As the strongest democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a special partner and crucial ally to the U.S. Together we collaborate on defense, intelligence and trade. In fact, former President Ronald Reagan signed our country’s first trade agreement with Israel in 1985.
Strengthening U.S.-Israeli relations has been a priority for the current administration and it has begun a new chapter in our alliance. From the historic relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem to pulling out of the dysfunctional Iran Nuclear Agreement, our ties are closer than ever. I have long supported Israel and was pleased when the House recently passed three Israel related bills, all of which I cosponsored.
The United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act (H.R. 1837), strengthens U.S. and Israel defense collaboration by allowing the U.S. to transfer military equipment to Israel in case of an imminent threat and provides funding for joint economic programs between our countries. With Israel constantly under threat, they have the resources to defend themselves. It is also important our strongest ally in the region be capable of defending itself. Collaboration between our defense forces provides a stronger alliance and a united front in the face of common adversaries.
Another bill we passed, H.R. 1850, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act, directs intelligence agencies to identify foreign entities who fund Hamas so we can impose sanctions and cut Hamas off from the support they need to continue their anti-Israel campaign. Hamas has been labeled a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government since 1997. This designation reserved only for the worst offenders is well-warranted through their repeated attacks on civilians and the government of Israel.
In addition to physical attacks, Iran, Hamas and their supporters all seek to delegitimize the state of Israel and to intimidate its people. H. Res. 246 condemns the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which openly and aggressively does not recognize the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The BDS movement is a campaign which targets all Israeli products, institutions and citizens with a blanket boycott. This campaign is unacceptable and the U.S. will not tolerate it. The House of Representatives stands with our ally Israel, passing H. Res. 246 by a bipartisan vote of 398-17.
The U.S. will not back down from its support for Israel. Our shared passion for democracy, stability in the region and common values strengthen our bond, and we will continue to work together to see these goals accomplished.