Israel’s Political Crisis and the Occupation – Webinar with Peace Now’s Dana Mills

Israel’s outgoing “change government” featured a creative makeup and some new domestic policies, but little change with regard to Israel’s relations with the Palestinians.

What was the Bennett government’s policy on West Bank settlement construction? What can we expect from Yair Lapid, the incoming prime minister? What has the outgoing government done in addressing other aspects of the conflict? What role will this issue play in the upcoming elections campaign? What does yet another election campaign mean for Israel's anti-occupation movement?

To answer these and other questions, join APN for a webinar with Peace Now’s acting executive director, Dr. Dana Mills, on Wednesday, July 6th at 11:00 Eastern Time. Mills will elaborate on Peace Now’s new report, which documents and analyzes the West Bank settlements policy of the outgoing government.

Register here.

Legislative Round-Up: June 24, 2022

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

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

FMEP Events:

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(FY23 STATE & FOREIGN OPS APPROPS BILL – HOUSE) HR XXXX: On 6/22/22, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations marked up (video) and approved the initial House draft of the FY23 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. This is the annual bill that includes funding for countries in the Middle East, including $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel, as well as far-reaching provisions related to the Palestinians. As always, much of the detail of the funding/provisions is not in the bill itself, but is in the Subcommittee’s Report that will accompany the bill, laying out the committee’s intent. That Report is expected to be published next week, so look for my detailed analysis of the Middle East provisions of this legislation in the next Round-Up. In the meantime:

  • One scoop-let from the bill text itself: The bill includes a new waiver provision (Sec. 7071) that would (conditionally & temporarily) enable the US to re-join UNESCO. “Conditionally” because the waiver requires that the Palestinians are not permitted to join any other UN bodies; “temporarily” because the waiver automatically expires on 9/30/25 unless extended by Congress. The text of that waiver reads: SEC . 7071. The President may waive section 414 of Public Law 101–246 and section 410 of Public Law 103–236 with respect to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization if the President determines and reports in writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the appropriate congressional committees that to do so would enable the United States to counter Chinese influence or to promote other national interests of the United States: Provided, That the authority of this section shall cease to have effect if, after enactment of this Act, the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians: Provided further, That the authority of this section shall sunset on September 30, 2025, unless extended in a subsequent Act of Congress.
  • The bill also appears to move some perennial provisions (including provisions related to the UNHRC and UNRWA) out of bill text and (reportedly) into the Report.

(FY23 DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL – HOUSE) HR 7900: On 6/22 the House Armed Services Committee held a marathon 16-hour markup of the FY23 Defense Authorization bill (part 1 video, part 2 video) – with many, many amendments offered, and many amendment adopted — at the end of which the Committee passed the bill by a vote of 57-1. HR 7900 now moves to the floor for consideration, in what will be, as always, an amendments-free-for-all (or as I like to call it, an “amendments-palooza). Stay tuned for full analysis of the base bill/report (which are not yet public) and full coverage of the amendments madness (bring popcorn!) in an upcoming edition of the Round-Up. Also see:

  • With respect to Israel and the Middle East, the key amendment adopted by the Committee was offered by Panetta (D-CA), who succeeded in getting the DEFEND Act [aiming to establish an integrated regional defense “architecture” that includes Israel and is aimed at Iran)l added to the bill , as part of an en bloc package of amendments. NOTE: (1) Panetta’s version of the DEFEND Act is similar but not identical to HR 7987 & S. 4366, (covered previously in the Round-Up). (2) As noted in last week’s Round-Up, the DEFENSE Act was also reportedly added to the Senate version of the FY23 NDAA – but that text has not yet been made public.
  • From Murphy (D-FL) press release – “The bill also includes the following Murphy-led provisions…Requires the Department of Defense to prepare a report on the current capabilities of Iran-backed terrorist organizations and on the impact that easing economic sanctions on Iran would have on the capabilities of those organizations. This measure was drawn from a bill that Murphy authored with Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-TX).
  • From Jewish Insider: “At the House Armed Services Committee’s Wednesday markup of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, the committee approved amendments supporting joint U.S.-Israel post-traumatic stress disorder research, joint military exercises between Israel and U.S. allies and a joint Middle East air- and missile-defense architecture. Other approved amendments require the Defense Department to provide further information to Congress on Chinese links to and support for Iran; Iranian attacks on American personnel; the state of Iran’s nuclear and missile programs; Iranian air and missile threats; U.S. counter-drone capabilities in the Middle East; and the progress of the U.S.-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group, authorized in last year’s NDAA. The proposed bill also mandates an annual public DoD report on Iranian military capabilities. Some lawmakers, including those affiliated with the Republican Study Committee, are planning to introduce additional Iran-related amendments when the NDAA comes to the House floor in the coming weeks, an individual familiar with the situation told JI.”

LETTERS

(DON’T DOWNGRADE PENTAGON ENGAGEMENT WITH PALESTINIANS) Meng-Waltz letter to SecDef: On 6/23/22, Reps. Meng (D-NY) and Waltz (R-FL) led a letter, co-signed by 55 House colleagues, to SecDef Austin urging the Biden Administration to not downgrade the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Jerusalem below the current level of an officer of 3-star rank, notwithstanding the “Congressionally-mandated requirement to reduce the number of active duty General Flag Officers by 2023.” This letter comes on the heels of two Senate letters on the same topic last week, an Ossoff-Graham et al letter to SecDef and a Lankford letter to SecDef (both covered in last week’s Round-Up).  Also see: House lawmakers urge administration not to downgrade Israeli-Palestinian security coordinator (Jewish Insider 6/24/22)

(FBI/STATE MUST INVESTIGATE KILLING OF PAL-AMERICAN JOURNALIST) Van Hollen et al letter to Biden: On 6/23/22, Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD) led a letter, co-signed by 23 Senate colleagues (all Democrats), calling for the U.S. to be “directly involved in investigating Ms. Abu Akleh’s death.”  The letter notes: “It has now been over a month since American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot to death while reporting on an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. Since that time, there has been no significant progress toward the establishment of an independent, thorough, and transparent investigation into her killing. We believe that, as a leader in the effort to protect the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, and given the fact that Ms. Abu Akleh was an American citizen, the U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that a comprehensive, impartial, and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted — one in which all parties can have full confidence in the ultimate findings.  It is clear that neither of the parties on the ground trust the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation. Therefore, at this point, we believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved in investigating Ms. Abu Akleh’s death. Last month, 57 members of the House of Representatives requested that the State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launch an independent investigation under U.S auspices to determine the truth. We join in that request, which has been made even more urgent by the new information that has emerged in recent weeks.” Also see:

(NO UPGRADING PALESTINIAN UNIT IN JERUSALEM) Hagerty/Zeldin-led joint statement to Biden Admin: On 6/23/22, Rep. Zeldin (R-NY) and Sen. Hagerty (R-TN) led a bicameral statement – signed on to by a total of 80 House and Senate members (all Republicans) “Calling on Biden Administration to Reverse its Plan to Circumvent U.S. Law and Create an Unofficial U.S. Consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.” The statement accuses the Biden Administration of opening “what amounts to be a separate U.S. diplomatic office to the Palestinians in Israel’s capital. It argues that doing so “is wholly inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that Congress passed into law and has repeatedly reaffirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support over the years” and that it “undermines our nation’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signals support for dividing Jerusalem. The letter goes on to directly threaten the Biden Administration: “As sponsors of the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 to withhold funding for a U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Israel’s capital, we unequivocally oppose the Biden Administration’s decision and will use every tool at our disposal to stop it in the 117th Congress and afterwards.” Also see:

(SUPPORTING “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST” – AKA, LET’S DO MORE TO STRENGTHEN THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS) Rosen et al letter to Blinken: On 6/22, Sens. Rosen (D-NV), Ernst (R-IA), and Booker (D-NJ), sent a letter to SecState Blinken “to express support for the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Jordan’s Prosperity Green and Prosperity Blue projects, and to seek an update from you on their progress. This two-pronged initiative is a crucial first step in support of both newfound regional partnerships and a future of sustainable development in the Middle East.”  The letter goes on to state: This project is an opportunity for all countries involved to bolster the use of innovative energy technologies and to counter water scarcity in the region. It will also foster economic, diplomatic, and technological coordination between the three countries, building on the Abraham Accords and the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty.” Also see: Rosen press release.

(FED LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST INVESTIGATE “MAPPING” PROJECT) Gottheimer/Bacon-led letter to FBI & Depts of Justice & Homeland Security: On 6/21/22, Reps. Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Bacon (R-NE) led a letter, signed by a total of 37 House members (bipartisan) to Attorney General Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and FBI Director Wray. The letter states: “As you are no doubt aware, on June 3, 2022 an Eastern Massachusetts organization associated with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement published the Mapping Project. We fear that this map may be used as a roadmap for violent attacks by supporters of the BDS movement against the people and entities listed therein. We ask that you investigate the use of the Mapping Project by extremist organizations, provide any necessary enhanced security for targets listed in the Project, and work with social media companies and internet service providers to prevent its further distribution…We ask that you work with state and local law enforcement to apprehend any FTOs, HVEs, or DVEs that you determine are planning to use this map as a roadmap to domestic terror or violence. Notably, with respect to the claim that the project is “associated with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement“, see:Palestinian BDS National Committee Has No Connection To and Does Not Endorse The Mapping Project (BDS National Committee 6/22/22); The Mapping Project is not antisemitic but it is destructive activism (Mondoweiss 6/21/22). Also see:

 

2. Hearings

June 22, 2022: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism held a hearing entitled, Examining the U.S. Interest in Regional Security Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Objectives.” Witnesses were: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf (statement); and Acting Assistant USAID Administrator for the Middle East Andrew Plitt (statement). Also see:

  • Hearing video
  • Q&A highlights: A/S/ Leaf did an extraordinarily weak job explaining (let alone defending) the Biden Administration’s support for Palestinians and for UNRWA (and that is putting it very, very kindly). See for yourself — watch her exchange with Mast (R-FL) starting at 56:00, and see her exchange with Sherman (D-CA) starting at 59:30.
  • Notable quote: If a critic of Israel dares to suggest that even $1 in Israel aid might be better spent on U.S. needs at home, they are labeled an antisemite. If a GOP hardliner says basically the same thing, but in the context of criticizing Israel-supported $ for Palestinians? Crickets, as witnessed in this hearing from Mast (R-FL), who among other things told Leaf: “Israelis can want us to send money to Palestinians all they want, but that doesn’t mean we have to and that money wouldn’t be better spent on our border ” [this comes on the heels of Roy (R-TX) saying the US golfers who participated in a Saudi-sponsored league  sold “their professional soul to a Saudi Arabian league for their shekels” and “they stab the tour in the back to go chase their 30 shekels“. Response to that from the self-appointment antisemitic trope police? Crickets.
  • Media: Leaf hints at Abraham Accords expansion surrounding Biden’s Israel, Saudi Arabia trip (Jewish Insider 6/23/22); US official hints at progress between Israel and Arab states during Biden trip (Middle East Eye 6/22/22)

 

3. On the Record

Media – General

Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) 6/22/22: Congress should reclaim its say on Iran policy   

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) 6/21/22: Congress Should Help End UN’s Latest Anti-Israel Waste of Funds

Jerusalem Post 6/20/22: 32 senators urge the Biden admin. not to downgrade USSC for Israel, PA

The Hill 6/19/22: Lawmakers say new Iran nuclear deal unlikely

 

Media & Members – Elections

General

Twitter thread from NYT’s Shane Goldmacher 6/20/22: “NEW: Republican billionaires Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus each gave $1 million to the United Democracy Project in May as the new AIPAC-affiliated super PAC has intervened in Democratic primaries in NC, PA, TX, MD, and CA. This is per new monthly UDP filing with the FEC.” Also see: FEC data on UDP funding.

Jewish Insider 6/20/22: A Jewish Coloradan hopes to beat Boebert in November

Jewish Insider 6/20/22: Lawmakers urge Defense Department against downgrading Israel-Palestinian security post

Jewish News Syndicate 6/19/22: Congress must defund the UN’s poisoned Pillay report

Maryland

Anti-Israel votes haunt ex-Rep. Donna Edwards in Democratic primary comeback bid (Washington Examiner 6/20/22)

Nancy Pelosi Rebukes AIPAC Ads Against Donna Edwards (The Intercept 6/17/22)

Donna Edwards gets help from Pelosi to swat at attack ad tied to AIPAC (Washington Post 6/17/22)

J Street Calls on Glenn Ivey to Reject Misleading Ads from Republican-aligned Group (J Street 6/17/22)

Pelosi (D-CA-12) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @JoelMartinRubin – “These ads attacking @DonnaFEdwards are not just offensive but also ignorant of her views. Middle East peace advocates are not threats to Israel. They are allies. True friends of Israel know that peace is in Israel’s national security interest. @TeamPelosi Link to quoted tweet

Michigan

The New Arab 6/21/22: Democratic PAC seeks to unseat Rashida Tlaib

Illinois

Newman (D-IL-3) 06/18/2022: Retweet of @rk70534 – “@dylanotes @PointsNorthe One has to wonder sometimes if some orgs like AIPAC and Democratic Majority for Israel are not (only) attacking progressives for criticizing Israel, but are using Israel-issue to attack progressives while motivated (also) by opposition to domestic policies. Which is the fig leaf?”

Newman (D-IL-3) 06/18/2022: Retweet of @rpyers – “Mainstream Democrats, an independent expenditure committee that spent to boost Henry Cuellar and Kurt Schrader and to oppose Nina Turner, got $500,000 each from Democratic Majority For Israel and from Democratic megadonor Deborah Simon last month Link to image   Link to quoted tweet

Newman (D-IL-3) 06/19/2022: Tweet – “Their partner, dark money Super PAC, DMFI is dead set on tearing down progressives- the 6th progressive they have spent millions on and the third woman of color. If you have to manufacture lies and likely much worse to tear down a progressive, perhaps some reflection is due Link to quoted tweet

Texas

Newman (D-IL-3) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “@JCisnerosTX You are amazing and have a huge future ahead of you! Dark money super PACs, like DMFI and UDP will not win in the future. Sunshine is the best disinfectant!Thank you for a heroic and outstanding run. We will see more of you I’m sure! Link to quoted tweet

New York

The Forward 6/22/22: The Jewish case for reelecting Jerry Nadler has little to do with him

The New York Times 6/22/22: Could New York City Lose Its Last Remaining Jewish Congressman?

Wisconsin

Jewish Insider 6/24/22: Mandela Barnes clarifies views on aid to Israel in JDCA Senate candidate forum

Members on the Record

Israel – Palestine

Bacon (R-NE-2) 06/24/2022: Retweet of @orlyusa – “He is coming to Israel with AIPAC give him respect. Israel is honored to welcome one of the greatest US Veterans and outstanding Congressman. Link to quoted tweet

Bennet (D-CO) 06/23/2022: Twitter thread – “The death of the American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is tragic and reprehensible. Freedom of the press demands safety for the press and journalists who put their lives at risk to report dangerous stories. I urge the Biden Administration to devote the full resources of our government to ensure a thorough investigation to uncover the circumstances of Ms. Akleh’s death and provide answers that her family, and the American people, deserve.

Tlaib (D-MI-13) 06/23/2022: Twitter thread – “This is how we do our job to protect ALL Americans. CNN and NYT have confirmed Shireen was killed by the IDF. Now let’s see if @POTUS will investigate the killing of an American and a journalist. Link to quoted tweet What @POTUS said at WHCD: “We honor journalists killed, missing, imprisoned, detained, and tortured; covering war, exposing corruption, and holding leaders accountable. The free press is not the enemy of the people — far from it.  At your best, you’re guardians of the truth.”

Ossoff (D-GA) 06/23/2022: Press release – READOUT: Sen. Ossoff Call with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh [“…Sen. Ossoff also raised the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, an American journalist shot to death while reporting in the West Bank last month. Sen. Ossoff requested information regarding the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to investigate Ms. Akleh’s death and reiterated his desire that all parties ensure a full, transparent, and unbiased investigation is completed.”]

Cicilline (D-RI-1) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “The Mapping Project is blatant, and dangerous, antisemitism – placing a target on Jewish organizations at a time when antisemitism is at an all time high. This map needs to be taken down. ‘A Jewish hit list’: Antisemitic mapping project seen as incitement to violence in Massachusetts – The Boston Globe

Ernst (R-IA) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “@jinsadc shares our vision of developing a strong partnership in the Middle East. I appreciate their support for the DEFEND Act! Link to image

Ernst (R-IA) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “TODAY I’m going LIVE on Instagram with @rolltidebmz from @CUFI Action to discuss Israel & the future of peace in the Middle East. Be sure to tune in! Link to image”. Also – Ernst (R-IA) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “HAPPENING NOW — Tune in! Link to quoted tweet

Pocan (D-WI-2) 06/21/2022: In reply to Tweet – “@JoshuaShemtov @CoriBush @AOC @RepRashida @repmarkpocan Sorry Joshie. I’m not an ally. (Stands with husband) Human rights are human rights, including Palestinians.”

Pocan (D-WI-2) 06/22/2022: In reply to Tweet“@JoshuaShemtov @VictoryFund Saying you can be for both. Sorry if you choose to ignore other human rights. Link to reply @JoshuaShemtov @VictoryFund Raised it as recent as earlier this month in a news article. But facts sometimes get in the way of a good story, right? Link to reply @JoshuaShemtov @VictoryFund @StateDeptSpox Just uninformed criticism is, well, uninformed. Link to reply @JoshuaShemtov @VictoryFund @StateDeptSpox Agree. And let’s hope for marriage equality in Israel as well.”

Rosen (D-NV) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “I recently joined my colleagues in a bipartisan push to protect a key U.S. military and diplomatic post based in Jerusalem. A downgrade to this post would weaken U.S.-led efforts to maintain security and stability in Israel and the West Bank. 32 senators urge the Biden admin. not to downgrade USSC for Israel, PA… | jpost.com

Weber (R-TX-14) 06/21/2022: In reply to Tweet – “@IDF Thus the U.S.’s continued support for our great ally & friend, Israel. And thanks to the IDF for it’s incredible strength, determination, bravery & perseverance!”

Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) 06/20/2022: Retweet of @nytimes – “A New York Times investigation found that the bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist, was fired from the approximate location of an Israeli military convoy — most likely by a soldier from an elite unit. The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh: Tracing a Bullet to an Israeli Convoy… | nyti.ms

Omar (D-MN-5) 06/20/2022: Tweet – “Since the @StateDept won’t do their own independent investigation. American media has, from the Associated Press, CNN, The Washington Post, and now The NYTimes, and they concluded that Israel is responsible for the death of journalist. @ABlinken how does Shireen get justice? Link to quoted tweet

Castro (D-TX-20) 06/20/2022: Retweet of @trbrtc – “The bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh came from the approx. position of an Israel military vehicle — most likely fired by a soldier from an elite unit. It was one of 16 bullets fired into the direction of 5 clearly marked journalists. Our investigation: The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh: Tracing a Bullet to an Israeli Convoy… | nytimes.com

Kustoff (R-TN-8) 06/19/2022: Tweet – “Thanks to @AIPAC National Council Members Jason Reitberger & Larry Hyatt, as well as AIPAC SE Political Director Darren Kendall, for visiting with me. We discussed how the U.S. must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest friend & ally in the Middle East, Israel. Link to image

Weber (R-TX-14) 06/20/2022: “@IDF Nice work!” [replying to @IDF Tweet –  – “As part of our efforts to target Hamas strongholds in Judea and Samaria, we apprehended 4 Hamas terrorist suspects in Hebron last night. In addition, during counterterrorism activity in the Qalandiya Camp, these 2 illegal weapons and grenades were confiscated”]

Kennedy (R-LA) 6/20/22: press release – Kennedy, bipartisan group call for ongoing U.S. leadership in Israel and West Bank

Cortez Masto (D-NV) 06/18/2022: Tweet – “Proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues urging @SecDef to uphold our commitment to peace and stability in Israel and the West Bank. Link to quoted tweet

Meng (D-NY-6) 06/18/2022: Tweet – “The BDS movement’s “mapping project” is a hateful effort to target Jews and Jewish institutions, and must be met with the strongest condemnation. There is no excuse for trafficking in such antisemitic rhetoric. BDS map ties police, media to Boston Jewish, ‘Zionist’ institutions… | bit.ly

Moulton (D-MA-6) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “Thank you to @AmbHerzog for the visit and the productive discussion! Link to quoted tweet

Ossoff (D-GA) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “Sen. @ossoff is leading a bipartisan push by over 30 Senators to sustain high-level U.S. engagement for peace and stability in Israel and the West Bank. Sens. Ossoff & Graham Lead Bipartisan Push to Sustain High-Level U.S. Engagement for Peace and Stability in Israel & the West – U.S. Senator for Georgia Jon Ossoff

Weber (R-TX-14) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @IDF – “For civilians in Israel, air-raid sirens mean that terrorists have fired a deadly rocket toward them. Over 100,000 people in the city of Ashkelon heard this siren tonight. They had just 30 seconds to run for safety. We will defend them.”

 

Syria

Inhofe (R-OK) 06/24/2022: Tweet – “NEWS: @SASCGOP Ranking Member @JimInhofe condemns the reported release of Guantanamo Bay detainee Assadullah Haroon Gul to the Taliban. Read his statement here U.S. Senator for Oklahoma… | inhofe.senate.gov

Risch (R-ID) 06/23/2022: Tweet – “As we see in #Ukraine, #Ethiopia, and #Syria, conflict is a major driver of #foodinsecurity. Our resolution condemns the use of hunger as a weapon of war and calls upon the U.S. gov’t and our partners to respond quickly and hold perpetrators accountable. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Starvation as a Weapon of War | United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Risch (R-ID) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “I’m disappointed in #Bahrain’s decision to upgrade its diplomatic presence in #Syria. Any effort to normalize relations with the murderous dictator Bashar al-#Assad and bring him back into the international fold will have consequences. #Caesar Syrian leader receives credentials from Bahrain ambassador… | apnews.com

Menendez (D-NJ) 06/20/2022: Tweet – “This #WorldRefugeeDay we recognize the wrenching struggle of the more than 100m people fleeing conflict, persecution, & torture worldwide. In their brave pursuit of protection & freedom, refugees, asylum seekers & displaced persons deserve nothing less than our full support. Link to quoted tweet

 

Iran

Newhouse (R-WA-4) 06/23/2022: Twitter thread – “China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are not our allies, and it is imperative that we do not allow these adversaries to gain a foothold on American soil. Today I introduced an amendment to prohibit these countries from purchasing U.S. agricultural land. Rep. Newhouse Introduces Amendment to Block Foreign Adversaries from Purchasing U.S. Farmland… | youtu.be Ensuring our adversaries cannot control our domestic agriculture and food supply is a matter of national security, and I’m pleased to report that this amendment was unanimously accepted. Read more Newhouse Protects U.S. Food Supply From Foreign Adversaries… | newhouse.house.gov

Wicker (R-MS) 06/23/2022: Tweet – “It should be no surprise that Iran has taken to harassing American ships on the high seas as it sprints toward procuring a nuclear weapon. Their dangerous and provocative actions should not be rewarded. U.S., Iran in tense sea encounter; Tehran prepares enrichment escalation | nbcnews.com

Long (R-MO-7) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “@JoeBiden will rival the success of his #AfghanistanWithdraw with his #NuclearDeal with #Iran. He continues to negotiate a deal despite @iaeaorg reports that show uranium traces at sites Iran did not disclose. Iran currently enriches uranium at 60% (90% is required for a weapon).

Long (R-MO-7) 06/21/2022: Retweet of @BreitbartNews – “A U.S. Navy warship fired a warning flare to repel an Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat during a tense encounter in the Strait of Hormuz. U.S. Navy Warship Clashes with Iran Speedboats in Strait of Hormuz | trib.al

Reschenthaler (R-PA-14) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “Mean tweets > Terrorists with a nuke Iran Escalates Enrichment At Underground Nuclear Facility, Now Has Enough Material For Weapon: Reports | The Daily Wire

Long (R-MO-7) 06/21/2022: Retweet of @HananyaNaftali – “Iran claims it arrested an espionage cell working for the Mossad and was under surveillance for 8 months in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. I think it’s an Iranian attempt to improve the regime’s image since the assassinations were happening under their nose.

Blackburn (R-TN) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “New documents show the U.S. Army is teaching West Point cadets CRT and addressing “whiteness.” Indoctrinating our military distracts from making certain we can effectively combat Communist China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.”

Waltz (R-FL-6) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “It’s unAmerican to abandon our allies in the face of terror. But that’s what Biden did. Now, ISIS & al-Qaeda fully intend to attack us AND Putin, Xi, & Iran are on the march. Our country is in danger. Watch my interview with @GovMikeHuckabee for more 2-Step Plan: FIRE Pelosi & INVESTIGATE Biden! | Fmr Green Beret Rep. Mike Waltz | Huckabee – YouTube

Bacon (R-NE-2) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “My heart goes out to the people of Iran, who are bravely protesting against a regime that holds no regard for it’s own people. In the last month of nationwide protests, more Iranians have been executed than any month in the last 5 years. Iran rounds up teachers as protests gain momentum… | bit.ly

Malliotakis (R-NY-11) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “At a time when our nation faces threats from Russia, China and Iran and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin & the Defense Intelligence Agency have warned al-Qaeda is re-emerging, this administration continues to play games with our national security. Border Patrol nabs 15 people on terror watch list in record-breaking…… | nypost.com

 

Saudi Arabia (energy policy)

Mullin (R-OK-2) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “President Biden is traveling to Saudi Arabia next month to beg our adversaries for more oil, but won’t sit down with our domestic producers at the White House tomorrow. @POTUS continues to prioritize his Green New Deal agenda over the American people.”

Nehls (R-TX-22) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “All of America’s energy needs can be filled right here at home. So why is Biden turning to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia?”

Stewart (R-UT-2) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia makes strategic and economic sense. But it would be a lot less embarrassing if he had been more realistic about the world from day one. He needs to stop bowing to the far left and start appreciating the geopolitical need for Arab partners. Link to video

Stewart (R-UT-2) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “American oil is cleaner. More reliable. And more affordable. Saudi Arabia is a key partner in the Middle East. But there’s no reason to go hat in hand begging for energy that we have right here at home. Link to video

LaTurner (R-KS-2) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “President Biden is begging Saudi Arabia to produce more oil instead of turning to energy companies right here in America. American energy is cleaner, more reliable, and will bring down costs for Kansans. It’s time to prioritize American energy independence once again.”

Waltz (R-FL-6) 06/20/2022: Tweet – “President Biden has boxed himself in with his asinine energy policy. Now, he has to go to Saudi Arabia to get them to pump more oil & gas. All he has to do is take on the Progressives back at home and start pumping cleaner American oil and gas! My take Link to video

Waltz (R-FL-6) 06/20/2022: Retweet of @FoxNews – “Biden would rather beg Saudis to pump more oil than take on progressives: @michaelgwaltz Biden would rather beg Saudis to pump more oil than take on progressives: GOP congressman… | fxn.ws

Cruz (R-TX) 06/17/2022: Tweet – Link to quoted tweet – “No. The truth: 1. President Biden came into office calling MBS a ‘pariah.’ 2. MBS didn’t like this. 3. Biden suffered domestic political pain driven, in part, by energy inflation. 4. Biden officials privately sucked up to MBS & the president changed his tune.”

Duncan (R-SC-3) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @GOPLeader – “A 12-hour, non-stop international flight. That’s how far President Biden would rather travel to plead for Saudi Arabian oil rather than simply issue more drilling permits to producers here at home. American oil is cleaner. More reliable. And more affordable. Put America FIRST!

Fallon (R-TX-4) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “Instead of unleashing American energy DOMINANCE — Joe Biden is going to Saudi Arabia to beg them to produce more oil.”

Hagerty (R-TN) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “Despite Biden’s insult that Saudi Arabia has “very little social redeeming value,” I believe it can be a very critical partner in the Middle East. Yesterday, I questioned Biden’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia on the Admin’s policy ahead of Biden’s planned visit. Link to video

Roy (R-TX-21) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @dcexaminer – “Texas @RepChipRoy slammed PGA Tour defectors who have decided to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, arguing the players are “basically whores and has-beens.” ‘Whores and has-beens’: GOP Rep. Chip Roy blasts golfers in Saudi-backed event… | washex.am

Smith (R-NE-3) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @GOPLeader – “A 12-hour, non-stop international flight. That’s how far President Biden would rather travel to plead for Saudi Arabian oil rather than simply issue more drilling permits to producers here at home. American oil is cleaner. More reliable. And more affordable. Put America FIRST!

Weber (R-TX-14) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @GOPLeader – “A 12-hour, non-stop international flight. That’s how far President Biden would rather travel to plead for Saudi Arabian oil rather than simply issue more drilling permits to producers here at home. American oil is cleaner. More reliable. And more affordable. Put America FIRST!”

 

Saudi Arabia (Yemen, human rights, etc)

Mace (R-SC-1) 06/22/2022: Retweet of @NicholsUprising – “SC Republican @NancyMace has emerged as a key congressional supporter of invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution to demand that the Biden administration end US military participation in the Yemen war. Mace is working across lines of partisanship and ideology to end an awful war.”

DeFazio (D-OR-4) 06/21/2022: Tweet – “My colleague @RepJayapal and I issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia: Link to image

Jayapal (D-WA-7) 06/21/2022: Retweet of @RepPeterDeFazio – “My colleague @RepJayapal and I issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia: Link to image

Khanna (D-CA-17) 06/21/2022: Twitter thread – “This report from the GAO—which I secured in the FY21 NDAA—underscores that DoD and State Department have failed to properly track civilian deaths in the Yemen war. Link to PDF | gao.gov It’s more urgent than ever for a reset in our relationship with the Saudi dictatorship orchestrating so much of this carnage. Thanks to @FCNL’s @HassanElTayyab + prev & current experts @WinWithoutWar incl @KateKizer @enfein @epeikenberry & @HASCDemocrats @HouseForeign for their work getting the most comprehensive official public report to date on the Yemen war and U.S. military support to the Saudis.”

Waltz (R-FL-6) 06/20/2022: Tweet – “It’s pretty ironic to hear the Left upset about Biden meeting with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Meanwhile, we’ve heard no outrage over the Biden Admin meeting with members of the #CCP who are actively committing genocide. Link to video

Khanna (D-CA-17) 06/18/2022: Tweet – “Let’s be clear, it’s not just that MBS hacked and killed a US-based journalist. MBS has been responsible for the bombing of thousands of civilians in Yemen: one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world. Link to video

Greene (R-GA-14) 06/17/2022: Twitter thread – “If we really care about the 1st Amendment then we should care about Julian Assange. Freedom of Press is the protection of the ability to expose the truth and publish it. This should always be protected and this freedom should always be handled with the most respect. 1/3 Link to quoted tweet If they are upset over the Khashoggi killing then they should be upset over Julian Assange. Is the American press afraid to speak out against the U.S. extradition of Julian Assange? Is it because it’s not another government prosecution or attack on a journalist but yet our own? Link to quoted tweet The ruling regime in America persecutes their enemies in order to strike fear in anyone who dares to expose the corruption and stand up against it. What happens when everyone becomes too afraid to tell the truth & publish it? Silence will protect evil. Julian Assange’s extradition to US approved by UK government… | amp.cnn.com

Jayapal (D-WA-7) 06/17/2022: Retweet of @USProgressives – “NEW from @RepJayapal, @RepPeterDeFazio: “We share the concerns of congressional colleagues who’ve expressed grave misgivings regarding the President’s planned meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman & a ‘reset’…after promising to treat the regime as a ‘pariah.'” More  Link to image

Khanna (D-CA-17) 06/17/2022: Tweet – “Let’s be clear: The US can ground the Saudi air force to a halt if we stop providing them with spare parts for their planes. We have an enormous amount of leverage and they should know that. ‘Nobody Wants to See This War End’… | politico.com

Newman (D-IL-3) 06/17/2022: Twitter thread – “We’ve had a busy week! Here’s a roundup …Co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution to invoke constitutional war powers to end US military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen…

Pelosi (D-CA-12) 06/17/2022: Twitter thread – “Honored to meet with my constituent @AreejASadhan, whose brother Abdulrahman Al Sadhan was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Saudi Arabian for anonymous, satirical tweets. His family has been denied contact and fear he has been tortured. Link to image Congress will continue to shine a light on his case and advocate for freedom of expression and for human rights in Saudi Arabia and around the world.

 

Turkey

Malliotakis (R-NY-11) 06/23/2022: Tweet – “Nicole was happy to join @EnesFreedom & @nccadvocacy this afternoon to discuss steps Congress can take to support freedom and human rights in oppressive nations like Turkey, Cuba, China. Link to image

Malliotakis (R-NY-11) 06/23/2022: Tweet – “So nice to have our friend @EnesFreedom in Washington today as he continues to be a champion for the oppressed around the world and an outspoken critic of human rights violators such as Cuba, China & Turkey. Link to image

Cramer (R-ND) 06/22/2022: Tweet – “It was great to see Turkish-American NBA star and freedom advocate @EnesFreedom. We continued our many conversations about the beauty of freedom! I look forward to working with you to stand up for human rights. Link to image

Pallone (D-NJ-6) 06/20/2022: Tweet – “Turkey needs to drop its opposition to Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids. Their entry has broad support across the alliance and is only being held up by Erdogan’s unrealistic demands. Link to quoted tweet

Warner (D-VA) 06/18/2022: Tweet – “Honored to spend the weekend abroad talking with international leaders as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation. Our allies in Europe are more important now than ever, and I’m working to further strengthen these relationships.” Link to quoted tweet – “An excellent discussion on topics from NATO and Turkey to technology and trade with members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Thank you, Senators @MarkWarner, @SenatorBurr, @RoyBlunt and @AngusforMaine!”

Hard Questions, Tough Answers- The Mid-July Biden Visit (June 27, 2022)

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Action Alert- Urge your Member of Congress to Speak Out Against Settlement Construction in E-1

Last fall we wrote to you warning of Israel’s plans to build in the area known as E-1. These plans have been called “doomsday settlements” because they  pose an irreconcilable challenge to a lasting peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians by threatening the territorial contiguity necessary for a viable Palestinian state. We asked you to contact your member of Congress to urge them to push the Biden administration to weigh in and use diplomatic pressure to halt Israel’s approval process of E-1 settlements. With your help, we bolstered congressional support for United States opposition to E-1 settlement construction and the Biden administration successfully pressured the Israeli government. In a rare move, the Israeli government publicly acknowledged the United States’ message and indefinitely postponed these plans.

Unfortunately, Israel has recently announced plans to move ahead with E-1 settlements once again, scheduling the final hearing on the objections to the project for July 18th, just days after the President’s planned visit.

We need your help again, and we’re running out of time. Congress must reiterate its opposition to settlement construction in E-1. The Biden administration must use every diplomatic tool at its disposal to prevent these devastating plans and ensure that this time, the message sticks.

Click here to ask your member of Congress to join Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in urging the State Department to say no to settlement construction in E-1:

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Press Release: APN Welcomes Senate Letter Urging Investigation of Abu Akleh's Killing

Americans for Peace Now welcomes a new Senate letter urging the Biden administration to launch an independent investigation into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist killed while reporting for Al-Jazeera in the West Bank town of Jenin on May 11th.

Led by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), 24 Senators are adding their voices to last month’s request by 57 Members of the House of Representatives that the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launch an investigation into Ms. Abu Akleh’s killing.

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What's Happening in Israel? Explaining The Election

Q: What happened? 

A: Last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister/Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced that they would dissolve the government. This Wednesday, the Israeli Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve the current governing coalition, bringing Israelis to their fifth election in less than four years. The government is expected to be officially dissolved early next week. 

 

Q: Why?

A: There are a few different explanations for this government’s failure to fulfill its four-year term, but all of them boil down to the fragility of the current coalition as the result of its ideological diversity. The coalition was initially formed by eight disparate parties in a bid to oust former Prime Minister Netanyahu from power. The common cause was enough to bring ideological rivals together, but the cracks quickly started to show. 

 

As violence flared across Israel and the West Bank this spring, tensions within the coalition became increasingly evident: nothing brings out the irreconcilable differences between left-wing and right-wing ideology in Israel like flares of violence. Additionally, two right-wing Members of Knesset recently defected from the governing coalition, under pressure from Netanyahu’s opposition. These surprising departures did away with the governing coalition’s narrow majority, leaving the Knesset with an even 60-60 split between the governing coalition and the opposition. 

 

The final straw came this month, with a vote on extending by another five years the regulations that apply Israeli civilian law to Israeli citizens who live in the occupied West Bank (settlers), while maintaining military law over their Palestinian neighbors. An Arab-Israeli Meretz MK, Rinawie Zoabi, left the coalition over this vote, leaving it in a 59-61 minority, though she ultimately returned. Several Palestinian members of the coalition refused to vote to maintain this system of inequality, and as a result, Prime Minister Bennett (himself a former leader of the settler movement) to dissolve the government, in an effort to delay the final vote on this bill. 

 

Q: After three other recent government dissolutions, why is this one notable?

A: While there are many factors that contributed to the current government’s collapse, it is undeniable that the Occupation was the final straw. It was simply impossible for a coalition with settlers, left-wingers, and Palestinian citizens of Israel to come to an agreement about the apartheid-like situation in the West Bank, whereby Israelis and Palestinians live under two different legal codes. Often, Israeli politicians try to dismiss the issue of the Occupation, suggesting that it is not as important as other matters plaguing the country, and therefore can wait to be solved. This government’s dissolution reaffirms what we at APN already knew: Even if you try to evade it, as this outgoing coalition tried to do, the Occupation will come back to haunt you. It is the chief problem plaguing Israel. It cannot and should not be put on hold. It must be addressed.   

 

Q: What happens next?

A: When the government is officially dissolved, current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid will replace Bennett as the Prime Minister. Lapid is a member of the centrist Yesh Atid party. His rotating premiership agreement with Bennett was one of the chief conditions for the current coalition. This arrangement will last until elections are held and a new government is formed, with the elections likely in November. 

 

Q: Will Netanyahu return to power at the next election?

A: According to four public opinion polls conducted on Tuesday, neither the pro-Netanyahu bloc nor the current coalition parties are projected to have a majority to form a new coalition government. That being said, Netanyahu is the clear frontrunner. Yes, you read that correctly: a plurality of Israelis (48% according to one of the polls) currently consider Netanyahu to be their best candidate for Prime Minister, despite the fact that he is currently on trial for corruption.

 

Hard Questions, Tough Answers- Elections Again (June 21, 2022)

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Press Release: APN Urges Lapid to Advance Measures toward Peace

Following today’s announcement of early elections in Israel and early premiership rotation, Americans for Peace Now (APN) wishes Yair Lapid success as Israel’s prime minister, and calls on him to use the next few months before the elections to take bold measures that will move us toward peace and a better future.

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Recording: Young Progressive Jewish Americans on Israel, Palestine, and the Conflict

Americans for Peace Now hosted a webinar to explore the ways in which young progressive American Jews are thinking, talking, and acting about Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians.What values are they prioritizing in the conversation about Israel? What is their vision of Israel and its relations with its Palestinian neighbors? What are their concerns about the current trajectory of Israeli society and what are their hopes for Israel’s future? How do they fit these topics into their worldview?


To answer these and other questions, we gathered APN’s new Communications and Development Associate Maxxe Albert-Deitch, her predecessor Claire Davidson Miller, and our intern Eliana Blumberg, in conversation with APN’s Director of Government Relations, Madeleine Cereghino.


The webinar was held on Thursday, June 23rd, at 1:00 pm Eastern Time.

View the recording here, listen to the podcast here, and read the transcript here.

A.B. Yehoshua - A Leader of Israel's Peace Movement

Avraham Gavriel Yehoshua, better known by his pen name A.B. Yehoshua, and among his friends by his nickname Buli, died Tuesday at age 85 after a long fight with cancer.

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