FMEP Legislative Round-Up: September 18, 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

(WE <HEART> ISRAEL-GULF PEACE/NORMALIZATION) H. Res. 1110 (pdf of text): Introduced 9/15 by Engel (D-NY), McCaul (R-TX), Zeldin (R-NY) and Rose (D-NY), “Supporting the announcements of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Press releases: Engel-McCaul-Zeldin-Rose/HFACYoung (R-IN)

(WE <HEART> ISRAEL-GULF PEACE/NORMALIZATION) S. Res. 709 (text here): Introduced 9/17 by Graham (R-SC) and 54 bipartisan cosponsors, “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the August 13, 2020, and September 11, 2020, announcements of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain are historic achievements.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Joint press release from key sponsors is here.

(HAPPY NEW YEAR TO US JEWS & ISRAEL) S. Res. 710 (text here): Introduced 9/17 by Cramer (R-ND) and Rosen (D-NV), “A resolution commemorating the High Holidays celebrated and commemorated by the Jewish people in the United States, in Israel, and around the world, and recognizing the many accomplishments and contributions of the Jewish community in the United States.” Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary,


(YEMEN AID) ForeignPolicy 9/16: Congress Pressures Trump Administration to Restore Aid to Yemen [“U.S. Congress is urging the State Department to reconsider U.S. assistance to Yemen suspended by President Donald Trump’s administration earlier this year after a plea from humanitarian groups last month appeared to fall on deaf ears, redoubling attention on years of U.S. policy missteps in the war-torn country. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided to us, a group of more than 50 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, who chairs the Middle East subcommittee of the House’s powerful foreign-affairs panel, called on the agency to restore $73 million in aid halted in March over U.S. fears that Iran-backed Houthi rebels were seizing control of the aid and stopping distribution…Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is working on a companion letter to Pompeo in the upper chamber, a former U.S. official familiar with the effort said. But Republicans have refused to sign onto either effort…”]

2. Hearings & Markups

9/24: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “U.S. Policy in a Changing Middle East.” Scheduled witnesses are: Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela; and David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

9/23: The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “The Role of Allies and Partners in U.S. Military Strategy and Operations.” Scheduled witnesses are: Christine Wormuth, RAND;  Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges (ret), Center for European Policy Analysis; and Elbridge Colby, The Marathon Initiative.

9/16: The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled, “Why did the Trump Administration Fire the State Department Inspector General?” Witnesses were: Brian Bulatao, Under Secretary of State for Management (statement); Marik String, Acting Legal Adviser at the Department of State (statement); and R. Clarke Cooper, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (statement). Video is here. Also see:

3. On the Record

Note: As with the UAE-Israel agreement, many members of Congress came out with statements applauding the Trump Administration for Bahrain’s decision to normalize relations with Israel. To find specific statements, check out members’ websites and Twitter feeds. Included below are only those (few) statements that mentioned the Palestinians or used the UAE/Bahrain agreements as a hook to make other points.

Members in general

Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) 9/16: Tweet – “The agreement to normalize relations between Israel, UAE, and Bahrain will benefit the region and the world. This is just the start – we need to continue to work toward peace in the region and a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

McConnell (R-KY) 9/15: “Unity, Strength, and Resolve” the Only Way to Confront “Basket Case” Iran

McConnell (R-KY) 9/15: Floor statement on the Israel UAE/Bahrain deal [“…President Abbas, who is now in the 16th year of a 4-year term at the head of the Palestinian Authority, predictably, tried to dismiss the compromise as nonsense. But, as the Obama administration’s Middle East expert Dennis Ross wrote a few days ago, continuing this failed approach would just guarantee Palestinians will be left behind while the rest of the Arab world builds a better future…”]

Shalala (D-FL) 9/15: Press release on Israel UAE/Bahrain deal [“...My hope is that increased cooperation between these states will not only lead to greater stability, but also enhance the possibility of a peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, living side-by-side with Israel.]

Cortez Masto (D-CA) 9/15: Press release on Israel UAE/Bahrain deal [“…I’m hopeful that these accords will lead to greater stability in the region and that continued diplomatic efforts will also focus on putting Israelis and Palestinians on a path to lasting peace.”]

Grassley (R-IA) 9/15: Floor statement on the Israel UAE/Bahrain deal [“...The outdated notion that recognition of Israel’s existence should be withheld until somehow Israelis and Palestinians agree on the details of a two-state solution has not worked. The two-state solution hasn’t made an agreement more likely, but it has prevented diplomatic interactions that could be a stabilizing force in an unstable region.”]

Spanberger (D-VA) 9/15: Press release on Israel UAE/Bahrain deals [“…As a Member of Congress, I remain committed to the constitutional role of Congress, our role in approving the transfer of military weapons to other nations, reaching a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and the U.S. policy of safeguarding Israel’s qualitative military edge. I look forward to working with the administration on these priority issues.”]

Smith (D-WA) 9/15: Statement on Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain Normalization Agreement [“The agreement signed today is an encouraging development that underscores the importance of dialogue and cooperation between Israel and its neighbors in the region. However, while this diplomatic breakthrough represents a positive step that will bolster regional stability, real and lasting peace in the Middle East will only be attainable if Israeli-Palestinian negotiations restart in earnest, so as to preserve a two-state solution. As these three countries work towards full, normalized diplomatic relations, I remain hopeful that all sides may continue to take concrete steps towards a durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, starting with Israel abandoning unilateral annexation and Palestinian leadership returning to the negotiating table.”]

Schneider (D-IL) 9/15: Twitter thread on “Abraham Accord,” incl – “I pray that this momentum might ultimately forge a path to an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, ensuring a secure, Jewish, democratic Israel living side-by-side with a Palestinian state with peace, security, and prosperity for both peoples.

Roybal-Allard (D-CA) 9/15: Tweet re “Abraham Accord,” – “I am happy to see the UAE and Bahrain promote stability by normalizing relations with Israel. It is critical that Israel and the Palestinian Authority continue to work toward a two-state solution. Peace is possible!”

Coons (D-DE) 9/14: Sen. Coons’ statement on reports of Iranian plot to attack US ambassador to South Africa

Lamborn (R-CO) 9/14: Tweet – “Today, I met with @SecPompeo to thank him for the great work he’s doing to strengthen ties with our friend & ally Israel. We must ensure that Palestinian crimes are accurately reported & that we hold the PA accountable for paying terrorists to kill innocent civilians.

Collins (R-GA), House GOP, Reschenthaler (R-GA), Babin (R-TX) 9/14: Bashing Pelosi (D-CA) 9/14 for suggesting that Trump is using Israel-UAE/Israel-Bahrain “peace agreements” as a distraction from domestic problems

Slotkin (D-MI) 9/14: Op-ed – “The Importance of Preserving Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge”

Gottheimer (D-NJ) 9/13: Tweet thread – “I applaud the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Bahrain and our historic ally, Israel. This agreement demonstrates the growing recognition in the region that peace will not come from rejectionism and denial, but from…acceptance, coexistence, and cooperation with Israel. I look forward to working in Congress to develop these new partnerships, while ensuring Israel’s retains its qualitative military edge in the region.

Cruz (R-TX) 9/12: Tweet – “If Biden wins in November and appoints Bernie Sanders as Secretary of State, we’ll see open hostility toward our friend and ally Israel and an embrace of tyrannical socialist dictators like Venezuela’s Maduro.”

Articles and Reports Related to the Hill


Arutz Sheva 9/18: Would you like to have Maxine Waters as president? [“The specter of Pres.Waters is why you must vote Republican for Congress even if your presidential vote goes to the Democrats.”]

Jewish Insider 9/16: Pro-Israel America announces new slate of congressional endorsements [two Democrats and four Republicans]

Daily Beast 9/16: New QAnon-Allied GOP Senate Candidate Also Pushed Anti-Semitism, Flat Earthism, and 9/11 Conspiracies

CNN 9/16: Republicans set aside past concerns over controversial Georgia candidate as they urge her to join ‘team’

CNBC 9/16: Sheldon Adelson is plotting a spending spree to help Trump with under 50 days left until the election

The Forward 9/16: Trump campaign ad evokes antisemitic trope by casting Bernie Sanders as puppet master

Algemeiner 9/16: Jewish New Jersey Congressional Candidate Expresses Outrage Over ‘Antisemitic Ads’ Targeting Him

Jerusalem Post 9/17: Democratic PAC mailers depict Jewish GOP House candidate clutching money

Jewish Insider 9/15: Trump campaign launches Jewish outreach coalition [“Jewish Voices for Trump, co-chaired by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, will promote the president’s record on Israel and antisemitism.”]

John James (GOP Senate candidate – Michigan) 9/14: Tweet – “There can be no space between the United States and our ally, Israel. We must dispel any shred of anti-Semitism, hate or racism in this country.

Other News

Jewish Insider 9/17: Congressional Democrats offer subdued praise on Abraham Accords

Middle East Eye 9/16: US congresswoman Betty McCollum receives award for Palestinian children advocacy

MondoWeiss 9/16: Rep. McCollum accepts Champion of Palestinian Rights Award: ‘Can anyone tell us how abusing, beating, and torturing children creates peace, security, and a better future?’ [full text of acceptance speech]

Free Beacon 9/16: House Dems Partner with Extreme Anti-Israel Group on Day of Historic Israel Peace Deal

Real Clear Defense 9/15: F-35s to UAE Necessitates U.S. Ensure Israel’s QME (JINSA)

Breaking Defense 9/15: Israel Seeks $8B Arms Deal At White House: F-35s, V-22s, KC-46s

Israel Hayom 9/14: Israel drawing up a defense tech wish list