FMEP Legislative Round-Up: January 15, 2021


1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Hearings & Markups
3. On the Record

Shameless plugs

Upcoming webinar: FMEP will be hosting a webinar entitled, “Calling the Thing by its Proper Name: “Apartheid” Between the Jordan River & the Mediterranean Sea,” featuring Hagai El-ad (Btselem),  Sawsan Zaher (Adalah), and Nathan Thrall (author and journalist, formerly of the International Crisis Group). The catalyst for this event  is a report issued this week by Btselem entitled, “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid” and a recent piece by Nathan in the London Review of Book entitled, “The Separate Regimes Delusion.” Our third panelist, Sawsan, has an important perspective on the issue, as she has litigated several landmark cases before the Israeli Supreme Court challenging discriminatory laws and policies against Palestinians, including the recent Jewish Nation State Basic Law. You can find more details & register for this event here.

Past webinars/podcasts:

  • On 1/11, FMEP – together with the Norwegian Refugee Council – held a fantastic webinar entitled,”‘Raided and Razed’: West Bank Education under Attack.” Check it out here.
  • On 1/12, FMEP released a podcast featuring Peter Beinart interviewing Btselem’s Hagai El-ad about Btselem’s new report (applying the term “apartheid” to the situation on both sides of the Green Line).  Check it out here.
  • On 1/14, FMEP released a podcast featuring Peter Beinart in conversation with Jonathan Kuttab on the topic, “Beyond the Two State Solution” (which is also the title of Jonathan’s new book).
  • Also this week the Arab Center released a podcast “The Biden Administration & Israel/Palestine Policy: What to Expect” featuring Yousef Munayyer interviewing me. Check it out here.

*Brought to you in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Round-Up was born!

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(SANCTIONING EVERYONE WHO GOES NEAR HAMAS or PIJ) HR 261: Introduced 1/11 by Mast (R-FL) and Gottheimer (D-NJ), along with 11 bipartisan cosponsors, “To impose sanctions with respect to foreign support for Palestinian terrorism, and for other purposes,” aka, “the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Financial Services. This legislation was previously introduced in the last Congress as HR 1850, where it was actively supported by AIPAC. HR 1850 attracted 44 bipartisan cosponsors and was passed by the House – after zero discussion of the substance of the bill, either in committee or on the floor – under suspension of the rules and by a voice vote. Also see: my Twitter thread about the new bill; Mast press release; and report from Jewish News Syndicate – US House reintroduces bill to sanction fiscal supporters of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad

(CENSURING REP. GOHMERT) H. Res. 19: Introduced 1/5 by Wasserman Shultz (D-FL), “Condemning and censuring Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas.” The whereas clauses of this resolution include: “Whereas Representative Gohmert has made previous comments insisting the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from President Donald Trump and that urged Trump’s supporters to consider a ‘revolution’ like the 2013 Egyptian protests in which hundreds of Egyptians died, stating that ‘If they can do that there, think of what we can do here.’ Referred to the House Committee on Ethics.


(RESPOND TO IRAN’S AGGRESSION) Steil letter to Pompeo: On 1/14 Steil (R-WI) announced that he had sent a letter (not dated) to SecState Pompeo listing Iran’s recent sins and stating We cannot tolerate these provocations. I urge you to respond to Iran’s recent actions with appropriate resolve and work with our allies to provide a united front against Iranian aggression.Press release is here; Steil Twitter thread is here.

2. Hearings & Markups & Events

1/12/21: The Middle East Forum (home of the Israel Victory Project) held a webinar featuring Rep. Lamborn (R-CO). See MEF article: “Rep. Doug Lamborn: Congress Must ’Keep the Biden Administration’s Feet to the Fire’ on Israel, Iran” [Excerpt: Lamborn, one of the strongest defenders of Israel in Congress, is a strong proponent of the Israel Victory paradigm advanced by MEF President Daniel Pipes, which holds that the Palestinians must be made to accept defeat in their quest to destroy Israel and accept its right to exist as a Jewish state.” [To get a sense of MEF’s broader worldview/agenda, note that today, Jan. 15, it is holding a webinar entitled “Visiting the Implications if Muhammed Never Existed.” The invitation blurb for the event states: “Conventional history holds that Muhammed was born in Mecca, received visitation from the Angel Gabriel at age forty, and died in 632 Medina. But what if Muhammed never existed? That’s the question Robert Spencer asks and answers in his MEF-commissioned book, Did Muhammed Exist?, building on evidence that a committee in Iraq wrote the Koran. What does this imply for Islamic faith and practice?” The SPLC, notably, describes Robert Spencer as “Spencer is one of the most prolific anti-Muslim figures in the United States.”]

3. On the Record

Members On The Record…

…In General

Bacon (R-NE) 1/15: Tweet – “Many think the US-Israel relationship is a one-way street, but that is not the case. Just like the Cold War, as described in this article, our relationship today is a win-win where both gain strength from each other.” [Linked to Nov 2020 article in Commentary Magazine, How Israel Helped Win the Cold War]

Smith (R-NJ) 1/14: Rep. Smith’s bill to combat anti-Semitism becomes law [“We’ve seen sacred places like synagogues and graves desecrated. We’ve heard the use of anti-Semitic slurs and threats, and the open targeting of the State of Israel with what the great Soviet refusenik and former religious prisoner Natan Sharansky told me are the ‘three Ds’– demonization, double-standards and de-legitimization of Israel.”]

Collins (D-ME) 1/11: Susan Collins recounts the moment rioters stormed the Capitol [“My first thought was that the Iranians had followed through on their threat to strike the Capitol”]

…Re: Iran, Yemen & Houthis

Steil (R-WI) 1/14: Tweet – “WATCH: Iran’s actions are an attempt to intimidate world powers into providing sanctions relief & other concessions. The US & our allies must not be intimidated. Enforcing sanctions & supporting allies in the Middle East who are under threat will help rein in Iranian aggression.” [linked to video]

Babin (R-TX) 1/14: Tweet – “It’s critical that we never forget to look up & look out. Iran must be checked. History has shown that a deal like Obama’s foolish Iran Nuclear Deal won’t stop this oppressive regime from causing harm – it will only aid it, & we cannot allow that.” Linked to Wall Street Journal article, Iran Is Assembling Gear Able to Produce Key Nuclear-Weapons Material

Meeks (D-NY) 1/11: Meeks Statement on Designation of Houthis as Terrorist Organization

Risch (R-ID) & McCaul (R-TX) 1/11: Risch, McCaul: Terrorism Designation in Yemen Must Include Mitigation of Humanitarian Impacts

Deutch (D-FL) 1/11: Rep. Deutch Statement on Pompeo’s Move to Designate Houthis as Terrorist Group (also see Twitter thread)

Coons (D-DE) 1/11: Tweet – “Yesterday’s decision by Secretary Pompeo to designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organization undermines U.S. interests and values in Yemen and the Gulf region.

Cardin (D-MD) 1/11: Tweet – “The status quo in Yemen is unacceptable. We need a political solution, but designating the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization will only hurt the Yemeni people. This decision risks human catastrophe and should be reversed by the Biden admin.” [linked to the State Dept’s announcement of the designation]

Steil (R-WI) 1/11: Tweet – “The President-elect’s nom for CIA Director ‘worked closely in the Obama admin on the Iran nuclear deal.’ For 4 years, we’ve weakened the Iranian Regime. A reversal to weak policy & 1 sided deals that embolden Iran’s leaders will have dangerous effects.” Linked to CNN article: Biden to nominate William Burns as CIA director, turning to a longtime diplomat to lead agency in post-Trump era

Young (R-IN) 1/11: Young Condemns Houthi Designation in Yemen [also see Twitter thread]

Re: Israel & Impeachment of Donald Trump

LaMalfa (R-CA) 1/13: “...You hate him for not subscribing to and shackling us with the religion of climate change and one-sided Paris accords. You hate him for Israel…

Zeldin (R-NJ): “Thank you to the President for his efforts to defeat MS-13 in my district. Thank you to the President for his efforts to move the Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, to take out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qasem Soleimani, to eliminate the ISIS caliphate, to enter into the historic Abraham Accords, to have an economy this time last year that was stronger than I ever remember in my entire lifetime.”

McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 1/13: “…people on the right have excused and defended President Trump, including me, because he stood for free markets and economic growth, led the most pro-life administration in history, defended religious freedom, stood for Israel, and supported the rule of law. For Trump supporters like me, it meant turning a blind eye to arrogant, prideful, and bullying behavior. We all need to take some responsibility, tone down the rhetoric, stop silencing anyone and everyone who might disagree with us, and do better.

Re: Sheldon Adelson

Republicans in both the House and Senate issues statements and/or Tweets eulogizing/canonizing Sheldon Adelson. These include: Cruz (R-TX) [Twitter, statement], Salazar (R-FL), Scott (R-FL) [Twitter; statement], Cornyn (R-TX), Cassidy (R-LA), Blunt (R-MO) [Twitter, statement], Cotton (R-AR), McCarthy (R-CA), Graham (R-SC), Wilson (R-SC)


Articles and Reports Related to the Hill

Jewish Insider 1/15: Ritchie Torres vows to prevent the ‘Corbynization’ of progressive politics [“Torres, who describes himself as ‘the embodiment of a pro-Israel progressive,’ said he is mindful of anti-Israel elements within the Democratic Party that have the ability to turn antisemitic. ‘We have an obligation to combat antisemitism no matter where it emerges, whether it’s from the right, from the left. It has to be fought at every turn and in every form,’ he said. ‘My concern is that the pro-BDS left could be to the Democratic Party in American politics what Jeremy Corbyn has been to the Labour Party in British politics,’ Torres cautioned. ‘It only takes a few demagogues to pump antisemitic poison into the bloodstream of a political party. And so I see it as my mission to resist the Jeremy Corbynization of progressive politics in the United States.’”]

Jewish News Syndicate 1/14: Mondaire Jones of New York seeks to call out anti-Semitism ‘wherever it exists’

Jewish News Syndicate 1/12: South Carolina’s Nancy Mace: From Waffle House to US House [Excerpts: “I am deeply against any renewed calls to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. There is no way you can ever trust Iran. It’s the very country that its leadership calls “Down with America” and antagonizes our biggest ally in the region, Israel.” And: “We need to do everything we can to support Israel in the region. We can’t allow Iran to reign over them in any shape or form.” And: “The people who support the BDS movement go behind the scenes [???], and what they say is very un-American and anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. We can’t tolerate that in any shape or form.”]