For decades, the pro-Israel community has stressed that Israel is an important strategic ally of the United States, and that support for Israel should not break down along partisan lines. Unfortunately, this past summer the Iran nuclear deal, which has potentially dire existential consequences for Israel, did become a partisan issue. The deal passed almost completely along partisan lines; Democrats supported it, while Republicans, along with certain notable Democrats such as Sen. Robert Menendez, were unanimously opposed.
We in the pro-Israel community were disappointed by the outcome of the Iran nuclear deal debate. Nevertheless we chose not to act out of anger and frustration, but to move forward to work effectively to strengthen Israel. For many it was not an easy choice — but one that we knew we had to make. We continue to work with members of both parties, reminding them that a secure and steadfast Israel must remain a bipartisan American priority.
The deal has been implemented and Iran has been graced with over $100 billion with which to fund its nefarious terrorist activities throughout the region. Today many Members of Congress, regardless of whether or not they supported the deal, have serious reservations about the agreement and want to address its flaws. They need to renew the Iran sanctions legislation which is necessary to retain the ability to snap back sanctions. They must demand and develop a vehicle for effective oversight and implementation of every provision of the Iran treaty, and it is imperative that Congress continues to pressure the Administration to enact and enforce sanctions against Iran for its support of terrorism and human rights violations.
In the post-deal environment, Israel has requested an increase in both foreign aid and in access to advanced American military technology. A Congressional bipartisan letter in support of these requests was sent to the president, as he continues his negotiations with Israel over the terms of the next Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The threat to Israel comes not only militarily, but by a relentless effort to delegitimize its very existence through threats of boycotts and sanctions. Members on both sides of the aisle have released statements laying the blame for the lack of progress in the peace process squarely where it belongs: at the feet of Palestinian Authority, which incites terrorism and encourages children, raised in hatred, to become martyrs. Congress has also added language into two trade bills that warn our European allies against implementing any boycotts or sanctions against Israel.
Come join those of us who believe both America and Israel are stronger when we work in a bipartisan manner. There are over 700 people from Greater MetroWest NJ who will add their voices to 18,000 pro-Israel activists from across the country, meeting in Washington, DC, March 20-22 for AIPAC’s Policy Conference. Students, retirees, Christians, Jews, Hispanics, and African-Americans will send the bipartisan message to Congress, the president, Israel, and the world that the U.S.-Israel relationship is strong. Spend two days learning in depth about policy issues and concerns, and celebrating Israel’s incredible advances. And, very importantly, plan to stay for the lobbying on March 22 when thousands of activists will go to Capitol Hill to petition and to remind our elected leaders that to keep Israel and America strong, they must focus on policy, not politics.