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Supporting Israel in Congress

25 Aug 2022 5:54 PM | Anonymous


From:
"Rep. Sherman" <repsherman@mail8.housecommunications.gov>
Date: August 25, 2022 at 4:10:11 PM PDT

Supporting Israel in Congress - from Congressman Brad Sherman

I am writing to provide you an update on my recent work related to Middle East policy in Congress.

For 26 years, I have served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where I am the second most senior Democrat. I currently serve as the Co-Chair of the House’s Israel Allies Caucus, where I work to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Since 1997, I have spoken at every annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington D.C. 

Fighting Back Against the UN’s Biased Commission of Inquiry

In 2021, the United Nations (UN) adopted a resolution to create a biased and illegitimate permanent Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate supposed Israeli war crimes. Unsurprisingly, this outrageous COI appointed biased commissioners - one of whom recently made anti-Semitic comments about a so-called ‘Jewish lobby.’

To combat these efforts, I joined a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging him to immediately remove the COI commissioner who made these insidious comments and disband the COI altogether. I also previously wrote to Secretary of State Blinken urging the Administration to defund the COI by reducing the U.S.’s contributions to the UN by the cost of the COI.

Lastly, I cosponsored H.R.7223, the COI Elimination Act, which would make it official U.S. policy to seek the abolition of the COI and reduce U.S. contributions to the UN by 25% of the amount budgeted for the COI. I will continue to fight against outrageous anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and in all international organizations.

Supporting the Iron Dome

Israel continues to face unprecedented threats, from Hamas to Hizballah to Iran. Hamas fires rockets to kill as many Israeli civilians as it can. Each rocket fired at Israel is a war crime, whether or not it achieves Hamas’ bloody objective.

Accordingly, Congress is committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) and its ability to defend itself, by itself, against persistent threats. U.S. aid to Israel is only ½ of 1% of our national security budget and the best investment we can make in our own security.

U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs such as the Iron Dome, Arrow 3, and David’s Sling systems have saved countless Israeli civilian lives and prevented further escalation of hostilities. I have been a vocal proponent of funding and replenishing the Iron Dome.

When Hamas launched 4,500 rockets targeting Israeli civilians in the spring of 2021, I sent a letter to the Department of Defense urging the Biden Administration to continue its support of Israel’s safety and security by replenishing the Iron Dome.

I was proud to vote for supplemental funding to replenish the Iron Dome this September, which passed with overwhelming support in the House.

When this critical funding was blocked by a Republican Senator, I sent a letter urging President Biden to put his weight behind this issue by specifically requesting that Congress include supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome in an appropriations bill to circumvent this Senator’s delay.

I then sent a second letter to the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee urging the $1 billion in Iron Dome replenishment funding to be included in the FY2022 appropriations bill.

As a result, the FY2022 appropriations legislation included this funding, and it passed the House this March.

Security Assistance to Israel – $3.8 Billion is a Floor, Not a Ceiling

I am a strong supporter of the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Israel and the United States, committing $3.8 billion in annual defense assistance through 2028. I also support the right of Congress to appropriate more aid than the MOU calls for.

To ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge, we need to do more to help Israel and must ensure our weapons transfers to other states in the Middle East do not erode that advantage.

I joined Rep. Schneider in introducing H.R. 849 – Guaranteeing Israel’s QME Act of 2020. This legislation would require consultation with the Government of Israel prior to the sale of any advanced weapon system to the region to ensure Israel maintains its QME.

Remembering Israelis Lost to Terrorism

Ahead of the 50th Anniversary of the Munich Massacre, I joined my colleague Burgess Owens in introducing a bipartisan House Resolution calling for a moment of silence in Congress and at all future Olympic Opening Ceremonies in honor of the eleven Israeli athletes who were brutally murdered by a group of Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

The massacre of eleven Israelis during the 1972 Munich Olympics remains one of the darkest chapters in Olympic history.

As we near the 50th anniversary of this hateful act, I will continue to fight to memorialize the victims and pass this resolution to provide a powerful reminder of the need to continue combatting bigotry, anti-Semitism and terror in all its forms.

U.S.-Israel Energy, Agriculture, and Technology Cooperation

All too often when people think of Israel, they think of a recent terrorist attack. When people think of Israel they should think not of tsuris, but of science. 

In 2007, I authored the legislation that established the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program. Since its inception, Congress has provided $39.7 million for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement program, fully matched dollar for dollar by the Government of Israel. Since 2009, the program has leveraged over $47 million in private sector investment.

The U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program supports joint U.S.-Israel research and development in energy efficiency and alternative power, including biofuels, energy storage, new solar and wind projects, electric vehicles, and increased grid efficiency.

Last year, Congress established two new cooperative initiatives to leverage U.S.-Israel collaboration to address the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as enhance development cooperation in the areas of water resources, agriculture and energy storage between USAID and Israel in developing countries.

Innovative and cutting-edge technology is increasingly necessary to keep us all safe. The U.S.-Israel BIRD Homeland Security program facilitates cooperative projects between two-partner entities, one from the U.S. and one from Israel, and leverages government investments through partnerships with the academic and private sector to identify gaps in critical capabilities while building stronger connections between the U.S. and Israel.

Every year I lead a package of bipartisan letters to the Appropriations committee that continue and expand funding for cooperative bi-national COVID-related and health technologies research, U.S.-Israel cooperation to address sustainability challenges in the developing world, homeland security, agriculture, and energy research.

This year, my package of letters was signed by over 80 bipartisan Members of Congress.

Normalization of Israel’s Diplomatic Relations With Its Neighbors

Normalizing relations between Israel and its regional neighbors has been an enduring goal of the United States, and one I continue to work towards.

I am a cosponsor of the Israel Relations Normalization Act, which will create strategies to strengthen and expand peace and normalization agreements in the region, as well as monitor the emergence of laws that would hinder this critical goal.

I also continue to promote normalization efforts through my meetings with foreign dignitaries as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In November, I met with the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, and Ambassador Lalla Joumala.

We discussed the progress of Morocco-Israel diplomatic ties following Morocco’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel last year.

Specifically, we discussed Morocco’s commitment to enact the steps outlined in this agreement including their plans for opening an embassy in Israel and the recent start of direct flights.

Promoting Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education

Encouraging reconciliation and envisioning a path toward mutual acceptance among new generations of Palestinians and Israelis remains critical.

Unfortunately, Palestinian Authority textbooks stymie this goal by teaching children to accept violence, glorify terrorism, promote antisemitism, and reject peace.

Palestinian textbooks erase Israel from maps, refer to Israel only as “the enemy,” and ask children to sacrifice their lives to “liberate” all of the land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. One such example is a 5th grade textbook which encourages students to emulate Dalal al-Mughrabi, a convicted terrorist who perpetrated the 1978 Coastal Road massacre which killed 38 Israeli civilians - including 13 children.

That’s why I re-introduced my legislation, the Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act, which ensures the United States prioritizes ending the normalization of violence and antisemitism in Palestinian Authority school curriculums.

This legislation unanimously passed the Foreign Affairs Committee in the last Congress and will require the Secretary of State to submit annual reports reviewing the education material used by the Palestinian Authority.

I will always work for peace and against incitement.

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I would like your input on how I can be most effective in strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance. Please share your input with me at Brad.Sherman@mail.house.gov or you can reach us by phone at (202) 225-5911.

Office of Congressman Brad Sherman | BradSherman.house.gov

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