FMEP Legislative Round-Up: June 21, 2024


1. Bills, Resolutions
2. Letters
3. Hearings
4. Israel/Palestine in 2024 Elex/Politics
5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

This week’s round-up was guest-written by Haydn Welch and Sheridan Cole, advocacy officers at the Middle East Democracy Center, with contributions by Lara Friedman.

1. Bills & Resolutions

(US-JORDAN RELATIONS) S. 4563: Introduced 6/18/24 by Rubio (R-FL) and Rosen (D-NV), “A bill to improve defense cooperation between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Also see: Press release – Rubio, Rosen Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S.-Jordan Security Partnership

FY25 SFOPs – House

>>State-of-play: After the House Appropriations Committee marked up and passed the base text of the FY25 SFOPS appropriations bill on 6/12, the Republican-led House is moving forward with the bill, which includes the submission of a freewheeling array of amendments (many of which are relevant to the MENA region). The deadline to submit amendments to the bill was June 18, 2024 and the House Rules committee is scheduled to meet next week. The full list of amendments can be found here: 

Lara’s full analysis/summary of the Middle East-related details of the FY25 SFOPS bill and the accompanying report is available here.

>>Amendments of Note:

FY25 Defense Appropriations – House

>>State-of-play: Following the House Appropriations Committee marking up and passing the base text of the FY25 Defense appropriations bill on 6/13, the deadline to submit amendments to the bill was June 20, 2024 and the House Rules committee is scheduled to meet next week. The full list of amendments can be found here: 

>>Amendments of Note:

  • André Carson (D-IN) submitted an amendment which would strike Sec. 8114, which prohibits funds to UNRWA, and an amendment requiring a report to Congress on the death of Palestinian American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. 
  • Joe Wilson (R-SC) submitted an amendment that encourages the Department of Defense to “harmonize the defense industrial bases” between the United States and Israel.

Gregory Meeks (D-NY) submitted an amendment that would strike Sec. 8166(a) and (b), which bars funding for withholding, halting, reversing, or canceling the delivery of defense articles or services to Israel.

2. Letters

3. Hearings & Markups

6/18/24: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism held a hearing entitled, FY 2025 Budget Request for the Middle East and North Africa (video). Witnesses were Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf (statement) and Deputy Assistant USAID Administrator, Bureau for the Middle East Jeanne Pryor (statement). In the hearing, Leaf acknowledged that the Israeli government had engaged in “insufficient [post-war] planning,” claimed that insufficient humanitarian aid entering Gaza “is not because Israel is trying to impede it,” and conceded that the actions of Bezalel Smotrich are destabilizing to the West Bank. Senator Kaine (D-VA) pressed the administration on its certification via NSM-20 that Israel is not obstructing humanitarian aid, and Senator Van Hollen (D-MD) called on the administration to immediately sanction Smotrich. Also see: Barbara Leaf says that ‘reality’ might force Israel to allow PA to govern Gaza (Jewish Insider 6/19/24) 

6/26/24:The House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing entitled, “Combating Workplace Antisemitism in Postsecondary Education: Protecting Employees from Discrimination.” From the announcement: “As employers, colleges have a legal duty and moral obligation to protect staff and faculty from discrimination and harassment…The Committee’s wide-reaching antisemitism investigation exposed these institutions’ troubling pattern of willful dereliction of their legal duties and failure to address and prevent antisemitic incidents. This hearing will allow Committee members to hold these colleges accountable for their inability to protect their employees from abuse and unlawful discrimination.” No witnesses have been announced.

4. Israel/Palestine in 2024 Politics/Elex




  • Oregon Public Broadcasting 6/20/24: A major pro-Israel group spent big to influence one Oregon congressional race [New filings show a political action committee affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, donated $1.3 million in May to a group that spent more than $3.2 million waging attacks on one of three central candidates in that race: former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal. The group also poured $1 million into a separate group that lavished more than $2 million in support on Maxine Dexter, the physician and state lawmaker who ultimately won the race.]



New York

5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

Netanyahu & The Hill

  • Disagreements continued this week within the Democratic Party over Netanyahu’s upcoming July 24 address to a joint session of Congress, as Jayapal (D-WA) and Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) both called for Netanyahu’s invitation to be revoked. 
  • On Tuesday, Netanyahu released a video in which he said he told Blinken that it was “inconceivable” that the United States had been withholding arms and ammunition to Israel. While the White House did confirm a pause on one shipment of bombs, in response to Netanyahu’s comments, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about.” Congressional reactions varied:
    • McConnell (R-KY) 6/18/24: McConnell: Israel Deserves Ironclad Support, Not Grotesque Micromanagement; also see: Tal Schneider (Israeli journalist) 6/18/24: X-post (Hebrew) – In perfect coordination, shortly after Netanyahu’s surprising video about Israel not getting the weapons it needs (and the White House’s denial), the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell stood up and attacked the White House for not supplying the weapons.”
    • Torres (D-NY) 6/18/24: X-post“If you are looking to undermine the bipartisanship of the US-Israel relationship, then release a public video attacking the Biden Administration, which, despite hysterical opposition from the far left, has held firm in support of Israel for eight months and counting. Disagreements should be had in private. Hamas is emboldened by even the appearance of a ruptured relationship.
    • Sanders (I-VT) 6/18/24: Sanders Responds to Netanyahu’s Calls for More U.S. Weapons: “No More Bombs for Netanyahu”: It is absurd that Netanyahu has been invited to address Congress. We should not be honoring people who use the starvation of children as a weapon of war. Instead, the United States should be withholding all offensive military aid to Israel and using our leverage to demand an end to this war, the unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, a stop to the killing of Palestinians in the West Bank, and initial steps towards a two-state solution.”
    • Hagerty (R-TN) 6/19/24: X-post:@WhiteHouse is mad bc @IsraeliPM @netanyahu is telling the truth. Biden Admin has refused to send Congress **formal** notifications to finalize a host of arms sales to Israel—incl F-15s, JDAM smart bomb kits, munitions—even after SFRC & HFAC informally cleared these sales!”

Members of Congress on AIPAC/AIEF Trips to Israel

  • CNN 6/17/24: Bipartisan congressional delegation will travel to Israel ahead of Netanyahu address to Congress
  • Jewish News Syndicate 6/17/24: Gallant to Congress members: We’re fighting for Western civilization [excerpt: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met on Monday with a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation visiting the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on a trip organized by AIPAC’s American Israel Education Foundation. The nine-member group consisted of Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Glenn Ivey (D-Md.), Greg Landsman (D-Ohio), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Gallant’s office said.”]
  • Hoyer (D-MD) 6/16/24: Hoyer, Bipartisan House Members to Travel to IsraelCongressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) will serve as the senior Member on a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Israel this week in coordination with the American Israel Education Foundation. The group of nine House Members will hold high-level meetings with top Israeli leaders and receive updates on the state of the Israel-Hamas War, the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and ongoing efforts to secure a temporary ceasefire and the release of the 120 hostages held captive in Gaza by Hamas. ‘My twenty-first visit to Israel comes at a decisive moment for our two nations,’ Congressman Hoyer said. ‘I look forward to strengthening our vital U.S.-Israel relationship even further during my first visit to Israel since the terror and devastation of October 7. Both on this delegation and upon our return, we will continue working to maintain the strong, longstanding bipartisan consensus in Congress to support our ally, Israel.REMINDER: AIEF is closely connected (to say the least) to AIPAC – for details see the run-down of this relationship, with receipts, in the 4/12/24 edition of the Round-Up)
  • CNN 6/17/24: Bipartisan congressional delegation will travel to Israel ahead of Netanyahu address to Congress

The Battle Around Antisemitism & Criticism of Israel/Zionism

Pro-Israel Lobbying

Other stuff