FMEP Legislative Round-Up: November 6, 2020


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

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

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(LIMITING MIDDLE EAST ARMS SALES [EXCEPT TO ISRAEL]) HR 8707: Introduced 10/30 by Engel (D-NY) and 11 Democratic cosponsors, the “To require certifications for transfers of certain United States defense articles and defense services, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Middle East Advanced Technology Protection Act.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. While text of the bill is not yet public, Engel’s press release describes it as follows:

The Middle East Advanced Technology Protection Act would condition the sales of defense equipment, such as the F-35, electronic warfare aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems to any country in the Middle East outside of Israel on the recipient country’s adherence to the following criteria:

  • The recipient country has signed an agreement of peace or normalization with Israel.
  • Israel and the United States would maintain their military advantage.
  • The weapons have been modified to ensure that Israel is able to identify, locate, and continually track the weapons and that the recipient country will not alter such modifications.
  • The recipient country will protect the weapons from theft or diversion of sensitive defense technology to any other country or non-state actor and will not transfer those weapons without authorization.
  • The recipient country will not violate international humanitarian law or internationally recognized human rights.
  • The recipient country will consult with the United States relating to the mission, flight plan, and purpose of use of the weapons.

Also see:

Defense News 10/30: Democrats building speed bumps for F-35 sale to United Arab Emirates

Gottheimer (D-NJ) 10/30: Tweets – “Proud to introduce the Middle East Advanced Technology Protection Act with @HouseForeign Chairman Eliot Engel to help protect our national security, secure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region, & ensure… (1/2)” & “…that our most advanced military technology doesn’t end up in the wrong hands of our adversaries like Russia and China. (2/2)”



2. Hearings & Markups


3. On the Record

Members on the Record

Omar (D-MN) 11/5: Tweet (linked to article about Israel razing a Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley) – “This a grave crime—in direct violation of international law. If they used any US equipment it also violates US law. An entire community is now homeless and will likely experience lifelong trauma. The United States of America should not be bankrolling ethnic cleansing. Anywhere.”

McCaul (R-TX)/HFAC-GOP 11/5: Twitter thread commemorating 41st anniversary of storming of US Embassy in Tehran, calling Iran “leading state sponsor of terror” that “continues to take hostages, including U.S. citizens” and stating “All nations must hold Iran accountable for its malign behavior and reject its destabilizing activities.”

Diaz-Balart (R-FL) 11/4: Tweet – “The United States led, and other nations are quickly [SIC] following suit. I thank Malawi President @LAZARUSCHAKWERA for recognizing Israel’s true capital, #Jerusalem.

Lowenthal (D-CA) 11/1: Tweet – “The Trump Administration, breaking with decades of bipartisan U.S. policy consensus, has removed bans on US taxpayer investment in Israeli projects in Israeli-occupied territory beyond the Green Line. This further threatens a comprehensive two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution.”

Murphy (D-CT) 10/31: Murphy Statement On Trump Administration’s Proposed Arms Sale To United Arab Emirates

Rubio (R-FL) 10/31: Tweet – “Allowing U.S. citizens born in #Jerusalem to elect their place of birth as #Israel is welcome news. Sen. Rubio applauds the Administration for this move.

Biggs (R-AZ) 10/30: Tweet – President @realDonaldTrump’s administration has been marked by a litany of promises made, promises kept -especially when it comes to Israel. The Trump administration has unequivocally stood w/ Israel, most notably by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.”


Articles and Reports Related to the Hill


Jewish Insider 11/6: Raphael Warnock signed letter likening West Bank to apartheid South Africa [Comments: (1) This JI headline is misleading in its description of the extremely thoughtful, nuanced statement Warnock and other faith leaders signed (take the time to read the whole thing); (2) the headline is also misleading in suggesting that using analogies to Apartheid to describe the situation of Palestinians living under occupation for more than 50 years – with Israel in recent years ceasing even the pretense of interest in anything resembling a solution that would give the Palestinians more than isolated islands of semi-autonmous territory surrounded by and under the overarching control of Israel — is any longer controversial (see:‘An illegitimate regime’: How a top rights group shed Israeli myths to recognize apartheid); and (3) JI tweeted the story around 8:30pm EST on 11/5, framing it as “#Breaking” — notwithstanding the fact that the statement in question dates back to March 2019, and has been online for the world to see the whole time (it wasn’t a secret; all of us who pay attention to faith leaders engagement with Palestinians certainly knew about it, and anyone using Google to research Warnock’s history vis-a-vis Israel would easily find it). The timing of JI’s “breaking” a more than year-old story now, as Warnock heads to a run-off for the Senate seat in Georgia, is interesting, to say the least.

Jewish Insider 11/6: Pro-Israel groups say new congressional makeup bodes well for bipartisanship [“It is clear from the outcome of the races so far that the elected and reelected senators and representatives from both parties will be joining an overwhelmingly pro-Israel Congress,’ AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann told Jewish Insider on Thursday night. ‘Despite the current profound political polarization, there remains a resolute bipartisan commitment to the U.S.-Israel alliance.’”]

Middle East Monitor 11/5: US elects second Muslim, Palestinian congresswoman

JNS/The Algemeiner 11/5: Next Congress Likely to Continue a Strong Jewish Presence [including discussion of views on Israel policy issues]

Jerusalem Post 11/5: Bipartisan support for Israel is still alive despite ‘squad’ reelection

Jewish Insider 11/5: Eric Fingerhut weighs in on the election and next steps for pandemic relief [Fingerhut was hopeful that the next president will sign into law the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, and ensure that Medicaid and Medicare programs are extended.”]

Jewish Insider 11/5: Jewish Republicans satisfied with Senate ‘firewall’ if Biden takes the White House

Jewish Insider 11/5: Tony Gonzales talks Texas, the Hispanic vote and plans for his first term [“The former Navy cryptologist declined to say which committees he’s angling to join, but emphasized that he’s hoping to bring his cybersecurity background to bear in Congress to address geopolitical adversaries, including Iran. ‘You’re going to see me get on the Hill and start carving out that space,’ he said. ‘It’s an area of expertise that is sorely lacking on Capitol Hill.’ Gonzales also said he’s planning to join the AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation trip to Israel for first-term members.”]

Middle East Eye 11/5: Campa-Najjar holds on with ‘measure of hope’ as Issa claims victory

Haaretz 11/4: Ritchie Torres, Self-proclaimed ‘pro-Israel Progressive,’ Wins Congress Seat

The Algemeiner 11/4: Pro-Israel Progressive Ritchie Torres Elected to Congress From District Next to AOC’s [“Addressing the issue of the BDS movement, Torres said, ‘The attempt to delegitimize Israel, the attempt to question Israel’s right to exist or right to defend itself, that, to me, crosses the line to destructive criticism.’ ‘I consider anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism, and I am not going to give consideration to antisemitic voices, voices that are dedicated to delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish state,’ he added.”]

Times of Israel 11/4: ‘Squad’ of progressive Democrats all easily win 2nd House terms

JTA 11/4: North Carolina Republican who vacationed at Hitler’s retreat wins congressional race [Jewish Insider 11/4: “A spokesperson for Cawthorn…told Jewish Insider on election night that ‘Madison is committed to meeting with leaders in the Jewish community within the first 100 days to best understand the needs of his constituents. Madison also pledges to not cosponsor legislation with members of Congress who are antisemitic.’”]

The Forward 11/3: Republicans with far-right ties win House seats in Georgia, North Carolina

JTA 11/3: Marjorie Taylor Greene becomes Congress’ first adherent of the anti-Semitic QAnon theory

JTA 11/3: Cori Bush, Democrat who expressed support for BDS, wins Missouri congressional race

JTA 11/3: Lois Frankel defeats Laura Loomer in South Florida race that encapsulated a Jewish culture war


In General

Times of Israel 11/6: Panning razing of Palestinian hamlet, Omar accuses Israel of ‘ethnic cleansing’

Israel Hayom 11/6: Ilhan Omar blasts Israel for ‘ethnic cleansing’ after IDF partially razes illegal Palestinian hamlet

Middle East Monitor 11/6: Ilhan Omar criticises Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine

The Hill (Dov Zakheim) 11/6: Blocking the F-35 sale to the UAE will only help our foes and Israel’s

Reuters 11/5: Exclusive: Trump administration advances $2.9 billion drone sale to UAE – sources [“The U.S. State Department gave Congress notification it plans to sell 18 sophisticated armed MQ-9B aerial drones to the United Arab Emirates in a deal worth as much as $2.9 billion, people briefed on the notification said.”]

Jewish Insider 11/3: Former Rep. Ed Royce urges Congress to move fast on Sudan deal