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November 2020 Congressional election– critical to US-Israel ties

Mida Magazinehttps://bit.ly/2Z8TtZo

Israel and the November 2020 Congressional election

The outcome of the November 2020 election to the US House of Representatives and Senate will greatly impact US national security policy, in general, and US-Israel relations, in particular.

This impact will be intensified by more “Progressive Democrats” in the House of Representatives – currently, 95 out of 233 Democrats – who share the following worldview (which is a prime-challenge for Israel’s public diplomacy):

*A drastic cut in the defense budget;
*Multinational – rather than unilateral – military actions;
*Embracing the UN and disavowing peace-through-strength in favor of pliability;
*Cosmopolitan, rather than national, worldview, dismissing Biblical roots of the US Constitution, civil rights, governance and culture.
*Embracing Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood, and devaluing pro-US Arab regimes, which are threatened by the Ayatollahs and the Brotherhood;
*Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, not by anti-US Islamic fanaticism, and should be addressed diplomatically and legally, rather than militarily;
*Underestimating Iran’s threat to the Middle East and the world at-large;
*Ignoring Israel’s unique role as a force-multiplier in face of mutual threats;
*Overlooking the fact that the US-Israel mutual threats and challenges transcend disagreements over the Palestinian issue;
*Disregarding the intra-Arab Palestinian track record and its impact on the US;
*Considering Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines as a prerequisite to peace;
*Ignoring the benefits to regional stability and US interest derived from Israel’s control of the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria;
*Subordinating harsh Middle East reality to well-intentioned oversimplification;

Thus, the moderate Democrat and steadfast pro-Israel Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the powerful Chairwoman of the House Full Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, who opposed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, is retiring from Congress. She will be succeeded in Congress by Mondaire Jones who is supported by the leadership of “Progressive Democrats.” The three leading candidates to chair the most powerful Appropriations Committee (Marci Kaptur, Rosa DeLauro and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) – assuming that the Democrats will retain the House majority – are closer to the “Progressive Democrats” than to Nita Lowey, when it comes to Israel. Two of the leading candidates to chair the Foreign Operations Subcommittee are Congresswoman Betty McCullum (who may chair the Defense Subcommittee, which appropriates much of the US-Israel defense cooperation) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who are among the fiercest critics of Israel in the House of Representatives.

The moderate Democrat and staunchly pro-Israel Congressman Eliot Engel, the veteran Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, was defeated in the Democratic primary by Jamaal Bowman, a Progressive Democrat, supported by anti-Israel individuals and organizations. Should the next Chairman be pro-Israel (e.g., Congressman Brad Sherman, who opposed the Iran agreement), his – and the Committee’s – position on Iran, the Middle East and Israel will be heavily impacted by the growing weight of the “Progressive Democrats.”

Similar – but more moderate – changes may take place in the Senate, should the Democrats become the majority party, replacing the slate of pro-Israel Republican Committee and Subcommittee Chairmen (Republicans and Democrats defend 23 and 12 seats respectively, with 8 vulnerable Republican seats and only  2 vulnerable Democratic seats).

Hence, the most veteran, effective, liberal Democratic Senator, Pat Leahy, a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, opponent of the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and a consistent (low key) critic of Israel, would be the next President Pro-Tempore and a leading candidate to be the next Chairman of the most powerful Appropriations Committee (unless he prefers the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee), and certainly the next Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which oversees foreign aid and various cooperation initiatives with Israel.

The veteran, moderate Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, and a moderate supporter/critic of Israel, opposing the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, would be the leading candidate to the chairmanship of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

The long-serving, moderate, Democratic Senator Jack Reed, a supporter of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, opponent of the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and – like most Democrats in both Chambers – calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, would be a leading candidate to become the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, which is involved in all US-Israel military aspects.

Senator Bob Menendez, the veteran, moderate and systematic supporter of Israel (in defiance of President Obama, opposing the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement!) would become the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but would be subjected to heavy pressure by the “Progressive Democrats.”

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The co-equal and co-determining Legislature

Contrary to conventional wisdom, both Chambers of Congress – which constitute the most powerful Legislature in the world and the most authentic representative of the constituents – are not a second-class branch of government.  They are co-equal to the Executive, possessing the muscle to check, defy, oversee, overrule, direct, investigate, suspend, fund and defund the Executive on domestic, foreign and national security issues.

For example, Congress initiates most sanctions against foreign countries, and on many occasions in defiance of the President. In 2017, Congress legislated sanctions on Russia despite President Trump. In 2015, the Senate refused to ratify the nuclear agreement with Iran, thus enabling Trump to withdraw from the agreement in 2018. In 2014, Congress foiled President Obama’s attempts to delay the funding of additional Iron Dome missile defense systems during Israel’s war (“Protective Edge”) against Hamas terrorists. In 2012, despite Obama’s opposition, Congress cut foreign aid to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government by $450MN and imposed additional sanctions on Iran. In 2002, Congress forced President Bush to transform the Office of Homeland Security into a Department of Homeland Security. Since 1999, the Senate has refrained from ratifying President Clinton’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. In 1990-1992, Congress substantially expanded US-Israel strategic cooperation in defiance of President Bush and Secretary Baker. In 1986, Congress overruled President Reagan’s veto and imposed sanctions, which led to the downfall of South Africa’s Apartheid regime. In 1984, 1976 and 1973, in spite of opposition by Reagan, Ford and Nixon, congressional legislation led to the end of US military involvement in Nicaragua (the Boland Amendment), Angola (the Clark Amendment) and Southeast Asia (the Church-Case Amendment) respectively. In 1973, Congress overrode President Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Act, limiting presidential powers to commit US forces abroad without congressional approval. In 1974, Congress passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment – over President Nixon’s opposition – which led to over a million Jewish immigrants to Israel.

The power of Congress is stipulated by the US Constitution, which aims at securing civil liberties by highlighting the centrality of the constituents, while precluding excessive Executive power.  Thus, US presidents are constrained by checks and balances, limited government and a strict separation of powers among the Legislature (which is accorded the first article in the Constitution), Executive and Judiciary. Therefore, unlike European and Israeli leaders, US presidents are not super-legislators, nor do they determine the congressional agenda or congressional leadership.

Moreover, Congress possesses the Power of the Purse, the authority to impeach, establish and abolish Executive departments, confirm Supreme Court Justices and ambassadors, etc.

The President proposes, but Congress disposes.

The President is the commander-in-chief, but only as authorized and appropriated by Congress, which has been a systematic supporter of the mutually-beneficial US-Israel cooperation.

The 2020 annual Gallup poll of country-favorability documents a 74% favorability for Israel, compared to a 23% favorability for the Palestinian Authority. This fact highlights the significant potential/challenge of enhanced ties between the American people and their representatives on Capitol Hill and the Israel.

Will Israel’s public diplomacy rise to the challenge posed by the current ideological trends in the US?

Donations appreciated


The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb

US-sponsored anti-Israel UN Security Council statement – acumen

*The US’ co-sponsorship of an anti-Israel UN Security Council Statement reflects the return of the State Department’s worldview to the center stage of US foreign policy-making. This was the first time, in six years, that the US enabled the UN Security Council to act against Israel.

*This is not merely a worldview, which is highly critical of Israel, as has been the case since 1948, when Foggy Bottom led the charge against the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

This worldview has systematically undermined US interests, by subordinating the unilateral, independent US national security policy (on Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian issue, etc.) to a multilateral common denominator with the anti-US and anti-Israel UN and international organizations, as well as the vacillating and terrorists-appeasing Europe.

*It has sacrificed Middle East reality on the altar of wishful-thinking, assuming that the establishment of a Palestinian state would fulfill Palestinian aspirations, advance the cause of peace, reduce terrorism and regional instability; thus, enhancing US interests.

*However, the reality of the Middle East and Jordan and the rogue Palestinian track record lend credence to the assumption that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, yielding traumatic ripple effects, regionally and globally:

^Replace the relatively-moderate Hashemite regime with either a rogue Palestinian regime, a Muslim Brotherhood regime, or other rogue regimes;
^Transform Jordan into a chaotic state, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs to intensify their encirclement of the pro-US Saudi regime;
^Convert Jordan into a major arena of regional and global Islamic terrorism;
^Trigger a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula, which could topple all pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes;
^Imperil the supply of Persian Gulf oil, which would be held hostage by anti-US entities, catapulting the price at the pump;
^Jeopardize major naval routes of global trade between Asia and Europe through the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal;
^Intensify epicenters of regional and global terrorism and drug trafficking;
^Generate a robust tailwind to US’ adversaries (Russia and China) and enemies (Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS) and a powerful headwind to US economic and national security interests.

*The State Department assumes that Palestinian terrorism – just like Islamic terrorism – is driven by despair, ignoring the fact that Palestinian terrorism has been driven (for the last 100 years) by the vision to erase the “infidel” Jewish entity from “the abode of Islam,” as stated by the charters of Fatah (1959) and the PLO (1964), 8 and 3 years before the Jewish State reunited Jerusalem and reasserted itself in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

*Aspiring for a Palestinian state, and viewing Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria as an obstacle to peace, ignores the Arab view of the Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, corruption and treachery. Moreover, the State Department has held the view that the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and a central to Arab interests, which has been refuted by the Abraham Accords. The latter ignored the State Department, sidestepped the Palestinian issue and therefore came to fruition.

*The State Department overlooks the centrality of the Palestinian Authority’s hate education, which has become the most effective production-line of terrorists, and the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian Authority’s worldview and vision.

*The State Department has also taken lightly the Palestinian Authority’s mosque incitement, public glorification of terrorists and monthly allowances to families of terrorists, which have documented its rogue and terroristic nature (walk), notwithstanding its peaceful diplomatic rhetoric (talk).

*The State Department’s eagerness to welcome the Palestinian issue in a “red carpet” manner – contrary to the “shabby doormat” extended to Palestinians by Arabs – and its determination to promote the establishment of a Palestinian state, along with its embrace of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood, have been interpreted by rogue regimes and organizations as weakness.

Experience suggests that weakness invites the wolves, including wolves which aim to bring “The Great Satan” to submission throughout the world as well as the US mainland.

Support Appreciated



The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb