In dangerous times like these, when Israelis are being attacked by a terrorist government that controls the Gaza Strip, my commitment to Israel is not equivocal, “to be determined”, or for sale. I full-heartedly support Israel’s right to defend itself, and as United States Senator, I will strongly support legislation to assist Israel in this time of need.
Specifically, the Senate needs to act now to provide Israel with more Iron Dome defense missiles. We must make clear that there is no moral equivalency between, on the one hand, Israel’s acts of self-defense and warnings issued to Palestinians before military action; and on the other hand, Hamas’s use of civilians as shields, United Nations schools as armories, and indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel’s residential areas. And, we must cut off any aid that could flow to the Hamas government.
A Steadfast Ally
When President Truman recognized the State of Israel in 1948, America gained a steadfast ally in a dangerous part of the world. Through the Cold War, the War on Terror and in the present day, Israel and the United States have shared a special bond forged through commitments to the rule of law, democratic government, and a keen understanding of the threats posed by rogue nations like Iran, Syria and other sponsors of worldwide terror like Al-Quaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Israel is one of the world’s only nations that still has its right to exist questioned and threatened by those in its region. Through it all, Israel has remained an ally of the United States and supported American efforts abroad. During the Cold War, many of Israel’s neighbors sided with the Soviet Union or remained part of the “non-aligned movement.” Israel stood by America and proved a vital ally in one of our most dangerous eras.
During the War on Terror, Israel and the United States have worked together to combat terrorism and apprehend those who mean to do us harm. As evidenced by indoor playgrounds to shield children from indiscriminate rocket fire, Israelis know all too well the threats caused by radical groups that see both America and Israel as impediments to their goals of a tyrannical and medieval society. As United States Senator, I will support efforts to further enhance our strategic partnership, including intelligence sharing.
Supporting our ally also means recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It means rejecting the imposition of arbitrary conditions Israel must accept before negotiating for a lasting peace with Palestinians. I recognize that Israel has shown time and again a willingness to make painful concessions for peace, but it has not had a willing partner. Consequently, I would oppose efforts to set preconditions for negotiations. I would also work to oppose any measure within the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state as a destabilizing and detrimental to obtaining a lasting and bona fide peace.
Honoring America’s Commitments
I support Israel’s right to defend itself against those that question its existence. For that reason, I support continued foreign and military aid to Israel. As Senator, I would work to fulfill America’s commitments under the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding that sets a framework for America’s continued financial support of Israel. Not only is the average Israeli foreign aid less than one-tenth of 1% of total federal expenditures, most of it is spent in the domestic defense industry that keeps and expands job opportunities in the United States and in Georgia. Moreover, foreign aid to Israel creates stability in the Middle East: so long as nations in the region know that Israel can defend itself, those nations are less likely to take action against it and further destabilize an already volatile region.
The Common Threat of Iran
A nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, which at its most narrow point is just over nine miles wide. It poses a serious threat to American security as Iran has shown a commitment to exporting terror beyond its borders. For these reasons, a country like Iran – known to export terror and actively support those that seek to do America harm – cannot be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon.
I will support legislation to trigger a restoration and expansion of sanctions on Iran for failing to comply with the Geneva Interim Agreement. I will also support closely monitoring Iran’s involvement in Syria and support policies that prevent it from having a seat at the table in any legitimate peace talks or discussions about Syria’s future. Finally, I will work to prevent American and other aid from flowing to Iran’s ally, Hezbollah, a known terrorist group.
A Valuable Trading Partner
Not only is Israel the Middle East’s only functioning democracy, it is a vital trading partner of the United States. In fact, the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Israel is the first one entered into by our nation. The United States is Israel’s largest trading partner, and Israel provides a significant and growing market for American machinery, agricultural products, aircraft, and optic and medical instruments. If elected, I will work to expand American trade with Israel.