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Yes, We Can,Congress

Israel’s Support on Capitol Hill


The sweeping Capitol Hill support of the Jewish State is a rare bi-partisan consensus during the current US political polarization.


The active role played by Democratic leaders in the pro-Israel display, exposes the significant gap between President Obama’s and Congress’ attitudes toward Israel. It sends a loud and a clear message from the Legislature, which is equal in power to the Executive and constitutes a systematic bastion of support of the Jewish State.


For example, Majority and Minority Leaders, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch Mcconnell, wrote a letter to the President, opposing Israel’s condemnation by the UN and the establishment of an international board of inquiry to investigate the “Gaza Flotilla.” They support Israel’s seizure of the boats and the naval blockade of Gaza, condemning Hamas, the Turkish terrorist group IHH, the UN Council on Human Rights and the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference’s “efforts to isolate Israel.” The letter – which is endorsed by the vast majority of the Senators – defines Israel as “our strongest ally in the Middle East and a vibrant democracy… a partner to the US on military and intelligence issues….” The House Majority and Minority Leaders, Steny Hoyer and John Boehner, issued similar statements, joined by powerful committee and subcommittee chairmen in both Chambers.


Israel’s Support among Americans


US legislators express the state of mind of their constituents, who consider Israel one of the five most favorite nations, while the Palestinian Authority is ranked as one of the three least favored entities. According to a June 4, 2010 Gallup poll, Americans perceive terrorism as the top threat, more than unemployment, healthcare costs and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Terrorism is identified with Muslim organizations and regimes and therefore is construed as a mutual threat to both the US and Israel. The daily reports on US soldiers killed by Muslim terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the murder of 13 soldiers by a Muslim terrorist in San Antonio and the foiled attempt to terrorize Times Square, have re-entrenched identification with Israel’s predicament. A June 7, 2010 ‘Rasmussen Report” poll determines that only 19% of Americans blame Israel for the deaths during the “Gaza Flotilla,” compared with 49% who blame the terrorists on board of the ship. 49% claim that the world is too critical of Israel, while 21% claim that the world is not critical enough. Israel is one of only five countries – in addition to Canada, Britain, Mexico and Germany – that most Americans are willing to defend militarily.


Most Americans distrust the UN, but view the Jewish State as a reflection of the American ethos: Patriotism, tradition, religion, defiance of awesome odds and serving as an outpost in the clash of civilizations between Western Democracies and Islamic terrorism. The Jewish State is not regarded as a typical foreign policy issue. It is also perceived as a value-driven domestic issue, related to the moral foundation of the American Story: Judeo-Christian Values.


Congress vs President


The most authentic representative of the American public is Congress, where all 435 House Members run every two years. In contrast with the parliamentary system (Knesset included), Congress is fully independent, benefiting from a total separation of powers and an elaborate system of checks and balances. The President is not omnipotent and is not “The Government,” but only one third of “The Government.” The Judiciary and the Legislature are equal-in-power to the Executive.


The US Constitution is representative in nature, designed to prevent dictatorship. Therefore, it has transformed the People into the most critical factor of the political system, according the representatives of the People much power and denying the President absolute power, including in the areas of national security. The President can exert pressure and deploy military forces, but Congress possesses the Power of the Purse and the capabilities to paralyze the President in the domestic and in the global arenas. According the Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, “Congress shall have the power… to define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas… To declare War….” According to Article 2, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States… when called into the actual Service of the United State….” In other words, Congress initiates and the President executes.


In 1993, Congress established deadlines for US troops’ withdrawal from Somalia, barring funding of the military operation following March 31, 1994. In 1991, the courts forced President Bush to seek congressional authorization for the war against Iraq. In 1984, 1976 and 1973, Congress terminated US military involvement in Nicaragua (the Boland Amendment), Angola (the Clark Amendment) and Vietnam (the Eagleton Amendment) respectively. In 1991, Israel requested emergency assistance following the Gulf War. President Bush and Secretary of State Baker opposed, but Israel received $650MN in cash and $700MN in military systems due to Congress. In 1990, Bush and Baker failed in their attempt to cut Israel’s foreign aid by 5% because of congressional opposition.




In view of the lethal threats facing the Jewish State, against the background of President Obama pressure on Israel, while engaging enemies of the US and Israel, and in light of the inherent principle-driven congressional support of the Jewish State, it is incumbent upon Jerusalem to bolster its dialogue with the most faithful and very powerful representatives of the American People – Capitol Hill legislators.



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Congress – the co-equal and systematic ally of Israel

Presidents propose and Congress disposes

On September 23, 2021, the US House of Representatives voted 420:9 to replenish the Israeli-developed defensive “Iron Dome” missiles, which are increasingly manufactured – and eventually exported – by the US defense company Raytheon, that benefits from the battle-tested “Israeli laboratory.”

The overwhelming vote reflects Congressional realization that the “Iron Dome”:

*Enhances Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is critical to the survival of all pro-US Arab regimes and minimization of regional instability;
*Reduces the need for full-scale Israeli wars on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism;
*Provides an alternative to Israeli military ground-operations against Palestinian terrorists, which would entail substantial Israeli and Palestinian fatalities;
*Represents joint US-Israel interests, militarily and technologically, in the face of mutual threats (e.g., Islamic terrorism) and mutual challenges (e.g., developing world-class, game-changing technologies).

*Constitutes another example of the systematic support by Congress of enhanced US-Israel cooperation.

The decisive role played by Congress in the replenishment of the “Iron Dome” underscores the cardinal rule of the US political system: The President proposes, but Congress disposes.

The involvement of Senators and House Representatives in foreign policy and national security-related issues has surged since the Vietnam War, Watergate and Iran Gate scandals, the dismantling of the USSR (which transformed the world from a bi-polar to a multi-polar) and rapidly-expanding globalization.

In fact, former Secretary of State, Jim Baker, complained about the growing congressional assertiveness in the area of foreign policy: “You can’t conduct foreign policy with 535 Secretaries of State….”  Former Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, criticized Congress for micromanaging the defense budget: dictating how much to spend on particular weapons, imposing detailed requirements and programmatic restrictions, venturing into policy-setting and requesting that the Department of Defense submits mountains of reports.

Congressional muscles 

The US Congress is the most powerful legislature in the world, and it has demonstrated its co-equal, co-determining muscle in the areas of foreign and defense policies on many occasions, such as:

*Imposing sanctions against foreign countries in defiance of Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump (e.g., Egypt – 2012, Iran – 1996-97 and 2013, Russia – 2017);
*Non-ratification of the 2015 JCPOA, which enabled withdrawal by the US;
*The 2009 non-closure of the Guantanamo Detention Camp was led by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (NV-D), in defiance of President Obama.
*The 2009 non-confirmation of Charles Freeman to the Director of National Intelligence was led by Senator Chuck Schumer (NY-D);
*The 1999 non-ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in defiance of President Clinton and the international community;
*The unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation took place despite stiff opposition by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker;
*The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act overrode President Reagan’s veto;
*The 1984 Boland Amendment aborted President Reagan’s financial and military aid to anti-Communist elements in Nicaragua;
*The 1983 blocking of President Reagan’s attempted coup against the Surinam pro-Soviet regime;
*The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act mandated congressional authorization of surveillance of persons and organizations, which may threaten national security;
*The 1975/76 Tunney (CA-D) and Clark Amendments stopped financial and military covert support of the opposition to the pro-Soviet regime in Angola;
*The 1973 Church-Case Amendment ended funding of military involvement in Southeast Asia;
*The 1973 War Powers Act overrode President Nixon’s veto;
*The Jackson-Vanik Amendment preconditioned aid to Moscow upon free immigration.

Congress empowered by the Constitution

As documented in the aforementioned paragraphs, one is advised to note that while Congress is preoccupied with District and State issues, it has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies.

The US Constitution aspires for a limited government and a non-monarchical president, and therefore does not limit Congress to overseeing the budget. It provides the Senate and the House of Representatives with the power to act on strategic issues and policy-setting.

The Constitution accords Congress ”the power of the purse,” oversight of government operations, ratification of treaties, confirmation of key appointments, declaration of war, funding of military operations and cooperation with foreign entities, creation and elimination of government agencies, imposing sanctions on foreign governments, etc.

In other words, the President is the “commander in-chief” within constraints, which are set by Congress.


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