FMEP Legislative Round-Up: May 24, 2024


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

New from FMEP:

1. Bills & Resolutions

Nobody Puts US Military Aid to Israel in a Corner (I mean, temporarily on hold)!

  • (PREVENT EXEC FROM PAUSING ISRAEL MILITARY EXPORTS) S. 4408: Introduced 5/23/24 by Cruz (R-TX) and 3 cosponsors, (all Republicans), “A bill to ensure the timely approval of requests to export defense articles and provide defense services to the State of Israel and the fulfillment of each such agreement.Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Targeting Palestine Rights/Lives Protests & Protesters

  • (LABELING PROTESTS “ANTISEMITIC”) H. Res. 1239: Introduced 5/17/24 by Donalds (R-FL) and 2 cosponsors (both Republicans), “Strongly condemning the rise of antisemitism on campuses of institutions of higher education across the United States. Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
  • (NO STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS FOR PROTESTERS) HR 8468 [bill text]: Introduced 5/21/24 by Yakym (R-IN) and no cosponsors, “To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to terminate the eligibility of certain individuals for student loan forgiveness, and for other purposes” aka, the No Debt Forgiveness for SPOILED Students Act.Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Also see: Yakym Introduces “No Debt Forgiveness for SPOILED Students Act” [“The ‘No Debt Forgiveness for SPOILED Students Act’ would: Make any individual student or faculty member who is expelled or fired from a college or university for having committed a hate crime or found responsible for disorderedly conduct, trespassing, or creating a public disturbance ineligible for any federal student loan relief.“]
  • (NO STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS FOR PROTESTERS) HR 8549: Introduced 5/23/24 by Ogles (R-TN) and Bilirakis (R-FL), “To prohibit any person convicted of an unlawful activity on or after October 7, 2023, on a college campus from being eligible for public service loan forgiveness. Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Targeting the International Criminal Court (& the Palestinians)

  • (DENOUNCING THE ICC) H. Res. 1253: Introduced 5/23/24 by Biggs (R-AZ), “Reaffirming that the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Reminder — There are 2 pieces of anti-ICC legislation that have already been introduced in this Congress. They are:

  • (SANCTION ICC IF SEEKS TO HOLD ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE TO SAME LAWS/STANDARDS AS THE REST OF THE WORLD) HR 8282: Introduced 5/7/24 by Roy (R-TX) and as of 5/23/24 having 63 cosponsors (all Republicans), “To impose sanctions with respect to the International Criminal Court engaged in any effort to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any protected person of the United States and its allies,” aka the “Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act.”
  • (TARGETING THE ICC, AGAIN) S. 224: Introduced 2/1/23 by Cotton (R-AR) and currently having 3 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A bill to impose sanctions with respect to associates of the International Criminal Court engaged in investigations of personnel of the United States and its allies.”

Targeting the Gaza “Pier” Project

  • (TO END USE OF US MILITARY FOR GAZA PIER PROJECT) S. J. Res. 89: Introduced 5/23/24 by Cruz (R-TX) and 4 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A joint resolution to direct the termination of the use of United States Armed Forces for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore pier on the coast of the Gaza Strip that has not been authorized by Congress.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Random Pro-Israel Weirdness

F**k Raisi!

  • (HOW DARE STATE DEPT SAY SOMETHING CAREFULLY DIPLOMATIC RE IRAN!!) H. Res. 1246: Introduced 5/21/24 by Huizega (R-MI) and 9 cosponsors (all Republicans), “Condemning the Department of State’s statement expressing condolences for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, and other members of their delegation.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: Huizenga Resolution Condemns Biden Administration Condolences for “Butcher of Tehran”



2. Letters

  • (TARGETING US CIVIL SOCIETY & FUNDERS) 5/22/24: House Republican (Mast, R-FL) Probes State Department Communication With ‘Radical Pro-Hamas Groups’ (Free Beacon 5/23/24) [letter text] – NOTE: Mast is demanding that the State Deptartment turn over all records of communications with “radical pro-Hamas groups linked to the funding of the anti-semitic protests that have exploded across college campuses in the recent months.” The groups he is referring to as “radical pro-Hamas groups” linked to funding of “anti-semitic protests” are…the same groups as are on the Comer/Foxx letter to Yellen from last week — Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Within Our Lifetime, American Muslims for Palestine, IfNotNow, Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tides Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Solidaire Action, Libra Foundation, Westchester Peace Action Committee Foundation, Muslim Community Network, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Center for Popular Democracy, Peace Action New York State, People’s Forum, Samidoun, Adalah Justice Project, and Palestine Legal.


3. Hearings & Markups

A. SecState Blinken’s Week of Hearings: This week SecState Blinken spent a lot of time testify on the Hill, in hearings that (predictably) included a lot of focus on Israel – including Republicans’ rage at the Biden Administration’s temporary and totally performative pause is providing one kind of bomb to Israel, the recent move by the ICC, and more.

B. 2025 NDAA in the House

5/22/24: The House Armed Services Committee held its FY25 NDAA Full Committee Markup. The Chairman’s Mark (i.e., the base text being marked up) is here. You can watch the markup here: part 1 (7 hours); part 2 (4.5 hours). Also see: Rogers (R-AL) Applauds Committee Passage of FY25 NDAA. Also see: House committee approves 2025 defense bill, with new cooperative Israel, Middle East programs – New proposals would expand anti-tunnelling, space defense and AI-based missile defense cooperative efforts, among other programs (Jewish Insider 4/23/24)

C. Other Hearings This Week

5/22/24: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a markup of a number of measures include HR 8437 , “To provide for congressional oversight of proposed changes to arms sales to Israel,” aka, the “Maintaining Our Ironclad Commitment to Israel’s Security Act.” See: mark-up video. Also see: Chairman McCaul Speaks on H.R. 8437 “Maintaining Our Ironclad Commitment to Israel’s Security Act”Democrats divided on opposition to Biden arms hold [“Thirteen Democrats ultimately voted against a bill that Republicans had hoped might muster stronger bipartisan support, with nine Democrats supporting the legislation”] (Jewish Insider 5/23/24)

5/23/24: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held yet another kangaroo court session…I mean show trial… I mean “hearing” targeting academia, this time entitled, “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Chaos.” Witness were: Michael Schill, President, Northwestern University (statement); Gene Block, Chancellor, UCLA (statement); Frederick Lawrence, The Phi Beta Kappa Society (statement); and Jonathan Holloway, President, Rutgers University (statement). Also see:

5/23/24: The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia held a hearing entitled, Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for Near Eastern Affairs. Witnesses were Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara A. Leaf (statement); and Deputy Assistant USAID Administrator for the Middle East Bureau Jeanne Pryor (statement). Also see: hearing video. Note: this hearing went pretty much exactly as one would have expected.

D. Postponed Hearings

[POSTPONED] 5/22/24: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability was scheduled to hold a hearing entitled, “Money is Policy: Assessing Shortcomings in the State Department’s Foreign Assistance Grants Process.” Witnesses announced so far are: Max Primorac, Heritage Foundation; and Robert Destro, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (a Trump political appointee).

[POSTPONED] 5/23/24: The House Appropriations Committee’s was scheduled to hold a hearing entitled, Budget Hearing – Fiscal Year 2025 Request for the United Nations. The sole scheduled witness was U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.


4. Israel/Palestine in 2024 Politics/Elex

General Analysis and Commentary

Bibi Visit to DC

New York



Stefanik (R-NY) Campaigns for GOP/MAGA in Israel

Press releases



5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

ICC Application for Arrest Warrants for Hamas & Israeli Leadership

Note: It seems like almost every member of Congress weighed in this week – via press release, social media post, floor statement, media comments – on the ICC decision to seek arrest warrants against Israeli leadership. Not gonna even try to collect them here – for what a specific member said, google or check the member’s website or social media accounts. Included below are just a small number of that seemed particularly notable.

Members on the ICC

  • Sanders (I-VT) 5/22/24: PREPARED REMARKS: Sanders on ICC Seeking Arrest Warrants for Hamas and Israeli Leaders Amidst the Ongoing Humanitarian Disaster in Gaza [“…As I think we all agree, I certainly do, Israel had the right to defend itself against the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7th. But it did not – and this is where we get into the issue of war crimes – yes, you have the right to defend yourselves. Yes, Israel has the right to go after Hamas, very few people doubt that. But Netanyahu and his government do not have the right to wage an all-out war against the children, against the women, against the innocent people of Gaza. And for that, there must be consequences. What the ICC has done is important for the global community, in the sense that we cannot allow the human race to descend to barbarity. Somebody has got to say: look, war is terrible, and it’s a little bit embarrassing as a human being that we’ve been at war for thousands of years and have not seemed to make much progress at eliminating war. But if there is war, let us learn from what happened in the past and do our best to protect the women, the children, the innocent people. So, Israel had a right to defend itself against a terrible enemy in Hamas, but it does not have the right to wage an all-out war against the people of Gaza. Now, what the ICC is doing is important for the world. It’s [a message] to leaders all over the world – dictators, people in democratic countries – that if you go to war you cannot wage all-out war against civilians. That’s what the ICC is doing, that’s important. But it is also important, Mr. President, for those of us in the United States. Our nation claims to be the leader of the free world, and at our best we try to mobilize countries to uphold international war and prevent crimes against humanity. That is what we try to do and have done. But Mr. President, how can or how will the United States be able to criticize any country in the world, whether it is Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, or anyone else – any other country in the world – if we actually believe what Netanyahu is saying? If we turn our backs and ignore the crimes against humanity that are being committed in Gaza right now, what credibility will we ever have in criticizing the actions of any country, no matter how terrible those actions may be? Because people will say, oh, really? You’re attacking China, Turkey, anybody else, really? You’re really deeply concerned? But apparently for Netanyahu, it’s allowed. We don’t believe you. And I don’t want to see this great country of ours be in that position. I want to see this country respected all over the world as a country that does believe in human rights, that does believe in international law. The ICC as I see it is trying to uphold international law and minimum standards of decency. Our government should do no less.
  • Cardin (D-MD) 5/21/24: Chair Cardin, Bipartisan Group of Senators Condemn ICC Action Against Israel [“…We will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to strenuously object to the ICC’s actions against our ally, Israel, and take appropriate steps to help Israel and protect American personnel from future ICC action.“]
  • House Speaker Johnson (R-LA) 5/20/24: X-post – “The ICC has no authority over Israel or the United States, and today’s baseless and illegitimate decision should face global condemnation. International bureaucrats cannot be allowed to use lawfare to usurp the authority of democratic nations that maintain the rule of law. Israel is fighting a just war for survival, and the ICC is attempting to equate Israeli officials to the evil terrorists who perpetrated the October 7th massacre. It’s clear the ICC’s decision has been advanced due to the Biden Administration’s pressure campaign against Israel and its outlandish State Department investigations. In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress is reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure its leadership faces consequences if they proceed. If the ICC is allowed to threaten Israeli leaders, ours could be next.
  • McConnell (R-KY) 5/20/24: “Since the immediate aftermath of October 7th, Israel, her allies, and Jewish people around the world have faced pernicious efforts to equate a sovereign nation’s self-defense with barbaric acts of terrorism. We’ve seen it in the specious media tropes about ‘cycles of violence’, in university statements bemoaning Israel’s self-defense actions, and in our own elected leaders’ attempts to browbeat Israel’s coalition government for seeking to restore its people’s security. But today, the most noxious attempt at moral equivalence comes from unelected international bureaucrats brandishing a contrived and perverted authority. In the same breath, the self-aggrandizing prosecutor of the International Criminal Court applied for arrest warrants for both Hamas’ chief terrorist and Israel’s duly elected Prime Minister. It’s a damning development, but not for the supposed subjects of the application. The ICC has succeeded only in discrediting itself even further as a rogue kangaroo court utterly untethered to morality or justice. For those of us who have long rejected this international farce of a court and its efforts to gobble up jurisdiction, this fact was hardly news. I’ve refused to acknowledge any ICC authority to conduct politicized investigations of American servicemembers, as it has tried illegitimately to do for years. And weeks ago, several of our colleagues and I warned the institution specifically against lighting any last shred of its credibility on fire in an attempt to equate Hamas’ calculated cruelty with Israel’s right to self-defense. Putting its arrogance on full display, the judicial junta in The Hague responded by claiming that holding it accountable for this power grab would violate international law. Unfortunately, there are still plenty here in the Senate and in the Administration who need reality to be spelled out more clearly. This isn’t about Prime Minister Netanyahu. It isn’t about so-called international law. In fact, the leader of Israel’s opposition condemned the ICC’s decision as ‘a complete moral failure. But too many Senate Democrats require frequent reminders of how Israel’s national unity government works, and what the Israeli people expect of it. Even as glaring evidence exposed the moral rot and terrorist complicity of another international organization, UNRWA, the Biden Administration was reluctant to ignore its loud base of campus radicals and end U.S. funding. Well, today’s news lays down another gauntlet. It’s time for the President and other Western leaders to finally pick it up… Support Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist savages like Sinwar… Reject the fiction that unaccountable bureaucrats in The Hague have any power over a sovereign nation that isn’t a signatory to its authority… Commit to imposing significant costs on the Court and its agents if it pursues shameful and baseless charges against Israel… [emphasis added] And choose once and for all between actual justice and the rule of the loud campus mob.”
  • Rubio (R-FL) & Rosen (D-NV) 5/20/24: “Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) led a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden urging him to strongly oppose the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) efforts to politically target Israel and respond swiftly and strongly should the ICC move forward with arrest warrants. Following reports that the ICC has sought arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, Rubio and Rosen issued a joint statement: ‘We are outraged by this shameful political move by the ICC, which seeks to undermine Israel as it defends itself after Hamas’s brutal October 7th terrorist attack. We’re deeply concerned about the impacts this decision will have on current hostage negotiations and the dangerous precedent this sets given that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel. As we emphasized in our letter to President Biden, ‘the President is granted broad authorities to respond to these types of actions by the ICC.’ We now join together to call on him to take swift and forceful action in response to this attack on our democratic ally.'”
  • Sanders (I-VT) 5/20/24: “In the last several years, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for political leaders who violate international law and engage in war crimes and crimes against humanity. That includes Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose illegal invasion of Ukraine initiated the most destructive war in Europe since World War II; Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader who started the horrific war in Gaza by launching a terrorist attack against Israel, which killed 1,200 innocent men, women, and children; and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, in response, has waged an unprecedented war of destruction against the entire Palestinian people, which has killed or injured over 5 percent of the population. The ICC prosecutor is right to take these actions. These arrest warrants may or may not be carried out, but it is imperative that the global community uphold international law. Without these standards of decency and morality, this planet may rapidly descend into anarchy, never-ending wars, and barbarism.
  • Omar (D-MN) 5/20/24: “Since Nuremberg, the United States has been a global leader in the pursuit of international justice. It is one of the foundational philosophies underpinning the post-war rules-based international order. The International Criminal Court must be allowed to conduct its work independently and without interference. The application for arrest warrants is merely the beginning of a judicial process. The ICC has been a functioning court – it has seen convictions, acquittals, and dismissals, as we would expect from an impartial and non-political judicial body. The allegations from the Prosecutor’s office are significant, and it has long been my belief that the absence of credible processes for justice are a key reason the conflict between Israel and Palestinians continues to escalate. We must remember the ethos of Benjamin Ferencz, the Nuremberg prosecutor and vocal champion of the ICC, who was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2022: law, not war. I express my admiration and respect for the victims, survivors, and witnesses of the atrocities in Israel on October 7th and the victims, survivors, and witnesses of the war crimes that have and are taking place in Gaza who gave their testimony to the Prosecutor’s office. I am praying, for all of their sake, that true justice and not just violent revenge will be done. Although we have never joined the International Criminal Court, we have frequently supported its work under Administrations from both parties. Both the Bush Administration, in the case of Darfur, and the Obama Administration, in the case of Libya, understood the importance of the ICC’s work, even in cases where the country in question was not a State Party. Finally, it is crucial here that we recall that the ICC operates under the principle of complementarity, meaning that it does not have jurisdiction when States demonstrate both the ability and the willingness to conduct their own independent and impartial investigations. A credible domestic process that can hold perpetrators to account remains preferable to international tribunals. I strongly encourage Israeli and Palestinian authorities to consider that path.”

Media etc on the ICC

Other Issues – members

Other Issues – media