpetuate Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, including supporting the dispossession and forced displacement of Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods.” The letter goes on to express concern “that these policies violate U.S. obligations under international law, as well as federal tax law.” The letter asks Yellen to answer a series of questions about the issue (by August 22) and closes by noting, “We look forward to your response and working with you to enhance due diligence and compliance measures to ensure that U.S.-based entities supporting the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise are prohibited from obtaining 501(c)(3) status under U.S. tax law.” Also see: Tlaib tweet about the letter.

2. Hearings & Markups

FY22 NDAA: the Senate Armed Services Committee and its subcommittees marked up various parts of the FY22 NDAA July 19-22; the House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to take up the bill July 28-29. The bill will be covered in the Round-Up after that.

August 3: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled, Authorizations of Use of Force: Administration Perspectives. Scheduled witnesses are Department of State Acting Legal Advisor Richard Visek and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. The following day, the Committee will hold a business meeting to consider S. J. Res. 10, to repeal the authorizations for use of military force against Iraq (and other pending calendar business).

July 29: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism will hold a hearing entitled, Lebanon: Assessing Political Paralysis, Economic Crisis and Challenges for U.S. Policy. Witnesses will be: Mona Yacoubian, United States Institute of Peace; Henri J. Chaoul, Ph.D., Former Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Lebanon; Randa Slim, Middle East Institute; and David Schenker, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

July 21: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, People to People: Examining Grassroots Peacebuilding Efforts Between Israelis and Palestinians. Witnesses were: Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, USIP (statement), Nada Majdalani, EcoPeace Middle East (statement), Meredith Mishkin Rothbart, Amal-Tikva (statement), and Daniel Runde, CSIS (statement). Video of the hearing is here. Tweet gushing about the hearing from Committee chair Deutch (D-FL) is here.

July 21: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, U.S. Policy on Turkey. The sole scheduled witness was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland (statement). Video is here. Also see: Chairman Menendez (D-NJ) opening statement.

3. On the Record

Members on the Record

Re: Siding with Greater Israel/settlements over a US company’s right to free speech (and in many cases slandering the US company and demanding sanctions against it as a demonstration of support for Israel, defined to mean Israel + West Bank)

Gottheimer (D-NJ) 7/23: Tweets – “The persistent effort to boycott Israel, like Ben & Jerry’s recent decision, is wrong, biased, & it’s a double standard. It doesn’t promote peace. It only intends to demonize one side of the conflict. I oppose BDS & other discriminatory efforts to target our ally Israel.” and “I hope @benandjerrys & their parent company @unilever will reconsider this misinformed decision.

Lankford (R-OK) 7/23: Tweet – “Ben & Jerrys decision to support the BDS movement is the latest example of corporate wokeism. In Oklahoma we have laws that permit the state to boycott companies who boycott Israel from being sold in any state-owned facility. We should enforce our own law.” Including audio of Lankford bashing Ben and Jerry’s, in which he calls settlements “sections of Israel”

Tills (R-NC) 7/22: Tweet – “Let me get this straight, while @benandjerrys boycotts our ally Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, its parent company @Unilever recently invested $112 million in an ice cream factory in Communist China, where the regime forces Uighur Muslims into concentration camps.

Rice (D-NY) 7/22: Tweet – I strongly oppose the antisemitic BDS movement whose stated goal is the elimination of the only Jewish state, our ally Israel. Those seeking to single out and delegitimize Israel with destructive boycotts do nothing to promote peace.

Cruz (R-TX) 7/22: Tweet – Discrimination against Israel & Israeli Jews is hate, pure and simple. Americans shouldn’t stand for it. #BenAndJerrysBigotry”. Linked to FDD article, Double Scoops and Double Standards Courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s (Newsweek)

Zeldin (R-NY) 7/21: Tweet – “Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever are the ones that should be frozen out due to this boycott. This isn’t about ice cream. This is about bowing to the liberal woke mob & anti-Israel, antisemitic hate. Pursuant to a 2016 Executive Order, NY must cease doing business with these companies!”

Lankford (R-OK) 7/21: Twitter thread – “#Benandjerrys has now decided they know more about Jerusalem than the Israelis. If Ben & Jerry’s wants to have a meltdown & boycott Israel, OK is ready to respond. Oklahoma has an anti-boycott of Israel law in place” and “We should immediately block the sale of all #Benandjerrys in the state and in any state-operated facility to align with our law.” [not what the law actually says]

Kustoff (R-TN) 7/20: Tweet – “I joined @seanspicer, @LyndsayMKeith, and @RepGregMurphy on @newsmax tonight. We discussed how #inflation is taxation and that Ben and Jerry’s boycott decision is dangerous and discriminatory to our great ally Israel. Watch my full interview below.”

Zeldin (R-NY) 7/20: Tweet – “New York State needs to follow its own Executive Order, lead by example, and disassociate entirely from Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s for their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discrimination. Read my full statement” – linked to statement which itself is linked to New York’s Executive Order (which refers only to Israel, not the “territories under Israeli control” or any other formula that might mean the settlements)

Kustoff (R-TN) 7/20: Tweet – Ben and Jerry’s boycott decision is absolutely dangerous and discriminatory against Israel.

Reschenthaler (R-PA) 7/20: Tweet – “The left is being taken over by people who hate America and Israel.” Linked to Bush (D-MO)’s 7/19 tweet (below).

Scott (R-FL) 7/20: Tweet – “Let’s be clear – what @benandjerrys is doing is a boycott against Israel. I stand with Israel against this disgusting decision.” Linked to Ben & Jerry’s statement that it is ending sales in the Occupied Territories.

Tenney (R-NY) 7/19: Tweet – “The BDS movement is antisemitic at its core. It’s shameful that a prominent American company would legitimize a movement that promotes antisemitism and demonizes the Israeli people.” Linked to Ben & Jerry’s statement that it is ending sales in the Occupied Territories.

King (R-NY) 7/19: Tweets – “Absolutely reprehensible that @benandjerrys will no longer sell Ice Cream in Israel’s West Bank settlements. Ben and Jerry’s has disgraced itself by caving in to anti-Jewish bigotry. (1/2)” and “Israel is the pillar of democracy in a region of chaos and over the years has made every effort to reach a fair and just compromise with the Palestinians only to be rebuffed. I condemn Ben and Jerry’s and am proud to stand with Israel!”

Barr (R-KY) 7/19: Tweet – “The anti-Semitic BDS movement against Israel is out of control. @benandjerrys should be ashamed. I’ll get my ice cream from somewhere else… How about you @JoeBiden?” Linked to Ben & Jerry’s statement that it is ending sales in the Occupied Territories.

Re: Defending a US company’s right to protest policies of a foreign government

*crickets* except for…

Bush (D-MO) 7/19: Tweet – “I know where I’m getting my ice cream today. Who’s coming with?” Linked to tweet from Ben & Jerry’s announcement of ceasing sales in settlements.

Re: Concern about Israeli surveillance companies

*crickets* except for…

Doggett (D-TX) 7/20: Tweet – “Like Trump, Israel is aiding a repressive, murderous Saudi regime.” Linked to article, Israeli Companies Aided Saudi Spying Despite Khashoggi Killing (New York Times)

Castro (D-TX) 7/19: Tweet – “Deeply troubling @washingtonpost report on an Israeli firm exporting surveillance technology that enables authoritarian governments to spy on citizens, including journalists & human rights activists. Congress needs to investigate this threat to democracy.” Linked to WaPo article, Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide

Re: Iran

Toomey (R-PA) 7/22: Toomey Meets with Masih Alinejad, Iranian-American Dissident Journalist and Target of Tehran’s Kidnapping Plot

McConnell (R-KY) 7/21: floor speech – Iran-Backed Attacks and Foiled Kidnapping Plot Deserve Consequences, Not Accommodation

Herrell (R-NM) 7/21: Tweet – “The people of Iran have long suffered under brutal rulers, but a government which so harshly oppresses its own citizens cannot last. Freedom will prevail.” Linked to tweet by “Iranian Americans for Liberty”

Tenney (R-NY) 7/21: Tweet – “I strongly condemn the attacks on peaceful protestors by the regime in Iran. Like the Cuban people, the Iranian people want to be free & are demanding their basic rights. The clerical regime in Tehran does not represent the history, dynamism or future of the great Iranian people.”

Waltz (R-FL) 7/21: Tweet – Wishing the @iVOLinstitute delegation of Iranian-Americans all the best on their #CyrusIsraelMission. Bypassing the Iranian regime to directly connect the people of Iran & Israel is path to a peaceful future.” Linked to article, Iranian dissidents to visit Israel next week – why? (Jerusalem Post) [of possible interest here – Would-be monarch of Iran to brief umbrella org for US Jewish groups (Responsible Statecraft 7/6/21)]

Rubio (R-FL) 7/20: Tweet – “As the Iranian people peacefully demand freedom from the regime in #Tehran, Senator Rubio condemns the regime’s brutal use of force to disperse peaceful protesters. The U.S. should stand in support of the protesters instead of negotiating a deal with the evil regime in #Tehran.”

Wilson (R-SC) 7/20: Tweet – “The recent anniversary of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association bombing is a reminder of Iran’s continued destabilizing behavior in LatAm through its proxy Hezbollah I look forward to introducing legislation to further combat Iran’s hateful & destabilizing behavior in LatAm

Hyde-Smith (R-MS) 7/19: Tweet – “There shouldn’t be any question about imposing human rights sanctions on leaders in Iran. Their record of human rights violations is well known. @SenTedCruz bill would require @POTUS to impose sanctions against those responsible for these actions of corruption. More here:” Linked to her press release, Hyde-smith Backs Bill To Sanction Iranian Supreme Leader & President-elect

Rubio (R-FL) 7/18: Tweet – “As we commemorate 27 years since the terrorist attack against the #AMIA, perpetrated by members of Hezbollah, Senator Rubio joins the Argentine & Israeli communities as they pay tribute to the lives lost at the hands of Iranian-backed terrorists. #AMIA27años

Hagerty (R-TN) 7/17: Tweet – “It’s unconscionable that Biden is giving Iran another round of sanctions relief. I’ve joined @SenTedCruz & other colleagues in introducing legislation to impose human rights sanctions on Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, & the regime’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi.

Re: Miscellaneous

Murphy (D-CT) 7/22: Murphy, Young, Coons Statement on Qatar’s $100 Million Contribution for Humanitarian Support in Yemen

Rosen (D-NV) 7/22: Tweet – “Was pleased to meet with @KingAbdullahII to discuss the importance of the U.S.-Jordan partnership, my appreciation for the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and the need to strengthen the Abraham Accords to ensure security and peace in the region.”

Zeldin (R-NY) 7/21: Rep. Zeldin Talks Iran, Antisemitism with Orthodox Union

Risch (R-ID) 7/21: Ranking Member Risch Meets with His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan

Maloney (D-NY) 7/20: Congresswoman Maloney Commemorates 47 Years of Turkey’s Illegal Occupation in Cyprus

Deutch (D-FL) 7/20: Tweet – “July 18 marked 9 years since the bus bombing of Israeli tourists in Burgas. Bulgarian officials concluded Hezbollah-linked operatives were responsible. I commend the countries that have taken action & urge our European partners to designate entirety of Hezbollah a terrorist org

Malliotakis (R-NY) 7/20: Malliotakis Calls for Action on 47th Anniversary of Turkey’s Illegal Occupation of Cyprus

Pocan (D-WI) 7/19: Tweet –  “Well, when you do misleading mailings insinuating @ninaturner doesn’t support a $15 min wage or universal health care, people assume your moral compass is made of Charmin. Guess that’s working against you.” Linked to tweets from Democratic Majority for Israel, “A Nina Turner supporter is spewing hateful lies. We were not involved in Reps. Omar or Tlaib races. FEC reports back this up. In one cycle of existence, DMFI PAC spent more than a million dollars supporting more than 40 Democratic candidates of color…

Hagerty (R-TN) 7/19: Tweet – “We must always stand with our ally, Israel.” [reminder: Hagerty (R-TN) 7/29: Tweet – “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East. We must always stand with them.”]

Malliotakis (R-NY) 7/19: “Nicole met with new Israeli Prime Minister @naftalibennett while in Israel with @HouseForeign earlier this month. This trip was a unique opportunity for the #USA to reinforce & strengthen our relationship with our very important ally, Israel.” [with pic]

Tlaib (D-MI) 7/18: Tweet – “Why is Israel attacking Al Aqsa on Eid Al Adha (the holiest day for Muslims)? Why attack people who are literally kneeling down in prayer? Answer: To continue dehumanizing Palestinians even in prayer. It’s not enough to bomb them while they sleep or demolish their homes.” Linked to video of IDF actions on Temple Mt/Haram al Sharif

Green (R-GA) 7/18: Tweet responding to Tlaib (above) – “July 18th is Tisha B’Av fast, the day of the destruction of the Holy Temples. Why were Arabs throwing stones at Jews going to pray early in the morning. Eid al-Adha is July 20th. Stop lying to make Israel look bad, they are our ally.” Linked to article, ‘Arabs threw stones, the Waqf screamed at us‘ (Arutz Sheva)

Schneider (D-IL) 7/17: Tweet – Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip to Israel and Qatar with @HouseForeign . It was the first post-pandemic Congressional Delegation trip anywhere around the world, and I was proud to be a part of it.

Schneider (D-IL) 7/17: Tweet – “We met with government leaders, U.S. military leadership, and civil society leaders. The discussions covered a broad range of topics, including our special relationship with Israel, Israeli-Palestinian relations, preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and more.”

Murphy (D-CT) 7/16: Murphy Statement on Resignation of Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri


Media & Other Reports

NPR 7/23: Democrats Crowd Cleveland For A Primary That Reflects Party Tensions [“Outside groups have been fueling this race. One PAC, the Democratic Majority for Israel, has bought ads supporting Brown and opposing Turner, who has tweeted in support of Palestinians and criticized Israel.”]

Jerwish Insider 7/23:     New poll puts Shontel Brown within five points of Nina Turner in tightening OH-11 race [“The survey was conducted by the Mellman Group on behalf of Democratic Majority for Israel’s political action committee, which endorsed Brown in February and is spending heavily on TV advertising and direct mailers in the weeks leading up to the Democratic primary.”]

WGAU radio 7/22: Retired Colonel joins race for Congress [Georgia] [“Abroad, Colonel Sims took down terrorists in the Middle East and helped field Israel’s Iron Dome. Back home, he helped lead evacuation efforts for his unit and for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now he has a new mission: Congress.”]

JTA/Times of Israel 7/22: AIPAC-affiliated congressional trips to Israel delayed over COVID-19 concerns

The Forward 7/22: Likud’s Nir Barkat eyes leadership in Israel — and seeks allies in the US [“...In Washington, Barkat met with eight members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy; Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina; and Rep. Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat.”]

Jewish Insider 7/22: On Capitol Hill, King Abdullah II meets with senators to discuss U.S. policy and regional issues

Washington Post 7/21: Opinion: It’s time for the U.S. to stop selling weapons to human rights abusers

Salon.com 7/21: Who’s afraid of Nina Turner? Corporate Democrats, the Israel lobby and Big Pharma

Washington Post 7/20: Bipartisan bill aims to assert Congress’s power over arms sales, emergencies and military operations

Jewish Insider 7/20: Daniel Hernandez wants to be the next pro-Israel progressive in Congress

The Forward 7/19: GOP member of Congress: Israel trip was a unique exercise in bipartisanship