Israel and the United States
As a United States Marine, I spent my share of time in the Middle East. I have first-hand knowledge of the region that is at the center of so many of our foreign policy debates.
I admire and support the State of Israel for many of the same reasons I admire and support the United States. Israel and the United States share common values: respecting human rights, protecting individual liberty, and pursuing peace. Israel and the United States face the same enemy and both will prevail if the U.S.-Israel alliance remains strong.
Israel is an example of a vibrant, living democracy, which respects the rights of all its citizens – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, man or woman. Set in a region where religious intolerance and subjugation of women and minorities is the rule, Israel grants its Arab citizens more rights than they are afforded in neighboring Arab countries. There have always been Arab and Muslim representatives in the Israeli Knesset (legislature) and a Muslim Arab currently serves as a Supreme Court justice. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown, rather than declined, in the past fifty years. People are free to practice, or not practice, any religion they choose, and the rights of women and all minorities are protected by law.
Israel has been under relentless attack since the establishment of the modern state in 1948. The animus towards Israel is in part because of intolerance for a Jewish state and in part because Israel’s pluralistic, democratic, creative society stands in stark contrast to the other brutal and repressive regimes that reign in the Middle East. The corrupt, tyrannical governments which surround Israel deflect criticism from themselves by pointing an accusatory finger at Israel.
Despite the hostility of its neighbors, Israel has always sought peaceful relations and made repeated painful concessions to achieve an illusive peace. Israel withdrew from the Sinai (and its only oil fields) with the hope for peace with Egypt. Israel withdrew from Gaza in a bold move to encourage Palestinians to make their own move towards peace. Instead, the terror group, Hamas, took control and launched over 10,000 rockets aimed at Israeli civilians.
Peace is the last thing on the mind of some of Israel’s neighbors, especially Iran, where the president denies the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews, while planning a future Holocaust and the murder of the six million Jews who live in Israel. Iran does not hide its intention to “wipe Israel off the map” as the regime seeks the nuclear means of accomplishing its goal. A nuclear Iran poses a threat not only to Israel and the region but to the U.S. and all our allies.
I will promote legislation that imposes crippling sanctions on Tehran’s rogue regime and, more importantly, put in place enforcement of the sanctions. I am committed to sending a clear message to corporations and nations who aid Iran’s nuclear aspirations that they must choose between doing business with Iran and doing business with the U.S. I am equally committed to letting Iran’s leader know that the U.S. is serious and that all options are on the table. They must understand that an attack on Israel will be considered an attack on the United States.
The United States must honor its commitments to Israel, not only for Israel’s sake but for the sake of our own reputation among the nations of the world. Our actions show the world whether the U.S. can be trusted to keep its word. Already Keith Ellison has gone on record encouraging the Palestinian Authority to violate the principles of the 1993 Oslo Peace Framework (which were formed under U.S. auspices) by seeking unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State in the United Nations.
Ellison’s actions threaten security talks in the region. In letters of agreement, the U.S. guaranteed that any peace settlement will be the product of negotiations by the parties and that the first step on the road to peace is the cessation of violence and the incitement to violence. If our ally Israel cannot trust us, other nations will be reluctant to view the United States as an honest broker.
A unilaterally declared Palestinian state, aligned in a unity government with Hamas, not only violates the terms of all previous agreements but will also lead away from and not toward peace.
Israel is sitting at the negotiating table and there is no partner on the other side. Any efforts by the U.S. to pressure Israel are counterproductive. I oppose any effort by the United States to put pressure on Israel to return to the 1949 Armistice lines, also called the Auschwitz borders. I support the end of all aid to the Palestinian Authority until it and its various factions, which includes Hamas, end its support for terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. The obstacle to peace is not “settlements” or borders; it is the refusal to acknowledge the existence of Israel, the Jewish homeland.
As your representative, I will stand up for our loyal friend, Israel, and for the shared values we cherish.