NOTE: And once again this week…given the scope and pace of current events there is no “On the Record” section this week, and only an abbreviated Media section. Check members accounts on X or their websites for yourself if you want to see what they are saying. It remains just too much and too soul-crushing to follow, let alone to try to document, comprehensively, while also following the actual horror-show of genocide unfolding on the ground.
New from FMEP:
- FMEP/MEI webinar 11/3/23: Gaza, Israel and the 2023 War: Are there any red lines?, ft. Jamil Dakwar (Human Rights Lawyer & Adjunct Professor, New York University and Hunter College); Katherine Gallagher (Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional rights); and Dr. Raz Segal (Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Endowed Professor in the Study of Modern Genocide, Stockton University); in conversation with Khaled Elgindy (MEI) and Lara Friedman (FMEP)
- FMEP webinar 11/1/23: Catastrophe in Gaza: What’s Next? — Part 2, ft. Sari Bashi (Human Rights Watch), Amjad Iraqi (+972 Magazine), in conversation with FMEP’s Lara Friedman
- FMEP webinar 10/30/23: Catastrophe in Gaza: What’s Next? — Part 1, ft. Inès Abdel Razek (Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy), Fadi Quran (Avaaz), in conversation with FMEP’s Lara Friedman
More Aid for Israel
As noted in last week’s Round-Up, emergency funding for Israel is both the top agenda item for Speaker Johnson, and the focus of what it was clear from the start would become a huge political drama. That’s because:
(a) the Biden Administration and Democrats want to combine emergency aid for Israel with other urgent funding priorities, including Ukraine; for their part, Republicans want to fund emergency aid for Israel but adamantly do not want that same funding bill to include anything they don’t like (like Ukraine funding), and
(b) Leader Johnson is adamant that the more than $14 billion in emergency funding for Israel requested by Biden (which Republicans absolutely support) MUST be offset by cuts from other regular funding bills (in a practice that conflicts with all emergency spending in memory, under either party)– and the target this week turned out to be…the IRS. and
(c) Republicans in both the House and Sente appears to have decided a way to prove they are even more pro-Israel than Biden and all but a handful of Democrats (who are all-in with unqualified support for everything Israel is doing in Gaza and for massive aid to help Israel keep doing it and more!) is to…block the meager aid funding Palestinian humanitarian needs included in the Biden Administration request (crumbs of humanitarian aid to be granted alongside massive US funding for Israel to keep bombing those same aid recipients to smithereens). As a reminder, the proposed funding for Palestinians includes, per the Biden Administration’s own explicit introduction/explanation, potential support for Palestinians who in the near future might discover that they no longer live in Gaza – something you’d think hardline pro-Israel Senate Republicans would be enthusiastic about…]
What this means is that the battle around emergency aid for Israel has aleady turned into a high-stakes game of political chicken, with Democrats and Republicans vying to each make they case that they are MORE supportive of Israel than the other, and each side trying to make sure that the other side gets blamed for what is (predictably) turning into a delay in Congress approving the funding. [For analysis on this sh*t show from another angle, see: Emergency Supplemental Funding for Israel – The Current State of Play (JINSA)]
- (THE MAIN EVENT IN THE HOUSE) HR 6126: Introduced 11/1/23 by Granger (R-TX) and 100 cosponsors, (all Republicans), the “Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024.” Referred to the Committees on Appropriations, the Budget, and Ways and Means. As predicted, this bill: provides $14.3 billion in emergency funding ONLY for Israel; offests that funding with $14.3 billion in cuts to IRS funding; and leavest out funding for Palestinian humanitarian aid. This bill was brought to the floor (no committee markups or consideration) 11/2/23 under suspension of the rules, and passed by a vote of 226-196 (with 12 Democrat joining 214 Republicans in voting YES, and 2 Republicans joining 194 Democrats in voting NO). Also see: Schumer (D-NY) press release 11/2/23 – Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On House Republicans’ Unserious And Woefully Inadequate Aid Package (see section 4, below, for articles related to this drama)
- (STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC TIES WITH ISRAEL!) S. Res. XXX (text): On 11/3/23, Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) published a press release announcing the introduction of a resolution “Recognizing the importance of the economic relationship between the United States and Israel and affirming that trade facilitated by the United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement is a tool to support the economy of Israel during the conflict with Hamas.” Also see: press release – Cassidy, Blackburn, Cortez Masto Lead Resolution To Strengthen Economic Ties With Israel
- (MORE MILITARY AID FOR ISRAEL!) H. Res. 834: Introduced 11/1/23 by Lamborn (R-CO) and 5 cosponsors (bipartisan), “Supporting, recognizing, and establishing legislation that affirms the sense of Congress that Israel ought to be provided with sufficient material to defend itself against rocket artillery attacks from Hamas and its allies.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: Congressman Lamborn Introduces Bipartisan Resolution Urging Congress to Provide Israel with Interceptor Missiles
- (EMERGENCY AID FOR ISRAEL AND *ONLY* ISRAEL) S. 3168: Introduced 10/30/23 by Marshall (R-KS) and 9 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for assistance for the situation in Israel for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and for other purposes.“ Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under Read the First Time.
- (EMERGENCY AID FOR ISRAEL AND *ONLY* ISRAEL) HR 6113: Introduced 10/30/23 by Banks (R-IN) and 2 Republican cosponsors, “Making emergency supplemental appropriations for assistance for the situation in Israel for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on the Budget. Notably this bill includes a provision barring use of any funds under the bill in connection with the war in Ukraine or for assistance for “any entity that is—(A) located in the territory of Gaza; or (B) is controlled or influenced by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any other organization designated by the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”
Targeting Free Speech/Protest Related to Israel
- (CONDEMNING FREE SPEECH IN SUPPORT OF PALESTINIANS ON CAMPUSES) H. Res. 798: Introduced 10/19/223 by Owens (R-UT) and having 97 cosponsors (94 Republicans and 4 Democrats), “Condemning the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education, which may lead to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students, faculty, and staff.” The “whereas clauses” of this resolution includes (as amended in the version brought to the floor) a list combining some arguably stupid (and offensive) things said by students and faculty, side-by-side with some things that are arguably being deliberately misrepresented as meaning something that was not the actual intention and with sweeping generalizations designed to characterize pretty much all campus protest as pro-Hamas and antisemitic. The “resolved” clauses, as amended in the version brought to the floor, include urging “enforcement of Federal civil rights laws to protect Jewish students from antisemitism.” Brought to the floor 11/1/23 under suspension of the rules (floor “debate” is here — read the whole thing to get a sense of how Republicans are weaponizing the current crisis to launch an all-out assault on academia; and remember that these are the same members of Congress who have in recent years railed against efforts to prevent Nazis and right-wing extremists marching/demonstrating on college campuses). The resolution appeared to pass by a Voice Vote, but Owens demanded a roll call vote — toward the self-evident goal of compelling Democrats to either vote for this very problematic measure or be accused of not caring about antisemitism on campus. Passed 11/2/23 by a roll call vote of 396-23
- (TARGETING ISRAEL-RELATED ACTIVISM/SPEECH ON CAMPUSES?) H. Res. 825 & H.Res.833: Introduced 10/30/23 and 11/1/23 by Kiley (R-CA) and no cosponsors, “Condemning antisemitism on college campuses.“ Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. These two (identical) resolutions don’t mention Israel or the current war, but instead call on campus adminisrators to “condemn all forms of antisemitism on college campuses,” [the clear implication being that current protests against Israel’s actions are a form of antisemitism] and then call on campuses to defend the free speech rights and opportunities, and security and safety, of Jewish students.
- (CENSURING REP. TLAIB FOR SOME TOTALLY INSANE ALLEGATIONS) H. Res. 829: Introduced 11/1/23 by Green (R-GA), and having no cosponsors, “Censuring Representative Rashida Tlaib for antisemitic activity, sympathizing with terrorist organizations, and leading an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex.” On 11/1/23, the House voted to table (i.e., not pass) H. Res. 829 by a vote of 222-186 (with all Democrats plus 23 Republicans voting to table the measure).
- (CONDEMNING REP. TLAIB FOR THE PALESTINIAN FLAG ETC) H. Res. 835: Introduced 11/1/23 by Moore (R-AL) and no cosponsors, “Condemning the statements of Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.” Referred to the Committees on Ethics and the Judiciary. The “whereas” clauses of this (bizarre) resolution consiste of: “Whereas, on October 10, 2023, Representative Rachida Tlaib of Michigan displayed the Palestinian flag, whose leadership is responsible for the violent rapes and murders of innocent women and children in Israel; Whereas Representative Rashida Tlaib has a documented history of expressing anti-American sentiments; Whereas Representative Rashida Tlaib and other Members of Congress continue to advocate for a terrorist organization responsible for the death of countless lives“.
- (BARRING ENTRY/ALLOWING DEPORTATION OF FOREIGNERS WHO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN RIGHTS) S. 3183 (text): Introduced 11/1/23 by Rubio (R-FL) and 4 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A bill to consider, for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that officers, officials, representatives, spokespersons, and members of Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS, and individuals who endorse or espouse terrorist activities conducted by such organizations are engaged in terrorist activity.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Also see: Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Prevent Foreign Terrorist Sympathizers From Entering or Remaining in the U.S. [“Following the October 7th terrorist attacks in Israel, pro-Hamas demonstrations swept across the U.S., including by foreign nationals. Under federal law, individuals who endorse or espouse terrorist activity are inadmissible. Current law explicitly states that members of certain groups, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), are not permitted in the U.S. However, the PLO is not the only group that should be banned in our nation. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and colleagues introduced the Terrorist Inadmissibility Codification Act. This bill would expand current U.S. law to prohibit members, officers, officials, representatives, and spokesmen of Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Palestine Islamic Jihad from entering, or remaining in, the U.S. The bill would also apply to aliens who endorse or espouse terrorist activities conducted by any of these U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).“]
- (TARGETING CAMPUS FREE SPEECH & STUDENTS CRITICAL OF ISRAEL – INCL w/ IHRA DEFINITION) S. 3184 (text): Introduced 11/1/23 by Rubio (R-FL), “A bill to require institutions of higher education to include reporting regarding campus anti-Semitism in the annual security report required under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, to ensure that institutions of higher education do not support terrorist activity of foreign terrorist organizations, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Also see: Rubio Introduces Bill to Suspend Terrorist Activity on College Campuses [“Since the October 7, 2023 massacre by Hamas, Jewish students across the country have faced vandalism, arson, and other forms of harassment. Taxpayer-funded colleges have allowed staff and students who back the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Hamas to engage in pro-terrorism harassment. Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t fund nor facilitate pro-terrorist activities, and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) should take action in preventing harassment by terrorism supporters. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Ending Subsidies for Pro-Terrorist Activities on Campus Act to ensure federal dollars are not being used to support pro-terrorist activities on college campuses and require that IHEs have policies to address them.” Notably, this legislation would in effect require the legal enforcement of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism, including its examples. It would also legislate “anti-semitic and anti-terrorism-related incidents” reporting with respect to alleged violations of US anti-terror law OR the IHRA definition of antisemitism by foreign students, “and any disciplinary action taken against such alien student, to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.
Targeting All Palestinians (while pretending it’s about targeting Hamas)
- (NO AID FOR PALESTINIANS, PERIOD – CUZ IT ALL BENEFITS HAMAS – OF COURE) S. 3174 (text): Introduced 10/31/23 by Ricketts (R-NE) and Scott (R-SC), “A bill to prohibit aid that will benefit Hamas, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Stop Support for Hamas Act.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. This bill would bar any funding to UNRWA, would bar any ESF to Gaza OR the West Bank until the Secretary certifies that Israel has eradicated Hamas and every other terrorist organization has from Gaza; and amends existing law to bar any aid that directly OR INDIRECTLY could benefit Hamas. So in a nutshell – no aid, humanitarian or otherwise, to Palestinians. Also see: Ricketts, Scott Introduce Bill to Block Foreign Aid Benefitting Hamas
- (NO AID FOR A SINGLE PALESTINIAN) S. 3166 (text); Introduced 10/30/23 by Cruz (R-TX), “A bill to prohibit official United States Government business from being conducted in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, to suspend foreign assistance to the Gaza Strip until Hamas no longer exercises authority over the Gaza Strip, and to require reports and impose sanctions with respect to the provision of services to Hamas, financial transactions that benefit the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the use of human shields, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Hamas Sanctions Act,” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. This extensive piece of legislation would, among other things: bar any US aid to UNRWA; bar any US aid to Gaza; and bar any US aid to the West Bank; layer on new Iran-related sanctions; and expand sanctions related to use of human shields. Also see: Sen. Cruz Introduces Comprehensive “Hamas Sanctions Act” To Deny Hamas Funds and Safe Havens
- (NO SUPPORT FOR *ANY* PALESTINIANS ) HR 340: Introduced 11/1/23 by Mast (R-FL) and 31 cosponors (bipartisan), the “Hamas International Financing Prevention Act.” Passed in the House under suspension of the rules 11/1/23 by a vote of 363-46. Floor consideration is here. NOTE: in its original form the bill included a humanitarian exception. That exception was removed during the mark-up of the bill in committee. As noted by Rep. Castro (D-TX), “I unequivocally condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 innocent people and the kidnapping of hundreds of hostages, including American citizens. The United States has rightly designated Hamas as a terrorist organization since 1997, and I have fully supported sanctions on Hamas when they have come before the House in the past. However, there is a distinction between Hamas and the innocent Palestinians it holds captive in Gaza, and we must legislate with that understanding. Our efforts to hold Hamas accountable must not come at the expense of those innocent civilians. As originally written, this bill included a broad humanitarian exemption that would have protected the provision of food, medicine, and other lifesaving supplies into Gaza. The State Department and the Treasury both supported that exemption, which aligned with the Biden administration’s goals to weaken Hamas without causing undue civilian suffering and deaths. Unfortunately, the primary sponsor of H.R. 340 offered an amendment during committee markup that removed that exemption, replacing it with a case-by-case waiver that will impede the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. At times here, we need to speculate about the motivations behind specific legislation and legislative decisions. In this case, however, it is part of the committee record. The bill’s sponsor said that he believes ‘any assistance should be slowed down’ and argued that no one can distinguish between innocent Palestinians and Hamas. The situation in Gaza is incredibly dire and becoming more so by the day, which is why President Biden has worked to secure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza and requested funding to support those efforts. The decision to intentionally remove this provision was a choice to hurt people in Gaza who are not responsible for this conflict.” Also see: Mast: Any Supporter of Hamas is Complicit
- (TARGETING THE PA) HR 3266: Introduced 5/11/23 by Schneider (D-IL) and 34 bipartisan cosponsors, “To require the Secretary of State to submit annual reports reviewing the curriculum used by the Palestinian Authority, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act.” Passed by the House 11/1/23 by voice vote. This is legislation that in effect codifies the argument that Palestinians’ negative feelings about and toward Israel/Israelis/Zionism are caused — apparently solely, since no other causes are even hinted at — by textbooks that teach them to feel that way. As opposed to the analysis (which I’m sure backers of this bill would deem antisemitic) that the feeling are the result of, oh, I don’t know, THE WAY PALESTINIANS – INCLUDING KIDS – ARE TREATED BY ISRAEL/ISRAELIS EVERY DAY OF THEIR LIVES, WITH NO HOPE FOR EVER ACHIEVING RIGHT, OR FREEDOM, OR DIGNITY. This bill requires a report to Congress reviewing all aspects of Palestinian curricula to assess how well the education system is doing in teaching Palestinian kids tolerance toward the peace/state that is systematically violating their rights. The fact that the House passed this bill at a moment when Israel is slaughtering 1000s of kids in Gaza (saving them I guess from becoming intolerant of Israel), when schools in Gaza are being used for Palestinians to take refuge in (and even then being bombed by Israel), and when in the West Bank Palestinian towns are on lockdown as settlers – supported and in some cases joined by IDF soldiers – are marauding through villages and forcing their residents to flee. In short, this bill, which the whole House apparently thinks is AWESOME – or, at least, nobody wanted to spend political capital saying otherwise – is the anti-Palestinian (and anti-UNRWA) cherry on top of this week’s anti-Palestinian, dehumanizing Congressional sundae. Floor grandstanding around this theater of the absurd is here [illustrative sample: “We will never arrive at a peaceful solution for Israelis and Palestinians as long as Palestinian children are being taught hatred in textbooks.” – Lawler, R-NY]
Support Israel & Israeli-Americans
- (DON’T MAKE AMCITS EVACUATED FROM ISRAEL PAY BACK THE US TAXPAYERS) HR 6115: Introduced 10/30/23 by Dunn (R-FL) and 2 cosponsors (bipartisan – Dem is Moskowitz, D-FL), “To authorize the waiver of costs of activities relating to evacuation of United States citizens when their lives are endangered by war or acts of terrorism.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: press release – Representatives Dunn, Mills, and Moskowitz Fight to Waive Evacuation Costs for Americans Escaping Terrorism in Israel
- (DON’T MAKE AMCITS EVACUATED FROM ISRAEL PAY BACK THE US TAXPAYERS) HR 6123 (text): Introduced 10/30/23 by Palmer (R-AL) and 6 cosponsors (all Republicans), “To prohibit the Secretary of State from requiring United States citizens who is evacuated by the Department of State or for which the Department of State provides government assisted departure from a crisis situation abroad to pay for the costs associated with such evacuation or departure.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: press release – Palmer, D’Esposito Introduce ‘Bring Americans Home Act’
Iran & Hizballah
- (EVERYTHING IS ON THE TABLE TO PREVENT NUCLEAR IRAN) H. Res. 559: Introduced 6/24/23 by McCaul (R-TX) and now having 38 bipartisan cosponsor, “Declaring it is the policy of the United States that a nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran is not acceptable.” Per the resolution’s resolved clauses, the House declares it to be US policy that: “(1) that a nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran is not acceptable; (2) that Iran must not be able to obtain a nuclear weapon under any circumstances or conditions; (3) to use all means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; and (4) to recognize and support the freedom of action of partners and allies, including Israel, to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Passed in the House 11/1/23 under suspension of the rules, by a vote of 354-53. Floor grandstanding around this resolution is here.
- (MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 3774: Introduced 5/31/23 by Lawler (R-NY) and now having 238 cosponsors, “To impose additional sanctions with respect to the importation or facilitation of the importation of petroleum products from Iran, and for other purposes,” aka the “SHIP Act.” Considered in the House 11/1/23 under suspension of the rules, by a vote of 354-53. Floor grandstanding around this resolution is here. The sponsor of the bill demanded a roll call vote, which has not been taken as of this writing (11/3/23, 3:35pm)
- (EU MUST DESIGNATE ALL OF HIZBALLAH AS A TERROR ORG!) H. Res. 599: Introduced 7/18/23 by Schneider (D-IL) and having 41 cosponsors (bipartisan), “Urging the European Union to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.“ Passed in the House 11/1/23 under suspension of the rules, by a Voice Vote. Floor grandstanding around this resolution is here.
- (IRAN SANCTIONS ENFORCEMENT) S. 3197: Introduced 11/1/23 by Ernst (R-IA) and Blumenthal (D-CT), “A bill to establish and authorize funding for an Iranian Sanctions Enforcement Fund to enforce United States sanctions with respect to Iran and its proxies and pay off the United States public debt and to codify the Export Enforcement Coordination Center.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Also see: Ernst, Blumenthal Ramp Up Iranian Oil Sanctions Enforcement
- (IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 6114 (text): Introduced 10/30/23 by Banks (R-IN) and 85 cosponsors (all Republicans), “To impose additional sanctions with respect to Iran and modify other existing sanctions with respect to Iran, and for other purposes,” aka, the ” Maximum Pressure Act.” Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Ways and Means, Oversight and Accountability, Financial Services, Rules, and Intelligence (Permanent Select). Also see: press release – Rep. Banks Introduces Maximum Pressure Act
- (TARGETING ROB MALLEY) HR 6119: Introduced 10/30/23 by Mast (R-FL) and 2 cosponsors (both Republican), “To require the Secretary of State to notify Congress when the security clearances of certain senior members of the Department of State are suspended or revoked, and for other purposes.“ Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
- (IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 6120: Introduced 10/30/23 by Meuser (R-PA) and no cosponsors, “To restore and require the imposition of certain sanctions previously waived with respect to Iran, and for other purposes.“ Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Financial Services.
- (DE-FUND UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL) HR 6118: Introduced 10/30/23 by Luna (R-L) and 15 cosponsor (all Republican except for Moskowitz, D-FL), “To prohibit funding for the United Nations Human Rights Council until it condemns Hamas,” aka the ” the Stand with Israel Act.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: press release – BREAKING: Rep. Luna Introduces Bill to Defund UN Human Rights Council Until UN General Assembly and Security Council Unequivocally Condemn Hamas
- (HAMAS AS PRETEXT TO CRACK DOWN ON US BORDERS) H.R.6170 (text): Introduced 11/1/23 by Williams (R-TX) and 9 cosponsors (all Republicans), “To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to cease all immigration functions at ports of entry along the southern border until the United States is secure, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary. Excerpt from press release – “Given the recent attacks on Israel by Hamas, it is clear that Biden’s open border policies are putting American lives at risk by providing a wide-open border to our enemies. My legislation gives the Department of Homeland Security a ‘no excuses’ chance to reset their failed policies by halting immigration functions at our southern border until Sec. Mayorkas can ensure that no terrorists can enter the United States.”
- (TARGET CAPTAGON) H. Res. 836: Introduced 11/1/23 by Moskowitz (D-FL) and Mills (R-FL), “Urging the United States Government to enhance the Middle East region’s capacity to dismantle and disrupt the illicit production and trafficking of the amphetamine-type stimulant also known as captagon, including the production of precursor chemicals.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Also see: Moskowitz, Mills push to crack down on drug used by Hamas terrorists (Jewish Insider 11/2/23)
- (RE-DESIGNATE ANSARALLAH AS FTO) S. 3192: Introduced 11/1/23 by Daines (R-MT) and 17 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A bill to designate Ansarallah as a foreign terrorist organization and impose certain sanctions on Ansarallah, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Also see: Daines Introduces Bill to Redesignate Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
Israel Emergency Aid
- (FUND KEY U.S. NEEDS ALONG WITH AID FOR ISRAEL) Sanders et al letter to Schumer and McConnell: On 10/31/23, Sanders (I-VT) let a letter, cosigned by 5 Senate colleagues (all Democrats), calling on Senate leaders Schumer (D-NY) and McConnell (R-KY) making the case, “The Senate is preparing an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to respond to the ongoing humanitarian and military crises in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and elsewhere. We support providing that funding without delay. As part of that bill we ask that you include an equal amount of funding to address the urgent and growing emergencies facing the American people.” The letter asserts: “The supplemental cannot just be about responding to emergencies abroad. In America today, working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor are struggling to deal with major crises at home that demand our immediate attention.” And it goes on to list the U.S. crises that need urgent funding. Also see: press release – Sanders, Hirono, Markey, Merkley, Warren, and Welch Urge Equal Funding for Domestic Emergencies in Supplemental Appropriations Bill; Sanders, Warren write to Biden with ‘serious concern’ about Israel’s invasion of Gaza (The Hill 11/1/23)
- (DON’T SEPARATE ISRAEL AID FROM OTHER KEY PRIORITIES!) Schneinder et al letter to House Speaker: On 10/30/23, Rep. Schneider (D-IL) led a letter, cosigned by Wilson (R-SC), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Kaptur (D-OH) to House Speaker Johson (R-LA), imploring him not to block emergency aid to Israel by demanding that it be broken off from funding for other key issues. The letter reads in part: “we beseech you not to separate aid for Israel’s fight to rescue its hostages and secure its borders from Ukraine’s fight to do the same, or from Taiwan’s efforts to deter a war. All are crucial priorities for the United States. The introduction of offsets, or the potential deferral of our commitments, threatens not only our national interest, but also our long-term fiscal health. It is far better and less costly in blood and treasure to ensure Russia, Iran, and Hamas are defeated in their current wars than it will be if they achieve strategic victories against Ukraine or Israel. We are living through a precarious global period and it is critically important that, as it was in generations past, our partisan politics stop at the water’s edge. In this historic moment, we urge you to bring to the floor the full supplemental funding request supporting Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan together, as well as securing our southern border, so that all Members of Congress can vote their consciences on this essential legislation…” Also see: press release – Schneider Leads Bipartisan Letter Calling for Full Supplemental Request Without Offsets; Bipartisan House letter criticizes Johnson’s Israel supplemental proposal (Jewish Insider)
- (IRS BUDGET CUTS (linked to Israel aid) WILL HURT FIGHT AGAINST HAMAS) Wyden letter to IRS: On 10/31/23 Sen. Wyden (R-OR) led a letter to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service drawing a link between proposed Republican funding cuts to the IRS, and the ability of the IRS to police Hamas’ reported use of “fake charities and cryptocurrency to evade sanctions and fund its attacks.” It requests “a list of the ways that the cuts being contemplated in Congress would undercut the IRS’s ability to address these concerns, as well as the IRS’s ability to improve service, modernize its technology, and to ensure large corporations and the wealthy pay what they owe. Please include how the cuts would affect the IRS’s ability to address fake charities, sanctions evasion, money laundering by terrorists, drug dealers and human traffickers, and other financial crimes.” Also see: press release – Wyden: IRS Budget Cuts Will Damage Efforts to Crack Down on Hamas Funding via Fake Charities, Cryptocurrency and other Schemes [“…House Republicans are proposing to slash funding for IRS enforcement, including enforcement against terrorist groups like Hamas, as the price of aid for Israel.“]
- (DE-COUPLE ISRAEL AID FROM ALL OTHER THINGS WE DON’T LIKE) Garcia et al letter to Biden: On 10/27/23, Rep. Gracia (R-CA) and 7 House colleagues (all Republicans) sent a letter to POTUS urging him to “ to advocate for the decoupling of supplemental funding for Israel from a larger package that includes additional supplemental funds for Ukraine.” The letter goes on: “you accuse House Republicans of playing ‘political games’, but Mr. President, the American people know that it is you who are playing games by attempting to tie support for Israel to more than $60 billion in additional funds for Ukraine. Funds that your administration has failed to demonstrate will deliver a decisive edge to Ukrainian forces who are engaged in trench warfare the likes of which has not been seen since 1914. In doing so, you are risking the possibility that important funding for Israel’s defense will be delayed or defeated because of opposition in the House and Senate to your ‘blank check’ strategy in Ukraine.” The letter lists criticisms of the Biden Admin’s Ukraine policy, and closes: “it is critical that you publicly request that funding for the defense of Israel be considered standalone on its own merits. Failure to make such a request would lead to your actions further endangering Israel during one of the most dangerous conflicts since its founding.” Also see: Rep. Garcia Leads Call for President Biden to Decouple Israel and Ukraine Aid
Israel Hostages in Gaza
- (QATAR – HELP FREE ISRAELI HOSTAGES!) Cardin et al letter to Qatari Prime Minister: On 10/31/23 (or thereabouts), Sens. Cardin (D-MD), Graham (R-SC), Blumenthal (D-CT), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Booker (D-NJ), and Reed (D-RI) sent a letter to Qatari Prime Minister Al-Thani, “regarding Qatar’s important role in mediating the release of hostages taken during Hamas’ heinous October 7 attack on Israeli civilians.” The letter notes: “We appreciate the work Qatar has undertaken so far in this regard, but we need to urge your government to redouble its efforts to alleviate this tragedy and return all those kidnapped by Hamas, especially the women, children, elderly, and those in poor health who are still being held in Gaza.” It urges the Qatari government to, “build on the progress made in using your government’s contacts and goodwill, including those with the political and military leadership of Hamas, to intensify your government’s advocacy for securing the release of those still being held hostage inside Gaza.“
Americans in Israel and Gaza Strip
- (HELP GET AMERICANS OUT OUT OF GAZA) Pascrell letter to POTUS: On 10/31/23, Rep. Pascrell (D-NJ) sent a letter to President Biden and National Security Advisor Sullivan “regarding the approximately 600 Americans who remain trapped in Gaza.” Pascrell blames Hamas for preventing the Americans from leaving, writing, “I have heard directly from constituents who have family members and loved ones that wish to leave Gaza but are unable to do so because of Hamas. On behalf of my constituents, I implore you to use every possible means to get this border crossing open for American citizens.” He goes on: “It must be a top priority to secure the release of every hostage Hamas holds and those being forced to wait at the border, especially American citizens. Hamas is essentially holding these Palestinian-Americans hostage as well.” Also see: press release – Pascrell Calls on Biden Admin to Help Americans Seeking to Return Home
Palestine Aid/Palestinian welfare
- (DEMANDING HUMANITARIAN AID + RELEASE OF HOSTAGES) Warren/Markey letter to Sullivan and Blinken: On 11/2/23, Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to NSA Sullivan and SecState Blinken, “to express our concern over how little humanitarian aid is reaching innocent Palestinians in Gaza, to stress the pressing need for additional steps to protect innocent civilian lives, and to urge you to do everything possible both to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and the evacuation of Americans in stuck in Gaza.” Also see: press release – Markey, Warren Call for “Full, Rapid, Safe, and Unhindered Humanitarian Assistance” in Gaza, “Unconditional Release” of Hostages
- (PROTECT PALESTINIAN COMMUNITIES IN WEST BANK) Van Hollen et al letter to Blinken: On 11/1/23, Sens. Van Hollen (D-MD), Luján (D-NM), and Merkley (D-OR) sent a letter to SecState Blinken about ongoing settler attacks against the Palestinian village of Susya, and noting: “We are profoundly concerned that the forced displacement of Susya would further embolden violent settler attacks and intimidation against the surrounding communities. Since the Israel-Hamas War began, there has been a growing number of incidents in which settlers have been documented attacking nearby Palestinian communities, at times escorted by Israeli soldiers. These actions endanger the possibility of a two-state solution…” The letter closes: ” we urge you to immediately and strongly convey to the Israeli government its responsibility to uphold the rule of law in the West Bank and protect civilians under its jurisdiction, while holding perpetrators of these attacks to account. The destabilizing impact of such continued violence and further displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank threatens to expand the current war to another devastating front. We echo President Biden’s concern that attacks by ‘extremist settlers’ amounts to ‘pouring gasoline on the already burning fires in the region.” Also see: press release – Van Hollen, Luján, Merkley Urge Biden Administration to Protect Palestinian Communities in the West Bank
- (NO HUMANITARIAN AID FOR GAZA – aka, the cruelty is, indeed, the point) Blackburn et al letter to Schumer: On 10/31/23, Sen. Blackburn (R-TN) led a letter, cosigned by 11 Senate colleagues (all Republicans) to Senate Majority leader Schumer (D-NY), “to demand that, during Israel’s existential war against Iran’s terrorist proxies, you reject the billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance requested for Gaza as part of President Biden’s $106 billion aid package.” The letter goes on to argue that “sending aid to the Palestinians in Gaza is akin to funneling aid directly to Hamas. The president’s decision to allocate additional funding, in addition to the $100 million in aid previously announced, will inevitably end up in the hands of a genocidal Palestinian terrorist organization that has evidenced its desire to destroy the Jewish state.” The letter goes on to argue that every cent of aid to Gaza is stolen or benefits Hamas, including funding to UNRWA. It closes: “We implore you to ensure the U.S. does not send aid that will only strengthen Hamas’ ability to murder more Jews. This is the time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our closest ally in the Middle East as they fight for their very existence.” Also see: press release – Blackburn, Colleagues To Schumer: Reject Biden Request For Gaza Humanitarian Aid That Hamas Will Steal
- (CONCERN ABOUT ISRAELI GROUND INVASTION & POSSIBLE RE-OCCUPATION) Sanders et al letter to Biden: On 11/1/23 Sens. Sanders (I-VT), Warren (D-MA), Welch (D-VT), and Merkley (D-OR) sent a to President Biden expressing serious concern about what Israel’s ongoing ground invasion of Gaza and potential re-occupation of the area, could mean, “both in terms of the long-term security of Israel and the well-being of the Palestinian residents of Gaza.” They assert: “Congress needs more information about Israel’s long-term plans and goals, as well as the United States Government’s assessments of those prospects.” They go on to pose a list of questions to the Biden Administration, and close: “...Just a few months ago, thousands of people defied Hamas’ authoritarian rule to protest on the streets of Gaza. Their voices are silenced now, but there can be no long-term solution to this ongoing crisis without a serious effort to address Palestinian demands for peace, legitimate political representation, and a vibrant economy. The United States must take a leading role in charting out a future that respects the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike. We can start by answering the questions laid out above. We request that you respond in writing and that your administration provide a briefing, in a classified setting as needed, in sufficient time for us to consider the President’s budget request with the necessary information.” Also see: press release – NEWS: Sanders, Warren, Welch, Merkley Send Urgent Letter to President Biden Amid Israel’s Invasion and Potential Occupation of Gaza
- (NEED ANSWERS RE: PAST US AID TO GAZA) Hagerty letter to Blinken and Power: On 10/26/23 (not previously reported in the Round-Up) Sen. Hagerty (R-TN) sent a letter to SecState Blinken and USAID Director Power seeking “information and transparency regarding the use of U.S. taxpayer funds. U.S. taxpayers have provided funds, in the form of U.S. foreign assistance, to Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) that is backed by Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime.” The letter goes on: “I want to ensure that not one single penny of U.S. taxpayer funds ever ends up again in the hands of Hamas and other Iran-backed Palestinian terrorists who savagely murdered over 1400 people in Israel-including at least 33 Americans-on October 7, 2023.” Also see: press release – Hagerty to Blinken and Power: “I want to ensure that not one single penny of U.S. taxpayer funds ever ends up again in the hands of Hamas and other Iran-backed Palestinian terrorists”
Targeting Palestine Rights/Free Speech Critical of Israel [Welcome to the New McCarthyism…]/Antisemitism
- (GIVE US ANSWERS RE: ANTISEMITISM ON CAMPUSES) Risch/Crapo letter to Cardona: On 11/2/23, Sens. Risch (R-ID) and Crapo (R-ID) sent a letter to Education Secretary Cardona, following up on a letter they sent him in March 2023 demanding that the U.S. Secretary of Education provide information regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts (or, per Risch and Crapo, its lack thereof) to ensure the safety of Jewish and Pro-Israel students, and even more urgently in the wake of Hamas’ 10/7 attack on Israel. The letter also reiterates their insistence that the department must ensure taxpayer dollars do not fund antisemitic activities on college campuses. Also see: Risch, Crapo Double Down Demanding Answers from Department of Education Amid Dangerous Increase in Antisemitic Behavior on College Campuses
- (DO MORE TO FIGHT ANTISEMITISM!) Tester letter to Mayorkas and Wray: On 11/2/23, Sen. Tester (R-MT) sent a letter to HSA Secretary Mayorkas and FBI Director Wray raising concerns about rising antisemitism in Montana. He links this call to the Israel/Hamas crisis: ““Since the abhorrent Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel in October, we have seen a sharp increase of antisemitic threats and violence throughout America…” He goes on to make clear that the issue started before October 7 and the source was not people who have anything to do with Israel/Palestine issues: “We are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism in rural states like Montana, where in my recent meetings and conversations with Jewish leaders and members of their synagogues they expressed to me that they are now more fearful and under increased threat. Just last month, we saw individuals displaying xenophobic, white supremacist and antisemitic banners outside of Har Shalom synagogue in Missoula, Montana and at multiple locations across the city. There is no place for hate or discrimination in any form in Montana.” Also see: press release – Tester Condemns Anti-Semitism in Montana, Presses Administration for Resources to Protect Rural Synagogues
- (ATTACKING UNIVERSITIES FOR NOT PROTECTING JEWISH STUDENTS FROM ANTISEMITISM IN THE FORM OF CRITICISM OF ISRAEL/SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS) Norman et al letters to Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale: On 11/1/23, Rep. Norman (R-SC) led letters to the presidents of 5 top US universities attacking them for their “institution’s silence in condemning the terrorist attack that took place by Hamas on October 7, 2023, against the nation of Israel” and attacking each campus for a specific set of sins (summarized in Norman’s press release): Columbia University – “At Columbia University, there was a recent assault against an Israel student, pro-Palestine protests on campus, and a tenured professor who described the Hamas attack as “awesome stunning victory“; Cornell University – “At Cornell University, a professor described the Hamas attacks as ‘energizing’ and ‘exhilarating’; Harvard University – “At Harvard University, student organizations publicly blamed Israel for Hamas’ attacks“; University of Pennsylvania – “UPenn hosted multiple openly antisemitic speakers on campus [a reference to the recent Palestine Writes literary festival]”; and Yale University – ” At Yale, a professor justified Hamas killing Israelis and described Israel as ‘a murderous, genocidal state‘”. The letters all close with: “We implore you to act swiftly and decisively. It is your responsibility to condemn this terrorist attack unequivocally and publicly, disassociate the university from any student organization or professor endorsing violence, and take concrete steps to ensure that such ideologies that support and defend the actions of antisemitism and barbarism find no refuge at [university name]. The world is watching, and the credibility and integrity of your institution are at stake. It is not just a matter of issuing a statement; it is about taking a stand against hatred and terrorism and demonstrating that [university name] is a leader in academia and will unequivocally and without reservation denounce the voices and actions of evil.”
- (HOLD BIDEN ADMIN ACCOUNTABLE FOR COMBATING CAMPUS ANTISEMITISM) Cassidy et al letter to Sanders: On 10/31/23 Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) let a letter, cosigned by 7 Senate colleagues (all Republicans) to HELP Committee Chair, Sen. Sanders (I-VT), urging him to “hold a bipartisan hearing on ensuring safe learning environments for Jewish students, as required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The letter asserts: “The terrorist attack of October 7 was the largest murder of Jewish people in one day since the Holocaust. It led to a noticeable rise in anti-Semitic activity, specifically on college campuses. Under your leadership, the Committee has quickly organized and held hearings on other topics related to recent events. This issue certainly demands the Committee’s direct attention and engagement from the Senate-confirmed Department of Education officials we oversee.” It also states: “This hearing should be focused on the Department of Education’s anti-Semitism campaign over the last four months, its recent announcement to expedite processing of discrimination complaints under Title VI, the impact these actions have had, and how the Office of Civil Rights is ensuring safe learning environments for students in light of recent events. A non-government panel could share what it is like to be a student on campus, egregious examples of incited violence, and what institutions of higher education are doing to support students and maintain safe learning environments.” Also see: press release – Collins, Colleagues Urge HELP Committee Chair Sanders to Hold Hearing on Biden Administration’s Efforts to Protect Jewish Students Amid Escalating Antisemitic Attacks on College Campuses; Budd, Colleagues Urge Sanders to Hold Hearing on Antisemitic Attacks on College Campuses
- (ADDRESS ANTISEMITISM ON CAMPUS) Rosen letter to Cardona: On 10/31/23, Sen. Rosen (D-NV) sent a letter to Education Secretary Cardona, opening: “I am deeply disturbed by the increase in antisemitic incidents, including hate speech and intimidation, on college and university campuses across the United States following Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack on Israel on October 7. Schools have a legal responsibility to protect their students from discrimination, yet many university presidents and administrators have failed to forcefully condemn antisemitic speech and incidents on campuses in the wake of Hamas’s terrorist attack. No student should have to fear for their safety or ability to study in a safe environment, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or race. I, therefore, strongly urge you to take immediate action to keep Jewish students safe, including by forming a task force within the Department of Education dedicated to countering campus antisemitism and led by a designated senior official, issuing updated guidance to college and university administrators making clear the consequences of failing to ensure the safety of Jewish students, and convening a high-level meeting to develop actionable strategies.” Also see: press release – Rosen Calls on Department of Education to Take Immediate Action to Address Rise of Antisemitism on College Campuses
- (PROTECT JEWISH STUDENTS ON CAMPUS) Tillis et al letter to Cardona: On 10/26/23, Sen. Tillis (R-NC) led a letter, cosigned by 15 Senate colleagues (all Republicans), to Education Secretary Cardona, expressing that they are ” significantly concerned that your Department is not ensuring American universities are fostering a safe learning environment for all students after the terrorist organization Hamas’ violent attack on civilians, including Americans and Israeli citizens.” The letter contends that in the wake of Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, “university faculty and student organizations supporting Palestinians held ‘National Day of Resistance’ events on many American college campuses. These events attempted to justify the recent mass murder of Jews—the most in a single day since the Holocaust.” The letter goes on to suggest that this constitutes “harassment or the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students” which is “unacceptable and invokes the responsibility of the Department to uphold Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI states, ‘No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.’” The letter goes on to accuse colleges and universities of apparently being “unwilling or unable to uphold their legal obligations under Title VI,” resulting in the signers of this letter call on the Department of Education to “use its full resources to enforce the law.” It goes on to ask for a briefing (by November 9th) to discuss: “1. The Department’s plan to promptly move the Antisemitism Awareness Campaign forward in the face of increased, brazen antisemitism at educational institutions across the country; 2. Data about antisemitic related complaints to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR); 3. Whether OCR has begun any compliance reviews based on antisemitic harassment complaints; and4. Whether OCR has undertaken any directed investigations based on news reports of antisemitic harassment.” Also see: press release – Tillis, Colleagues Urge Biden Administration to Protect Jewish Students Amid Rising Antisemitism on College Campuses
Using Hamas Attack to Target Border Security & Immigrants (both legal & illegal)
- (TELL CONGRESS ABOUT TERRORISTS COMING THROUGH OUR BORDERS) Roy letter to Mayorkas: On 11/2/23 Rep. Roy (R-TX) sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, opening: “In FY 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 169 KSTs between ports of entry, setting a new KST arrest record and surpassing the KST encounter totals of the past six fiscal years combined. In fact, the Southwest border is so prone to infiltration by individuals with ties to extremist groups, CBP recently issued a memo warning of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah members potentially crossing the border.” Also see: press release – Rep. Roy demands answers from DHS on number of terrorists coming through border
- (SECURE OUR BORDER FROM IRAN/HAMAS AND OTHERS & TARGET IMMIGRANTS!) Alford/Schmitt et al letter to SecDef & DHS Sec: On 10/31/23, Rep. Alford (R-MO) and Sen. Schmitt (R-MO) led a letter, cosigned by 22 House and Senate colleagues (all Republicans), to SecDef Austin and DHS Sec Mayorkas, expressing “that adversaries are exploiting our wide-open Southern border.” The letter goes on: “In light of the barbaric attack in Israel, we are also concerned about Iran’s proxies and other terrorist groups taking advantage of the Southern border to launch a terror attack from within our homeland. As you are well aware, Hamas terrorists breached Israel’s borders in an unprecedented multi-pronged infiltration using parachutes, motorboats, motorbikes, and bulldozers. This invasion occurred despite Israel’s extensive border fortifications. These attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah on Israel have sadly so far resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis and 31 Americans. Given this Administration has left our Southern border wide open, our nation is threatened. In 2023, terrorists used the Southern border to their advantage. It’s no secret that Iran wants to assassinate U.S. officials, and has repeatedly attacked U.S. service members through their proxies in the region. This Administration’s failure to secure our border is a deep vulnerability that only invites future threats from various terrorist groups.” The letter goes on to request answers to a series of questions, including: “Considering the ongoing conflict in Israel, please provide confirmation or intelligence as to whether Hamas, Hezbollah, or any Iranian proxy agents have infiltrated our Southern border. If this has occurred, how has the threat been mitigated?” Also see: press release – Congressman Alford and Senator Schmitt Lead Bicameral Letter Concerning Terrorists Crossing the Southern Border; GOP lawmakers concerned about adversaries exploiting southern border vulnerabilities (Washington Examiner)
- (BEWARE OF BOTH ILLEGAL & LEGAL IMMIGRANTS!) Young et al letter to Biden: On 10/30/23 Sen. Young (R-IN) led a letter, cosigned by 10 Senate colleagues (all Republicans) to President Biden, opening: “The recent brutal and reprehensible attacks by Hamas against Israel underscore the importance of vigilance against global terrorist groups both internationally and domestically…” The letter goes on to demand answers to a list of questions, including: “Given the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the possibility that Hamas or other regional terrorist organizations may seek to expand the conflict and incite further violence against the United States, how have you assessed any changes in threats to the homeland?.” It adds: “Hamas’ devastating attack, combined with its ties to entities such as the Iranian government and Hezbollah, underscores the necessity for a comprehensive assessment of its potential to reach targets beyond the immediate region. Its active publication of digital propaganda, reminiscent of ISIS strategies, further complicates this picture and potentially expands its scope of influence. These narratives, capable of reaching audiences beyond the Middle East, have the potential to inspire or influence disaffected individuals within our borders and those of our allies and partners.” The letter then demands, in effect, the targeting of not just illegal immigrants trying to cross U.S. borders, but legal immigrants as well, noting: “numerous acts of terror on U.S. soil, reminiscent of the ISIS-driven attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, and New York from 2015 to 2017, have primarily been executed by domestic individuals or lawful immigrants, rather than foreign infiltrators” and suggesting that “The call for a ‘Day of Rage’ by Hamas leadership [which did not in fact involve any attacks or violence in or on U.S. soil] must be seen as an incitement to violence, and underscores the need to remain vigilant against ‘copycat’ actors or radicalized individuals. International terrorist organizations likely recognize that their effectiveness is increased by inspiring individuals already within our borders as opposed to breaching them.” Also see: press release – Young, Colleagues Urge President Biden to Address Rise in Terrorists Crossing Southern Border
- (NEED INFO ON TERRORISTS AT OUR BORDERS!) Grassley letters to ATF, CBP and HSI: On 10/30/23, Sen. Grassley (R-IA) sent letters to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seeking data on the volume and nature of weapons identified or recovered at the southern border. His letter includes: “The recent heinous attacks by Hamas terrorists, who used arms and explosive-rigged drones against Israeli civilians, underscores the very real risk that could happen at our southern border and against Americans. Moreover, recent reports warning of the risk that Hamas and Hezbollah fighters could soon attempt to enter the U.S. through Mexico highlights that the need to immediately secure our southern border is paramount.” Also see: press release – Grassley Seeks Data on Armed Ground, Air Incursions on Southern Border as Terror Threat Spikes in U.S.
- (HOLD IRAN ACCOUNTABLE) Gallego/Banks letter to Blinken: On 11/1/23, Reps. Gallego (D-AZ) and Banks (R-IN) sent a letter to SecState Blinken calling on the Administration to do more to hold Iran accountable for its illicit nuclear program and provide Congress with an update on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) investigation into the country. Also see: Gallego, Banks Lead Call for Increased Accountability for Iran’s Nuclear Program
- (STOP IRAN OIL EXPORTS TO CHINA) Gallego/Bacon letter to Blinken & Yellen: On 10/31/23, Rep. Gallego (D-AZ) and Bacon (R-NE) sent a letter to SecState Blinken and Treasury Secretary Yellen, opening: “We are deeply concerned with the Iranian regime’s continued export of crude oil to China. In the wake of Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack on Israeli civilians on October 7th, which killed over 1400 people, the United States must use all available tools at its disposal to halt Iran’s financing, arming, and training of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah.” The letter goes on to requests answers to a series of questions: “1. What is the administration’s plan to stem the flow of illicit Iranian oil sales to China? 2. How is the administration preparing for an expected rise in oil prices resulting from instability in the Middle East? 3. How will the U.S. counter the economic benefits buyers might derive from buying discounted Iranian oil? 4. Is the administration planning to increase interdiction of illicit Iranian exports? 5. What steps are the administration taking to deter Iran from attacks against Western shipping? 6. What, if any new sanctions are the administration planning to put in place on Iran?” Also see: press release – Gallego, Bacon Urge State and Treasury Stop Illicit Iranian Oil Exports to China
- (BOYCOTT SOUTH AFRICA FOR ITS RELATIONS WITH IRAN & HAMAS) Risch letter to Blinken: On 11/1/23, Sen. Risch (R-ID) sent a letter to SecState Blinken and U.S. trade Representative Tai reiterating concerns regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to hold the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in South Africa. The letter opens: “I write to reiterate my strong concerns regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to hold the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was also disappointed to learn that South Africa will remain fully eligible for AGOA’s duty-free trade preferences in 2024, despite South Africa’s continued actions that subvert U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. South Africa’s relationship with Russia, and most recently with Iran and Hamas, undermine necessary eligibility safeguards in the AGOA statute, and the administration failed to take standard formal actions to communicate AGOA-related concerns to South Africa through a warning letter or demarche. The administration’s handling of AGOA, exemplified by its posture toward South Africa, make it clear that Congress must take course-correcting action.” Also see: press release – Risch: Biden Admin is Wrong to Host AGOA Summit in South Africa
- (RE-DESIGNATE ANSARALLAH AS FTO) Hagerty et al letter to SecState Blinken: On 11/1/23 Sen. Hagerty (R-TN) led a letter, cosigned by 14 Senate colleagues (all Republicans), urging SecState Blinken to re-designate Ansarallah (aka the Houthis), as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The letter opens: “We urge you to re-designate Iran-backed Ansarallah, known also as the Houthis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) due to the group’s brazen attacks against Israel—likely at the behest of Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime—and its continued acts of terrorism since you revoked the Trump Administration’s January 2021 FTO designation on February 12, 2021. Re-designating the Houthis as an FTO would send a powerful message that the United States views this group as a clear threat to our Allies and partners and to regional stability in the Middle East.” Also see: press release – Hagerty Leads Colleagues Urging Biden Admin to Re-Designate Iran-Backed Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
November 8, 2023: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Friend and Ally: U.S. Support for Israel After Hamas’ Barbaric Attack.” Scheduled witnesses will be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dana Stroul.
November 8, 2023: The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “United Nations’ Bigotry Towards Israel: UNRWA Anti-semitism Poisons Palestinian Youth.” Panel 1 of this hearing will feature Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan (Erdan is on the record with the position that UNRWA – by its very existence- “perpetuates” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has attacked the Biden Administration for funding UNRWA, arguing among other things that “We believe that this U.N. agency for so-called ‘refugees’ should not exist in its current format“). Panel 2 will consist of anti-UNRWA campaigner Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, and Jonathan Lincoln, Interim Director of the Center for Jewish Civilization.
November 8, 2023: The House Financial Services Committee was supposed to be holding a hearing entitled, “A Review of Our Sanctions Regime and Efforts to Combat Terrorist Financing.” That hearing has been postponed (no new date announced yet).
October 31, 2023: The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing entitled, A Review of the National Security Supplemental Request. Witnesses were: SecState Blinken (testimony) and SecDef Austin (testimony). Also see:
- hearing video
- SAC Chair Murray (D-WA) opening remarks; SAC Ranking Member Collins (R-ME) opening remarks
- Blinken, Austin defend Biden’s foreign aid request on Capitol Hill (Jewish Insider 11/1/23); Police Remove Pro-Palestinian Protestors Disrupting Senate Israel Aid Hearing, Chanting ‘Cease-Fire Now,’ ‘Genocide’ (Breitbart 10/31/23);
- Protesters calling for cease-fire in Gaza disrupt Senate hearing over Israel aid as Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks (CBS News 10/31/23); Anti-war protest hits US Congress hearing as Biden officials seek aid for Israel, Ukraine (Reuters 10/31/23)
October 31, 2023: The Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, Threats to the Homeland. Witnesses were Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas (testimony), FBI Director Wray (testimony), and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Abizaid (testimony). All three witnesses focused intensively on Israel/Hamas and potential related threats to Americans. Also see:
- Hearing video;
- Media: FBI director: U.S. must be vigilant on threats amid Israel-Gaza war (Washington Post); Mayorkas and Wray warn of significant increase in antisemitic homeland threats (Jewish Insider); FBI director to Congress: ‘We are in a dangerous period’ (Jewish News Syndicate); DHS Chief Mayorkas Will Not Commit to Deporting Pro-Hamas Foreign Students from U.S. (Breitbart 10/31/23);
Aid to Israel
- Jewish News Syndicate 11/3/23: House votes for $14.3 billion in Israeli aid, bypasses White House coupling Israel, Ukraine
- Jewish Insider 11/3/23: Republican Israel aid bill passes with backing from 12 pro-Israel Democrats
- Associated Press 11/2/23: House GOP pushes ahead with $14.5 billion in assistance for Israel without humanitarian aid for Gaza
- Jewish News Syndicate 11/1/23: Biden warns he will veto Israel funding bill proposed by House
- Breitbart 11/1/23: White House Threatens Biden Would Veto House GOP Israel Aid Plan that CBO Estimates Would Add to Debt
- Jewish News Syndicate 11/1/23: Blinken, Austin argue for Israel-Ukraine funding in $106 billion spending plan
- Jewish Insider 10/31/23: Democrats slam GOP plan to split Israel and Ukraine funding, offset with IRS cuts
- Reuters 10/31/23: US House Republicans’ Israel-only aid bill opposed in Senate, by Biden
- Washington Post 10/31/23: Biden’s aid plan for Israel, Ukraine splits Republicans in Congress
- Jewish Insider 10/31/23: Democrats slam GOP plan to split Israel and Ukraine funding, offset with IRS cuts
- Breitbart 10/30/23: Democrat Infighting Breaks Out over Support for Israel
Partisan Issues & Israel
- Jewish Insider 11/3/23: In change from past, pro-Israel groups rally to oust left-wing lawmakers
- Washington Post 11/2/23: Barbara Lee urged restraint after 9/11. How does she look at Israel?
- CNBC 11/2/23: Reid Hoffman-backed PAC may fund primary campaign against progressives Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush
- Jewish Insider 11/2/23: Youngest House Democratic recruits speak out for Israel
- The New Yorker 11/2/23: How Israel Is Splitting the Democrats
- Post-Gazette 11/1/23: Dozens of Pittsburgh-area rabbis and cantors call on Summer Lee to change course on Israel
- Christian Science Monitor 11/1/23: Rashida Tlaib pushes for cease-fire in Gaza – and faces blowback
- Washington Examiner 11/1/23: AOC slams pro-Israel AIPAC as ‘racist and bigoted’
- Jewish Insider 10/31/23: Cori Bush becomes the latest Squad member to pick up a pro-Israel challenger
- Jewish Insider 10/30/23: Fetterman emerges as progressive pro-Israel pugilist
- Jewish Insider 10/30/23: Growing calls from Democrats for humanitarian pauses in Israel-Hamas war
- Jewish News Syndicate 10/30/23: Senators: Democratic policies setting stage for more attacks—in Israel, US
- Jewish Insider 10/30/23: ‘We are going to stand like a rock with our friend and our ally Israel,’ new House speaker tells RJC
- Florida Daily 10/31/23: Rick Scott, Jared Moskowitz Want U.S. Department of Education to Crack Down on Antisemitism”
- The Nation 10/31/23: The ADL Is Defaming Palestinian Students as Terrorist Supporters
- The Intercept 10/27/23: The Senate Condemns Student Groups as Backlash to Pro-Palestinian Speech Grows
- Jewish Insider 11/3/23: Some Dems open to considering re-designating Houthis as a terror group, as Republicans press the issue
- Jewish Insider 11/2/23: House passes Hamas sanctions bill, Iran resolution in by wide bipartisan margins
- Breitbart 11/1/23: McCaul: These Threats Are Linked — ‘You Cannot Dissect Putin from Hamas from Iran from China’
- NPR 11/1/23: Young progressive Democrats are splitting from the party on Israel
- Jewish News Syndicate 10/31/23: Senate confirms Jack Lew as US ambassador to Israel
- Breitbart 10/31/23: Senate Approves Jack Lew, Who Backed Obama’s Anti-Israel Policies, as Israel Ambassador