- Dec. 6 (in conjunction with The Other Israel Film Festival): a virtual panel to discuss the new documentary (about AIPAC), “Kings of Capitol Hill,” ft. filmaker Mor Loushy and two people featured in the film, Tom Dine (formerly of AIPAC) and Simone Zimmerman (B’Tselem USA), moderated by Lara Friedman — details/RSVP here.
- Dec. 8: FMEP/Just Vision webinar – “Impending Evictions and the Struggle to Live in East Jerusalem: Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah,” ft. Mohammed El-Kurd (Resident of Sheikh Jarrah) & Fayrouz Sharqawi (Grassroots Al-Quds) – details/RSVP here.
- Dec. 10, FMEP webinar — “The View from Europe: Israel, Palestine, Biden, & Antisemitism,” ft. Dr. Muriel Asseburg (Senior Fellow in the Middle East and Africa Division of Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin), Dr. Dimitris Bouris (Assistant Professor/Senior Lecturer of EU Security/European External Relations at the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam), Alexandra Gerasimčiková (Policy advisor for ACT Alliance EU, Brussels) and Dr. Anders Persson (Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Linnaeus University) — details/RSVP here.
- Check out Dahlia Sheindlin’s podcast series “Settlements 360” – the final episode (episode 7), “Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and a former US diplomat in the Middle East, examines settlements in the context of negotiations, the US role in the peace process and why negotiations have so far failed.”
- IMEU/Omar Baddar podcast “This is Palestine,” on the topic of Weaponization of Antisemitism,” ft. FMEP’s Lara Friedman – listen to it here.
- Jewish Currents published a number of short analyses on Pompeo’s West Bank trip, including from FMEP’s Lara Friedman — read them all here.
*Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!
(FY21 NDAA) HR 6395: On 12/2 work was completed on the FY21 NDAA Conference Report, which was filed 12/3 (underscoring the fact that work on this has been going on for some time). Joint Explanatory Statement is here; conference report is here. Statement issued by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Thornberry (R-TX) is here. Also see: Politico 12/1 — Trump threatens to veto defense bill over social media rule.
The summary of the conference agreement notes that the final bill:
- “Includes the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Act of 2020, a package of reforms that codifies $500 million in U.S. assistance to Israel under the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding for eight years, one of the largest historical provisions of defense aid to Israel.”
- “Includes dozens of measures and millions of additional dollars to boost U.S.-Israel cooperation—via the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Food and Drug Administration, NASA, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and other agencies—on missile defense, directed energy, war reserves stockpiles, trade, international development, high-tech research, health technologies,space, desalination, defense R&D, acquisition, and numerous other issues.”
- “Allows the creation of a Defense Department U.S.-Israel working group on operations and technology issues to facilitate greater cooperation between the United States and Israeli companies on defense acquisition and innovation.”
- Comment: As previously noted in the Round-Up, this NDAA represents an unprecedented bonanza for Israel: millions in funding; a role in Cabinet-level discussions on US military planning; codification of US aid as an untouchable entitlement; and far-reaching new domains of US funding and cooperation. Some people may think — great! Others may have policy/substantive concerns with some or much of this, not the least being that major policy & funding decisions of this nature merit real oversight and debate (which did not happen here). But there is no denying that this NDAA is nothing short of an historic JACKPOT for Israel. And coming during a period when Israel is escalating Greater Israel policies (even if temporarily suspending formal annexation) it sends an unmistakable message. That message is: as far as this Congress is considered (and this is bipartisan and non-controversial), not only will there no price for policies that equal permanent occupation (and apartheid/annexation), such policies will be ever-more lavishly rewarded, including by codifying into US law Israel impunity & entitlement.
(TARGETING IRAN) HR 8794: Introduced 11/20 by Axne (D-IA) and Steil (R-WI), the “Preventing Illicit Finance Act.” Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. Axne press release is here. On 12/3, Steil delivered remarks on the House floor (video here) opposing a return to the JCPOA and promoting HR 8749 as a way of maintaining pressure on the Iranian government.
(TARGETING THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD) S. 4939: Introduced 12/1 by Cruz (R-TX) and 3 Republican cosponsors, “A bill to require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Cruz previously pursued this same effort in 2017 (S. 68) and in 2015 (S. 2230). Also see: Sen. Cruz reintroduces act to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group (Jerusalem Post)
(CURBING KSA’S POSSIBLE WMD PURSUIT) S. 4946: Introduced 12/2 by Markey (D-MA), “A bill to counter Saudi Arabia’s possible pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
(CONDEMNING POLICE VIOLENCE EVERYWHERE) H. Res. 1240: Introduced 11/24 by Omar (D-MN), and currently cosponsored by Pressley (D-MA) and McGovern (D-MA), “Expressing condemnation for police brutality wherever in the world it occurs.” Omar’s 11/23 press release announcing the resolution is here; her tweet on the resolution is here; she also published an op-ed on Medium discussing the resolution. Referred to the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The resolution’s “whereas” clauses include, notably: “Whereas the United States is the largest arms exporter in the world, including as the top provider to 13 out of 19 countries in the Middle East” and “Whereas the United States is the largest developer and exporter of ‘‘less-lethal’’ weapons, including tear gas, in the world…” The resolved clauses include calls on the U.S. to “prohibit the sales of arms, ammunition, and ‘less-lethal’’ policing equipment to countries with demonstrated patterns of human rights violations by security forces or impunity for human rights violations by security forces” and “prohibit other forms of security assistance, including police training, to countries with demonstrated patterns of human rights violations by security forces or impunity for human rights violations by security forces.”
(TARGETING IRAN-BACKED FORCES IN IRAQ) HR 8844 (pdf)): Introduced 12/3 by Wilson (R-SC) and no cosponsors, “To require reports and determinations relating to imposition of sanctions against the Badr Organization, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Judiciary Committee. Also see: Congress Considers First-Ever Sanctions on Top Iranian Terror Group (Free Beacon); Wilson tweet announcing his resolution is here, press release is here.
(CONCERN OVER DETENTION OF AUSTIN TICE) H. Res. 17: Introduced 1/3/19 by Green (D-TX) and having 41 cosponsors, “Expressing concern over the detention of Austin Tice and Majd Kamalmaz, and for other purposes.” passed 12/3 under Suspension of the Rules by a voice vote.
($$ FOR ISRAEL IN DEFENSE APPROPS) Senators’ letter to House/Senate appropriators: On 12/1, Senators Collins (R-ME) and Gillibrand (D-NY) led a letter, co-signed by 9 Senate colleagues, addressed to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. In the letter, the Senators call for inclusion in the FY21 Defense Appropriations bill of US-Israel anti-tunnel funding and US-Israel counter-unmanned aerial systems. Notably, the letter was released publicly by AIPAC in a tweet thanking the signers and noting “Close U.S. collaboration with Israel helps keep both countries safe from shared and emerging threats.”
(SISI – LET HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES GO!) Baldwin-Pocan letter: ON 11/25. Senator Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Pocan (D-WI) lead a letter, co-signed by 10 other senators and 25 House members, calling on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to unconditionally release detained human rights advocates, immediately cease other arrests and end the smear campaign against civil rights organizations in Egypt. Press release is here. NOTE — On 12/3, Egypt released the EIPR staff members — see: Egypt releases human rights campaigners after international outcry (Washington Post)
(OPPOSING ARMS SALE TO UAE) NGO letter to Congress: On 11/20, an international coalition of NGOs published a letter calling on Congress to block proposed arms sales to the UAE.
(ANSWERS RE: IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN DRAWDOWN) Kinzinger and Moulton letter: On 11/20, Reps. Kinzinger (R-IL) and Moulton (D-MA) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding answers regarding the recently announced plans to drastically cut the number of diplomatic and military personnel currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
12/9: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “International Human Rights and the Closing Civic Space.” Scheduled witnesses (as of this writing) are Joanne Lin, Amnesty International USA; and Courtney Radsch, Committee to Protect Journalists.
12/9: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Diplomacy or Dead End: An Evaluation of Syria Policy.” The sole witness scheduled is Joel Rayburn, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy.
12/2: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing entitled, “Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls in the Middle East: An Analysis of Current Trends and U.S. Policy.” Witnesses were: Jomana Qaddourm, Atlantic Council (statement); Maha Yahya, Director, Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center (statement); Hala Aldosari, Scholar in Women’s Health and Activist from Saudi Arabia (statement); and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Council on Foreign Relations (statement). Video of the hearing is here. Also see statement Ranking Member McCaul (R-TX).
Key Committee Appointments
Granger (R-TX) 12/3: Granger Reelected as Lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee
Jewish Insider 12/3: Meeks wins House Foreign Affairs chairmanship
Roll Call 12/1: Rosa DeLauro wins panel vote for Appropriations gavel
Jewish Insider 12/1: Gregory Meeks wins key recommendation for Foreign Affairs chairmanship
Members On The Record…
…on Miscellaneous Issues
Reschenthaler (R-PA) 12/3: Tweet – “.@SpeakerPelosi won’t stand up to anti-Semitic members like @RepRashida & @Ilhan because she needs their votes for speaker. Congress needs to put partisanship aside and address their actions.”
Murphy (D-CT) 12/2: Murphy Discusses Future Of The Iran Nuclear Deal, Administration’s Proposed UAE Arms Sale, And Progressive Foreign Policy Priorities For Next Congress On Pod Save The World
Smith (R-NJ) 11/30: Op-ed on CNN – “’Fighting anti-Semitism online requires a global effort”
Banks (R-IN) 11/30: Tweet – “From Obama’s new book: ‘For the next three decades, Israel would engage in a succession of conflicts with its Arab neighbors … .’ False. In every case, Arab states first attacked #Israel. No wonder Obama fumbled on Middle East policy! He doesn’t understand its history!”
Kim (D-NJ) 11/28: Tweet – “From Iran to the #COVID19 crisis, @Transition46 have incredible challenges ahead of them. It’s why having a team ready to work from day one is so important. Thanks to @AliVelshi for the chance to discuss why these selections are so important to our future.” [linked to video]
Rice (D-NY) 11/24: Tweet – “Antony Blinken is widely respected as a skilled diplomat. His proven ability to work with our allies, including Israel, will serve our nation well. I commend President-elect Biden for nominating him for Secretary of State.”
HFAC 11/22: Tweet – “For years, Congress has urged Palestinians officials to put a stop to this perverse practice of making payments to Palestinian prisoners. If this is serious, the U.S. and Israel should welcome the change.” [linked to NYT article: Seeking Restart With Biden, Palestinians Eye End to Prisoner Payments”]
Hill (R-AR) 11/21: Tweet – “Last week my resolution, “Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt” was featured in @ArkCatholic. H.Res.49 would provide support for #Coptic #Christians, who are experiencing persecution not only from terrorist groups such as #ISIS but also from their fellow #Egyptians.”
Omar (D-MN) 11/20: Twitter thread on US support for dictators and what Biden can do [deals with Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel/Palestine], linked to her article in the Nation, “Representative Ilhan Omar: ‘I Hope President Biden Seizes This Opportunity.’
Pallone (D-NY) 11/18: Tweet – “Good to see that Israeli and Palestinian leadership have committed to resume security and financial cooperation. Hoping to see both sides continue on a pathway toward peace with the support of a Biden Administration.”
Lowenthal (D-CA) 11/18: Tweet – “I welcome the resumption of security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian authority. This is another important step away from the brink of disaster. I look forward to working to advance the cause of peace and justice in the coming years.”
…on Egypt Targeting Human Rights Advocates
[NOTE — On 12/3, Egypt released the EIPR staff members — see: Egypt releases human rights campaigners after international outcry (Washington Post)]
Baldwin (D-WI) 11/25: Tweet – “Following the baseless detainment of human rights advocates by security forces in Egypt, @repmarkpocan and I are leading our colleagues to call for their immediate release.” [See section 1, above, for coverage of the letter]
Cardin (D-MD) 11/23: Tweet – “This unprecedented attack on one of #Egypt’s leading human rights organizations is deeply troubling. Egyptian authorities must not interfere with EIPR’s work to defend the freedoms and rights of Egyptian citizens.”
Sanders (I-VT) 11/20: Tweet – “The recent wave of arrests in Egypt of courageous human rights defenders from @EIPR is an outrage. The incoming administration must make it clear to Egypt and all countries that, once again, the United States will support democracy, not dictatorship”
Coons (D-DE) 11/19: Tweet – “The arrest of 3 members of @EIPR leadership is another disturbing example of Egypt’s crackdown on human rights activists. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights holds officials accountable & enables democratic change. They & their work must be respected & protected.”
Deutch (D-FL) 11/19: Tweet – “Persecution of human rights defenders, minority communities, and civil society in Egypt can’t continue. The detention & harassment of EIPR staff is another in a growing trend of disturbing, politically-motivated actions by the Egyptian govt.”
Baldwin (D-WI) 11/19: Tweet – “Human rights workers with @EIPR should not be targeted & detained by security forces in Egypt for defending basic human rights. I am calling for @USEmbassyCairo to take action and protect those who are working for basic human rights in Egypt.”
Pocan (D-MI) 11/19: Tweet – “The arrest of @EIPR’s staff, Karim Ennarah & Mohammed Basheer, by security forces in Egypt is unacceptable. We cannot stay silent as human rights defenders are targeted & detained. Karim & Mohammed should be released immediately.”
…on F-35 Sales to UAE
Republican Policy Committee 12/3: Backgrounder – UAE Arms Sales
Murphy (D-CT) 12/2: Twitter thread on Menendez-Murphy-Paul resolution opposing arms sales to the UAE [“I have introduced a privileged resolution (meaning it must receive a floor vote) with @SenatorMenendez and @RandPaul to stop a massive, $23 billion sale of F-35s, Reaper drones, and munitions to the UAE. This is really important, and I want you to understand why.”]
Blunt (R-MO) 12/1: Blunt Discusses Support for Trump Administration’s Proposed U.S. Arms Sale to UAE
Murphy (D-CT) 11/30: Tweet – “Just left the classified briefing on the proposed massive, unprecedented arms sale to UAE, including F-35s and Reaper drones. Just a mind blowing number of unsettled issues and questions the Administration couldn’t answer. Hard to overstate the danger of rushing this though.”
Omar (D-MN) 11/23: Tweet – “A single F-35 costs over $100 million. For that kind of money, we could feed 40 million kids. I’ve introduced legislation to block the sale of F-35s and other weapons to the UAE, a global human rights abuser. We should be focused on the deadly pandemic, not arming dictators.”
…on Pompeo/Trump BDS & Settlement Goods Labeling Policies
McCollum (D-MN) 11/20: press release – “McCollum: To Promote Middle East Peace and Security, Democrats in Congress Must Reject Illegal Israeli-Trump Annexation of Palestinian Lands”
Kustoff (R-TN) 11/20: Tweet – “The dangerous BDS campaign is anti-Semitic and seeks to delegitimize and economically strangle Israel and her people. I appreciate @SecPompeo and @realDonaldTrump for standing up and fighting back against this hateful movement.”
Blackburn (R-TN) 11/20: Tweet – “The decision to label products coming from Israel as ‘Made in Israel’ when exported is a step in the right direction. This type of anti-Semitic discrimination should not be tolerated.”
Cheney (R-WY) 11/20: Weekly newsletter includes “State Department To Identify Organizations Engaged In Anti-Semitic BDS Activity: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday that he was directing the United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, to identify organizations engaged in politically motivated actions intended to penalize or limit commercial relations with Israel. I applaud this important announcement. Radical Democrats who embrace the hateful BDS movement are knowingly supporting an anti-Semitic effort that seeks to delegitimize and demonize one of our closest allies. This is another key step that shows we stand unapologetically with Israel.”
Biggs (R-AZ) 11/19: Tweet – “President @realDonaldTrump continues to strengthen our alliance with Israel with these historic actions. We stand with Israel and against the global anti-Israel BDS campaign.”
Grothmen (R-WI) 11/19: Tweet – “The global Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) campaign was created to attack Israel and hurt its citizens. Thank you to @StateDept and @SecPompeo for officially recognizing the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and condemning this terrible practice.”
Cotton (R-AR) 11/19: Cotton Praises Change Allowing Labeling of Israeli Goods
…on Iran Policy & Assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
Cohen (D-TN) 12/4: Tweet – “The U.S. should expand diplomacy with #Iran & reenter the #nuclear deal (#JCPOA). I strongly support provisions in the House FY21 Defense #Appropriations Act that make clear #Trump has NO AUTHORIZATION to launch attacks on Iran w/o approval from Congress.” [Linked to NYT article – Assassination in Iran Could Limit Biden’s Options. Was That the Goal?
Green (R-TN) 12/3: Tweet – “Iran’s new law barring weapons inspectors and returning to pre-2015 uranium enrichment levels clearly signals that Iran has no interest in stability and peace in the Middle East. Pressure and strength is the only strategy that works with this regime.”
Cruz (R-TX) 12/2: Tweet – “Why does the Left have everything backwards? They have “concerns” with Israel (of course), but want to ‘engage’ with the America-hating Ayatollah in Iran. Query: which one is more likely to try to kill Americans?” [linked to FP article, Israel Is the Wrench in Biden’s Iran Policy]
Khanna (D-CA) 11/30: Tweet – “In January, grassroots pressure drove Congress to pass my bipartisan bill to block Trump from bombing Iran. We cannot let anyone drag us into a new war. Diplomacy is the way to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions & prevent catastrophic war.”
Lesko (R-AZ) 11/30: Tweet – “The Iran Nuclear deal was a disastrous policy that has done nothing to prevent Iran’s nuclear-weapons development and undermines our relationship with Israel. An Iran with large nuclear capabilities threatens people’s safety and security around the world.” [linked to WSJ editorial “Team Obama’s Iran Illusions”
Hill (R-AZ) 11/29: Tweet – “Iran is led by a radical regime that is the biggest terrorist threat in the #MiddleEast. @POTUS was right to exit from the #Iran nuclear deal, to place sanctions and put maximum pressure on the regime, and to take out Soleimani. Iran’s leaders have left their people behind.”
Zeldin (R-NY) 11/28: Tweet – “Never assume ANY position of weakness with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, Iran.” [linked to Fox News appearance where he mocks John Brennan tweets/analysis]
Kaine (D-VA) 11/28: Tweets – “The US works with allies to broker a deal capping Iran’s nuclear program far below weapons grade. Iran complies with deal, but Trump blows it up. Since US won’t comply, Iran stops complying and resumes enrichment. US/Iran trade attacks and get to verge of full war repeatedly.” & “In November, WH officials have to talk Trump out of a lame duck military strike. Now, assassination of Iranian official threatens to start war again. The last thing US needs is another war in the Middle East.”
Murphy (D-CT) 11/27: Tweet – “If the primary purpose of the killing of Mr. Fakhrizadeh was to make it harder to restart the Iran nuclear agreement, then this assassination does not make America, Israel or the world safer.”
Speier (D-CA) 11/27: Tweet – “I fear that we are at the brink of war with Iran. Iran’s chief scientist is assassinated and multiple sources attribute the murder to Israel. Did POTUS give his approval?”
Scalise (R-LA) 11/27: Tweet – “This says it all: Biden wants John Kerry—the man behind the disastrous Obama Iran deal—to call the shots on energy. We’d be back to the same failed policies. – Dependent on foreign energy – Jobs/manufacturing sent overseas America would be the loser. China would be the winner.”
Castro (D-TX) 11/27: Tweet – “This much is clear: the proven way to restrain Iran’s nuclear program is through relentless diplomacy. If the cynical goal of this killing is to hinder a return to the Iran deal, Americans and our allies are less safe.”
Kinzinger (R-IL) 11/27: Tweets attacking John Brennan tweets/analysis, including: “Absolutely reckless of you to tweet this. I’m happy he is dead. I’m surprised that you aren’t happy too. (Keep in mind these are the same people who predicted WW3 after we killed Solemani.)”
Babin (R-TX) 11/27: Tweet – “Iran continues to be a global threat. They’ve lied to the world & still provide aid & shelter to evil terrorists who relish in maiming/killing others. @POTUS’ actions to take down terrorists & keep this regime in check should be commended.” [Linked to AIPAC policy memo dated 11/19/20, Iran: Sheltering and Sponsoring Terror Against America]
Buck (R-CO) 11/24: Tweet – “The Biden Foreign Policy team gave pallets of cash to Iran and let ISIS run rampant through the Middle East. No thanks.”
Carper (D-DE) 11/23: Twitter thread, starting with – “From the Paris Climate Accords to the Iran nuclear deal, Donald Trump, and those around him, have spent the last four years recklessly abandoning our allies and walking away from carefully crafted international agreements with no alternatives in place.”
Waltz (R-FL) 11/19: Tweet – “#Iran’s tyrannical regime has oppressed its own people, brutalizing and murdering anyone who dissents. Right move by the Trump administration to target these officials and hold them accountable for their human rights abuses”
Deutch (D-FL) 11/19: Tweet – “The Administration’s ‘so-called’ Iran policy has resulted in: 1) Huge increase in Iran’s uranium stockpile and reduced breakout time 2) Isolating US from EU allies we need to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. We need real diplomacy for real results.”
…on issues related to Saudi Arabia & Yemen
Young (R-IN) 12/2: Tweets – “Good meeting w/ @WFPChief David Beasley. We discussed the ongoing crisis in Yemen, the consequences of designating the Houthis as a terror org, and the need for the Saudis & Gulf States to deliver aid.” and “As @ChrisCoons @ChrisMurphyCT & I stated last week, @SecPompeo should not move forward with the Houthi designation. If he does it would prevent the critical delivery of food, medical supplies, & other items needed to combat COVID-19 & famine in Yemen.”
Speier (D-CA) 12/1: Tweet – “Saudi Arabia’s transfer of Loujain al-Hathloul’s case to the Specialized Criminal Court, known for its lack of transparency & due process, proves it continues to use intimidation & fear to silence women’s rights defenders. Loujain, Samar & others must be released immediately!”
Khanna (D-CA) 11/29: Tweet – “Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. Ending any US support for the Saudi’s war should be a top priority in the Biden Administration.”
Bonamici (D-OR) 11/25: Twitter thread starting with – “‘When we were silent and the world didn’t know about her, she was being tortured… Every time we don’t make noise, she’s put in solitary confinement… the only thing that works now is outside pressure.’ @LinaAlhathloul advocating for the release of her sister @LoujainHathloul”
SFRC 11/24: Tweet – “As Loujain al-Hathloul faces trial this week in Saudi Arabia, the United States reaffirms its support of #humanrights and encourages the immediate & unconditional release of Loujain and others unjustly detained.”
Schneider (D-IL) 11/23: Tweet – “Though the specifics are not yet known, Sec Pompeo and PM Netanyahu meeting in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince MBS is a significant development. All steps toward peace and normalized relationships in the region are welcome and should be supported.”
DeFazio (D-OR) 11/23: Tweet – “The U.S. has assisted a Saudi-led coalition with its devastating war in Yemen for the past 5 years—contributing to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. My bipartisan legislation would end our unauthorized military involvement in Yemen once and for all.”
Schneider (D-IL) 11/23: Tweet – “Though the specifics are not yet known, Sec Pompeo and PM Netanyahu meeting in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince MBS is a significant development. All steps toward peace and normalized relationships in the region are welcome and should be supported.”
Markey (D-MA) 11/21: Tweet – “As Saudi Arabia hosts the #G20, remember that the same leader who had Jamal Khashoggi murdered wants to acquire a nuclear weapon. My legislation would stop bin Salman and the Kingdom’s reported illicit nuclear programs in their tracks.”
Sherman (D-CA) 11/19: Twitter thread – “Yesterday I spoke to the NDAA Conference Committee urging the inclusion of my amendment that would prevent the submission of a 123 Agreement unless the partner nation signs an Additional Protocol.” & “Saudi Arabia wants to partner with the United States on a civil nuclear program. They need a Section 123 agreement with us in order to do so in a meaningful way.” & “The AP provides for greater safeguards & access to additional sites in a country with a nuclear program. It’s essential, especially for a country that wants to play around w/enrichment. If you can’t trust a regime with a bone saw, you can’t trust them with nuclear weapons.”
Bonamici (D-OR) 11/19: Tweet – “Loujain al-Hathloul exemplifies the peaceful struggle for equal rights for women in Saudi Arabia. The #PENCounterSummit is this Friday. Join us in calling on the Saudi government to free Loujain from incarceration and to lift the threat of continued persecution of her and others.”
…on Attacks rock-star congressional staffer Reema Dodin (who is an aweome human being & my friend) — because she is Palestinian-American
Hoyer (D-MD) 11/25: Tweet – “President-elect Biden made a terrific choice in naming Reema Dodin as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs. Her knowledge of the Senate is second to none, and she is a pleasure to work with. The American people are advantaged by her service.”
Wyden (D-OR) 11/24: Tweet – “You would be hard-pressed to find someone as talented, passionate, and whip smart as Reema Dodin in Washington DC. The Biden administration couldn’t have picked a more capable person to join its team to work with Congress.”
Blumenthal (D-CT) 11/24: Tweet – “Over my 10 years in the Senate, Reema has been an invaluable source of insight & counsel. She is invariably conscientious & caring, & the Biden Admin is lucky to have her. I’ll miss her on the Senate Floor, but look forward to working w/her in her new role.”
Durbin (D-IL) 11/24: Tweet – “Excited that my Floor Director, Reema Dodin, will be joining President-elect Biden’s Leg Affairs team. She is smart, trusted, & has the respect of members on both sides of the aisle. Reema is just what our new President needs to help him in the Senate.”
Coons (D-DE) 11/24: Tweet – “This is great news. Reema Dodin is respected and trusted throughout the Senate on both sides of the aisle. She will be an asset to President-elect Biden and will help us get things done for the American people.”
Carson (D-IN) 11/24: Tweet – “Congrats to Reema Dodin on this well-deserved post in the Biden Administration! It’s hard to think of anyone more qualified to help the White House work well with Congress. She literally wrote the book on it!”
Articles and Reports Related to the Hill
Elections/Campaigns – general
Jewish Insider 12/3: Military veteran Tony Gonzales, an advocate of peace through strength [“Gonzales went on a 10-day trip to Israel with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he was a National Security Fellow, in October 2018, five months after the U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was his first time in the Jewish state…Gonzales, whose state enacted a law in 2017 to prohibit virtually all contractors from partaking in the anti-Israel BDS movement, said he would support such legislation on the federal level.”]
Jewish Insider 12/3: Mondaire Jones says he wants to bridge the ideological divide [“Jones represents a district that is home to the largest Jewish population per capita of any county in the U.S., and he plans to visit Israel during his first term — if it is safe and possible to do so — as part of an effort to better understand the concerns of some of his constituents. In previous interviews with JI, he has positioned himself as a strong advocate of the Jewish state, rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement while supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”]
Jewish News Syndicate 12/1: Meet Cynthia Lummis: Rancher, lawyer, and now, first woman senator of Wyoming [“To the extent that anti-Semitism is on the rise, so is anti-Christianity. I’m a Christian, and I have seen a tremendous rise in anti-Christian activities in the United States and elsewhere. It does tend to dovetail with anti-Semitism. Both Judeo-Christian religious and life experiences are under attack, and I want to defend pro-Christian and pro-Jewish religious experiences worldwide.” & “The BDS movement is obviously an example of an international effort to undermine Israel and to thwart a two-state solution, so we have to work to delegitimize BDS and to stop anti-Israel economic policies and campaigns that put Israel on the defense.” & re: two-state solution: “It is so important that those decisions be made by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and that the United States and other countries not interfere with decisions about parcels of land. Those are better addressed at the Israeli-Palestinian level in discussions. But I do support a two-state solution. I don’t think it’s going to happen as long as Palestinians don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. When I was in Israel, when we would put that question to Palestinian leaders, they would not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. To me, that is kind of the ultimate stumbling block to getting a two-state solution, so I think that hurdle has to be crossed before the opportunity for a true two-state solution can be achieved.”]
Israel-Sudan Deal on the Rocks?
Times of Israel 12/1: Israel-Sudan normalization at risk over US terror lawsuits law — report
New York Times 12/1: Officials Say Peace Accord Between Sudan and Israel Is Already at Risk of Unraveling [“Representatives for Sudan say the East African country will exit the accords brokered by the Trump administration if Congress refuses to give it immunity from future terrorism claims in court.”]
Attacking Supporters of Palestinians in Congress [incl. attacks on Tlaib, D-MI, for re-tweeting tweet stating “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”]
Free Beacon 12/2: Omar and Tlaib Headline Anti-Israel Hatefest
Times of Israel/JTA 12/2: Democrat Tlaib shares tweet alluding to Israel’s elimination
New York Post 12/1: Rep. Rashida Tlaib scrubs anti-Semitic tweet from profile
Free Beacon 11/30: Rashida Tlaib Scrubs Another Anti-Semitic Tweet
Jerusalem Post 11/21: Rashida Tlaib, BDS supporter, to speak on JVP antisemitism panel
Times of Israel 12/3: Republicans on key panel ‘uneasy’ about F-35 sale to UAE — congressional aides
Al Jazeera 12/2: US Congress to vote on F-35 sale to UAE: Republican senator
Jewish Insider 12/1: Trump admin officials testify before Senate panel on UAE F-35 sale
National Interest 11/24: F-35s to the UAE A Good Idea? Not Everyone in the U.S. Senate Thinks So
Responsible Statecraft 11/19: Not so fast, say lawmakers who suspect lame duck Trump is expediting UAE weapons deal
News – General
Middle East Eye 12/1: INTERVIEW: Ro Khanna says ending Yemen war should be a priority for Biden
Free Beacon 11/30: Top Sanders Aide Accuses Israel of Terrorism