Congress Takes Up Iran, Israel, UN in 2017

by Lara Friedman

[As we have over the past two years, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran.]

Welcome to the 115th Congress! Based on this first week, it seems safe to say: fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a very very very bumpy ride (which is probably what Hill watchers/analysts/advocates are right to expect on pretty much every issue, but for those of us working on Middle East/Israel-Palestine, expectations have already turned into a raft of new legislation).

Bills & Resolutions Related to the Recent UNSC Settlements Resolution/Obama Abstention

Even before the 115th Congress convened this week, members were lining up to slam the UN Security Council’s resolution on settlements and to blast the Obama Administration for allowing that resolution to pass. Below are the resolutions that have been introduced (so far) and the state of play on them.

It is worth emphasizing here that in the wake of the 2016 election and the adoption by the GOP of a national platform that deliberately left out any mention of support for the two-state solution, there is a new zeitgeist among some in the GOP on the Hill that is openly anti-two-state solution (as evidenced by the battle over text of House and Senate measures slamming the UN Security Council’s resolution on settlements, discussed below). It is the analysis of this longtime Hill observer that this zeitgeist is only going to grow more pronounced and will be a defining feature of debate and legislation related to Israel-Palestine for the coming period (with a likely tipping point coming  if/when AIPAC and other right-wing and center-right Jewish organizations decide to renounce their own support for two-states). Recommended reading that bolsters this analysis: Ben Smith 12/29: How Trump Made Israel A Zero-Sum Game; Ron Kampeas 1/3: In Congress, a new battle emerges: 2 states or not 2 states; Aaron Magid & Jacob Kornbluth 1/5: Two-state solution divides Congress during House debate

In the House

(SLAMMING SETTLEMENTS UNSCR & OBAMA ADMIN) H. Res. 11: Introduced 1/3 by Royce (R-CA) and Engel (D-NY) and 104 bipartisan cosponsors, “Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes.”

  • This resolution was moved directly to the Rules committee and then brought to the floor, where it passed early evening on 1/5 by a vote of342-80, with 4 voting “present.”
  • 76 Democrats voted “no,” including House Minority leader Pelosi (D-CA). Four GOP members also voted “no,” includingGohmert, R-TX, who publicly opposed the resolution’s support for the two-state solution.
  • The resolution was backed (and energetically lobbied) by AIPAC and a wide range of right-wing and right-leaning Jewish groups.
  • It was vociferously opposed by Americans for Peace Now (our message to members/staff ishere; our action alert to our grassroots is here), J Street, and a range of progressive groups. It was also opposed in advance  by a group of House members: see Dear Colleague from Doggett (D-TX), Price D-NC), Connolly (D-VA), Welch (D-VT), Blumenauer (D-OR), Lee (D-CA), and Yarmuth (D-KY).
  • Rep. Price (D-NC), Engel (D-NY), and Connolly (D-VA), submitted anamendment to H. Res. 11, seeking to remove the most problematic and inaccurate parts from H. Res. 11. The Rules Committee did not rule that amendment in order, so it was never considered on the floor (but it was introduced separately – see discussion on H. Res. 23, below).
  • Rep. King (R-IA), offered anamendment that would have stripped out of H. Res. 11 support for the two-state solution. That, too, was not ruled in order and not debated by the House – but King followed up by introducing a separate resolution on the issue – see H. Res. 27, below.
  • Members on the record supporting the resolution (even before the vote) were:Hoyer (D-MD),Reed (R-NY), and Yoder (R-KS)
  • HFAC published a list of 5 “facts” members needed to know ahead of the vote; Royce press release announcing the vote in advance ishere.
  • Full floor consideration of H. Res. 11 ishere.  Members grandstanding in support (and some articulating more nuanced views, but explaining that they were still voting “yes”) were: Ryan (R-WI), Engel (D-NY –who also made a pitch for H. Res. 23), Royce (D-CA), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Sherman (D-CA), Smith (R-NJ), Poe (R-TX), Rosen (D-NV), Wilson (R-SC), Yoho (R-FL), Suozzi (D-NY), DeSantis (R-FL), Zeldin (R-NY), Scott (D-GA), Trott (R-MI), Rohrabacher (D-CA), Hoyer (D-MD), Lance (D-NJ), Costello (R-PA), Schneider (D-IL), Hill (R-AR), Allan (R-GA), Lowey (D-NY), Taylor (R-VA), Deutch (D-FL), Green (R-TX), Levin (D-MI), Khanna (D-CA), and Pascrell (D-NJ). [Others issues press releases – to see what other members may have said, check their websites].
  • Members speaking on the floor in opposition to H. Res. 11 were: Price (D-NC), Schakowsky (D-IL), Gutierrez (D-IL), Doggett (D-TX), Yarmuth (D-KY), Connolly (D-VA), Welch (D-VT), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), DeFazio (D-OR). Some others who voted “no” issued statements:Bishop (D-GA)Carson (D-IN),  Chu (D-CA)DeGette (D-CO)Ellison (D-MN)Gohmert (R-TX – opposed resolution over its support for 2-state solution)Huffman (D-CA)Lowenthal (D-CA)Nolan (D-MN),
  • In addition, there was grandstanding on Israel/H. Res. 11 in the context of thedebate on H. Res. 22, which was the Rule under which H. Res. 11 was brought to the floor. They were: Collins (R-GA),  Byrne (R-AL),  Sessions (R-TX), Cicilline (D-RI), Ross (R-GA), Messer (D-IN – “nothing unites Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District quite like the simple phrase, `we must stand with Israel”),  Mast (R-FL), Royce (R-CA) .  In this same debate, McGovern (D-MA), Price (D-NC), Lee (D-CA), Welch (D-VT), Blumenauer (D-OR), Connolly (D-VA),  Doggett (D-TX), spoke against H. Res. 11 (and against the Rules Committee’s decision to not permit the Price amendment to be considered on the floor).

(NOT SLAMMING UNSCR QUITE AS HARD AS H. RES. 11 & DOUBLING DOWN ON SUPPORT FOR PEACE & 2SS) H. Res. 23: Introduced 1/5 by Price (D-NC), Engel (D-NY) and 100 Democratic House colleagues, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives and reaffirming long-standing United States policy in support of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. This resolution is the Democratic alternative to [the bipartisan] H. Res. 11, on which 76 Democrats voted “no.” It is similar to the text of the Price amendment to H. Res. 11 that was rejected by the Rules Committee.

(REPUDIATING TWO STATE SOLUTION AS US POLICY) H. Res. 27: Introduced 1/5 by King (R-IA), “Rejecting the ‘two-state solution’ as the United States’ diplomatic policy objective and calls for the Administration to advocate for a new approach that prioritizes the State of Israel’s sovereignty, security, and borders.”  Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(SLAMMING SETTLEMENTS UNSCR & OBAMA ADMIN, NO SUPPORT FOR 2SS) H. Res. 14:Introduced 1/3 by Ross (R-FL) and 55 all-GOP cosponsors, “Disapproving of President Obama and his administration’s refusal to veto the anti-Israel resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016.” The resolution slams the UN Security Council, calls for a policy of blocking/vetoing resolutions in the future, and leaves out any mention at all of support for two-state solution. Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. NOTE: Ross introduced this bill originally just before the last Congress recessed, in the form of H. Res. 957; his press release on the re-introduction of the resolution is here.

(DECLARING SETTLEMENTS UNSCR “NULL AND VOID”) HR 263: Introduced 1/4 by Lamborn (R-CO) and  Franks (R-AZ), “To render United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 null and void as a matter of United States law, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

In the Senate

(SLAMMING SETTLEMENTS UNSCR & OBAMA ADMIN) S. Res. 6: Introduced 1/4 by Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD) and a who’s who bipartisan list of 36 Senate colleagues, “A resolution objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 and to all efforts that undermine direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for a secure and peaceful settlement.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. This resolution is backed by AIPAC and a wide range of right-wing and right-leaning Jewish groups. It is opposed by Americans for Peace Now [our message to senators/staff is here; our action alert to our grassroots is here], J Street, and a range of progressive groups. Rubio press release is here. Press releases from other Senators touting their co-sponsorship of the resolution:  Schumer (D-NY)Booker (D-NJ)Cotton (R-AR), Moran (R-KS), Portman (R-OH)Ernst (R-IA)Graham (R-SC).  It is not clear as of this writing when this resolution will be passed and if there will be a recorded vote.

(SLAMMING SETTLEMENTS UNSCR & OBAMA ADMIN, NO MENTION OF 2SS) S. Res. 5:Introduced 1/3 by Moran (R-KS) and Roberts (R-KS), “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate in support of Israel.” The resolution slams the UN Security Council, calls for a policy of blocking/vetoing resolutions in the future, and leaves out any mention at all of support for two-state solution. Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Press release pre-introduction is here. More floor statement introducing the resolution is here.

(SLAMMING SETTLEMENTS UNSCR & OBAMA ADMIN, NO SUPPORT FOR 2SS) S. Res. XX: On 12/30, text was circulated in the Senate by the office of Sen. Ernst (R-IA), “Expressing the sense of the Senate and reaffirming longstanding United States policy for a direct, bilaterally negotiated settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and opposition to United Nations Security Council resolutions that could be viewed as anti-Israel, one-sided, or otherwise dictating parameters on the peace process.” This bill was not introduced and was effectively overtaken by S. Res. 6.

Bills & Resolutions Related to Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Efforts to amend the Jerusalem Embassy Act – by removing the president’s national security waiver and thereby compelling immediate relocation of the embassy – are not new. Indeed, S. 11 (below) is actually cut and pasted from legislation that first cropped up in 2009 (HR 3412HR 2475S. 2737), and then again in 2010 (S. Amdt. 3690 to HR 4872) and 2011 (HR 1006,S. 1622, as well as S. Amdt. 1137 to S. 1867). Before those, there was an effort in 1999 (HR 2584), and then a break, as Congress stopped pressing the issue during the entire 8 years that George W. Bush was president. In 2013, there was also HR 2846 and in 2014 there was HR 3629 (both repealing the waiver but not imposing financial sanctions on the State Department). And, for the record, nearly all of these efforts were bipartisan.

The difference this year, of course, is Trump. Under Clinton and Obama, members of Congress could engage in grandstanding on Jerusalem without much worry, knowing that Congressional leaders and/or the president would engage to prevent the legislation from being passed, and knowing that if somehow it were passed,  the president could have been counted on to veto it or declare it violation of the Executive’s constitutionally mandated foreign policy prerogative (like Bush’s signing statement on the law requiring the State Department to record the place of birth of Americans  born in Jerusalem as “Israel.”) Today, however, it is not at all clear that Trump would do either – and the fact that a Republican Congress is taking this up with a Republican White House, after giving Bush a pass on the issue for eight years, indicates the degree to which things are different today.

What does this mean for this legislation or legislation like it? On the one hand, it may be irrelevant, if Trump has already decided to move the embassy, so at worst this bill could represent an effort by some in Congress to corner him into going through with that decision (Trump would not be the first president to promise to move the embassy, then backtrack or stall on the issue). On the other hand, if Trump has not made such a decision, this legislation is quite likely more dangerous than in the past, since Trump thus far appears to have very little interest in the Constitution, and may well be less concerned than his predecessors about defending Executive prerogatives (meaning he might allow something like this to become law without understanding that he would have zero choice about complying).

(MOVE US EMBASSY, OR ELSE – AND EITHER WAY, CUT STATE DEPT FUNDS) S. 11: Introduced 1/3 by Heller (R-NV), Cruz (R-TX), Rubio (R-FL) and 4 other GOP senators, “the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act.” The bill would remove the waiver from the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, thus requiring the immediate moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Along the way, in FY17 it would block 50% of State Department funding available for construction and security of US embassies (basically a punitive sanction), and if the Embassy was not moved by the end of 2017, it would block 100% of such funds in FY18 and FY19 except for use to move the embassy (in effect, risking the security of embassies and the safety of US diplomats overseas in order to score political points on Jerusalem – ironic given the GOP’s expressions of outrage – and demand for accountability – regarding embassy/diplomat security as relates to Benghazi). Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Heller press release is here; Cruz presser is here. Free Beacon article about the measure is here.

(MOVE US EMBASSY) HR 257: Introduced 1/4 by Franks (R-AZ) and 2 GOP cosponsors, “To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer to Jerusalem the United States Embassy located in Tel Aviv.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Press release is here, entitled “Republican Members Introduce Legislation to Recognize Jerusalem as Undivided Capital of Israel.” Text is not online as of this writing but this appears to be another iteration of S.11, above.

(MOVE US EMBASSY) HR 265:  Introduced 1/4 by Lance (R-NJ), “To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to relocate to Jerusalem the United States Embassy in Israel, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Text is not online as of this writing but this appears to be another iteration of S.11, above.

Bills & Resolutions Related to Cutting Off UN Funding

In the wake of the UN Security Council’s adoption of the resolution criticizing Israel’s settlements enterprise, some members of both the House and Senate are calling for the UN to be punished, including by completely defunding it and all of its agencies.  To be clear: what they are threatening is to effectively destroy the entire UN system (something which some of them openly endorse as a goal in itself). And to be clear, in this case they are threatening to do so, not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of Israeli settlements. If these efforts pick up steam, it will be interesting to see if/when the Israeli government itself will weigh in, because while constantly railing against the UN is good politics for Israel, in reality participation in the UN system, including all of its various agencies, is critical to Israel’s own national security interests. And even if some members of Congress don’t seem to care much about the U.S. national security interests that would be affected by killing the UN and its agencies, maybe they will care when it is Israel that will be hurt.

On the issue of cutting funding to the UN, also see:  The Hill 1/4: Republicans prep bills to defund UN; Jerusalem Post 1/3: US Congress plans targeted legislation against Iran and the UN; CNN 12/28: Congress moving to cut US funding to UN in wake of anti-Israel vote; Washington Post 12/28: Inside the coming war between the United States and the United Nations; Free Beacon 12/28: Congress Moving to Cut U.S. Funding to U.N. in Wake of Anti-Israel Vote; Washington Times 12/27: U.N.’s anti-Israel vote fuels Republican calls to defund world body; Washington Examiner 12/23: Senators threaten UN funding cuts over Israel resolution

(CUT OFF FUNDING FOR THE UN) HR 311: Introduced 1/5 by Gohmert (R-TX), “To withhold United States assessed and voluntary contributions to the United Nations, and for other purposes.” On 1/5, Gohmert read the text of the bill on the House floor (here), including the bill’s short title, the “Refusing to Assist Paying for United Nations Actions Against Israel Act.”  The bill would bar any funding to the UN or any UN body (assessed or voluntary contributions) “ until such time as United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, regarding Israel’s Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is repealed in its entirety.”

(CUT OFF FUNDING TO UN) HR 249: Introduced 1/4 by Babin (R-TX) and no-cosponsors, “To prohibit United States voluntary contributions to the regular budget of the United Nations or any United Nations agency, and for other purposes .” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  Text of this measure is not yet online – analysis will follow in a future Round-Up, after text becomes available.

(CUT FUNDING TO UN) HR 264 – Introduced 1/4 by Lamborn (R-CO) and Franks (R-AZ)  “To prohibit the use of funds for assessed or voluntary contributions to the United Nations until the submission of certain reports on such funding, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Text of this measure is not yet online – analysis will follow in a future Round-Up, after text becomes available.

Bills & Resolutions Related Iran – AUMF & Sanctions

(AUMF AGAINST IRAN) H. J. Res. 10: Introduced 1/3 by Hastings (D-FL), “To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(EXPANDED/NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 15: Introduced 1/3 by Heller (R-NV), the “Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act.” Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Using Iran’s ballistic missile program as a hook, this bill would impose far-reaching sanctions on Iran and Iranian individuals. For further details, see this analysis from NIAC.

And coming soon, according to the Jerusalem Post:

Senior congressional aides[GOP]  say to expect a bill within weeks that would hike the tax rate and impose other penalties for companies doing business with Tehran.The bill will just be the first in a series that will test an international nuclear accord with Iran, which bans the US from imposing nuclear-related sanctions, but allows for the passage of additional non-nuclear sanctions against Iran’s malign activities in the region, its ballistic missile work and its human rights abuses. To that end, an additional bill under consideration would target the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support of Bashar Assad in SyriaA third would attempt to thwart major Boeing and Airbus deals with Iran’s main airline, which Republicans argue provides dual civilian and military use and facilitates the transfer of weapons to Tehran’s proxy organizations.

Congress Panders to AIPAC et al on Settlements UNSCR

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that on December 23, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution focused on Israel’s policy of building settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The text of that UNSCR was consistent with decades of US foreign policy and with text previously adopted in the Security Council under other U.S. presidents from both parties. Neither of these facts made any difference at all to AIPAC and other right-wing and right-leaning Jewish groups, who, in line with the hysterical reaction of the Netanyahu government, slammed the Obama Administration’s abstention on the measure. And likewise, neither of these facts appeared to make any difference to Congress, with a huge number of members issuing statements slamming the UNSCR and the Obama Administration (with so few exceptions they can be counted on one hand), and with action taken by the new Congress the instant it convened in Washington to attack the UN and the Administration and demand concrete consequences.

For the list of bills and resolutions related to this issue introduced (so far), see Section 1, above.

Below is the list of members who made statements on the UNSCR (and the subsequent speech by Secretary of State Kerry). Lists are in alphabetical order and reflect statements that were posted on Members websites. Other members may also have been made statements, but there is only so many hours immersed in researching this nastiness that one analyst can be expected to take. If you want more info on a specific member of Congress not listed below, try google.

Supporting the UNSCR/abstention – House: McCollum (D-MN)Price (D-NC)

Supporting the UNSCR/abstention – Senate: Feinstein (D-CA)Leahy (D-VT)

Opposing the UNSCR/abstention – House: Allan (R-GA)Bonamici (D-OR)Calvert (R-CA) and hereCicilline (D-RI)Chabot (R-OH)Coffman (R-CO)Cole (R-OK)Costello (R-PA)Culberson (R-TX),Crowley (D-NY), Deutch (D-FL), Donovan (R-NY)Emmer (R-MN)Engel (D-NY) and here, Fudge (D-OH),Gosar (R-AZ)Granger (R-TX) and here, Grothman (R-WI)Guthrie (R-KY), Harris (R-MD)Hastings (D-FL), Hill (R-AR)Hoyer (D-MD) and here, Johnson (R-TX)Johnson (R-OH)Jordan (R-OH)Lamborn (R-CO)Langevin (D-RI), Larson (D-CT), Lieu (D-CA), Lowenthal (D-CA), Lowey (D-NY), Maloney (D-NY),Marchant (R-TX)McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)Meng (D-NY), Murphy (R-PA), Nadler (D-NY), Pelosi (D-CA), Perry (R-PA)Rokita (R-IN)Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ross (R-FL), Rothfus (R-PA) and here, Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Royce (R-CA) and here, Ryan (R-WI) and here, Schrader (D-OR), Sherman (D-CA), Stivers (R-OH), Vargas (D-CA), Veasey (D-TX), Velazquez (D-NY), Walker (R-NC)Walokrski (R-IN)Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) (also here), Zeldin (R-NY) and here

Opposing the UNSCR/abstention – Senate: Blumenthal (D-CT), Boozman (R-AR), Booker (D-NJ),Brown (D-OH), Cardin (D-MD), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Cotton (R-AR)Cruz (R-TX) and here andhere, Gardner (R-CO), Gillibrand (D-NY), Graham (R-SC) and here, Grassley (R-IA), Johnson (R-WI),McCain (R-AZ), Menendez (D-NJ), Moran (R-KS) and here, Peters (D-MI), Portman (R-OH), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL)Sasse (R-NE), Stabenow (D-MI), Sullivan (R-AK) , Tillis (R-NC) and hereWyden (D-OR)

On the Kerry Speech:  Engel (D-NY) , Tillis (R-NC)Blumenthal (D-CT),  Scott (R-SC)Rubio (R-FL)Crux (R-TX)Cardin (D-MD), Wilson (R-SC), Pelosi (D-CA), Deutch (D-FL), Hoyer (D-MD)

Congress on David Friedman Nomination

Just before the end of the 114th Congress, President-Elect Trump announced his pick for the next U.S. ambassador to Israel: David Friedman. Friedman is Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer and played a visible and key role during the campaign apparently shaping candidate Trump’s positions on Israel-Palestine. In that role, he promoted views in line with his own longtime commitment to settlements and the Greater Israel agenda, most notably through his leadership in fundraising for the settlements , having raised over the years millions of dollars in tax-exempt donations for settlers.

Much has been written about Friedman’s views – but there is no reason to trust the media or policy advocates (like me). Rather, trust Friedman himself to tell you what he thinks. And to make that easier, we’ve compiled this collection of quotes from his articles and speeches, so people can better understand and judge Mr. Friedman’s views, relying entirely on his own words. This compilation, which is being updated as new quotes surface, is available online here and as a downloadable pdf here.

In the days and weeks since Trump’s named Friedman as his nominee for ambassador to Israel (Friedman cannot be formally nominated by Trump until Trump has actually been sworn in as president, and once he is nominated, he will have to be confirmed by the Senate – the fact that Friedman is already speaking as the putative next ambassador to Israel is, in fact, a slap in the face to the Senate that in the past would virtually have guaranteed problems in a confirmation hearing), a number of courageous members of Congress have spoken out to oppose or raise concerns about Friedman’s nomination:

Lieu (D-CA) 1/5: “Trump, who lost the popular vote, has nominated David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel – a person who rejects a two-state solution. I cannot in good conscience support Mr. Friedman and urge the United States Senate to not confirm him.”

Lowey (D-NY) 12/22: [Lowey oped – recommended reading] “David Friedman, President-elect Trump’s lawyer and advisor, has been nominated to be the next United States ambassador to Israel. His reported opposition to a “two-state solution” is problematic.

Lowenthal (D-CA) 12/21: “I’m very disappointed by President-elect Trump’s choice of David Friedman to be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. It is critical that our chief representative—dispatched to represent the United States and our interests in Israel—believes in peace and a two state solution. Mr. Friedman’s outspoken support of the increasing settlements while at the same time reprimanding supporters of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and J Street as being too liberal make him an unacceptable choice. The U.S. has been able to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the table in the past because we are seen as a neutral, fair, and objective arbiter. The choice of Mr. Friedman does damage to our credibility and makes peace more difficult.”

Sherman (D-CA) 12/21: “…Sherman made clear that while he supports the call by Friedman and by president-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the ambassador-designate’s rejection of a two-state solution should alarm senators when they debate his confirmation for the post.”

Cohen (D-TN) 12/20: “Israeli Amb must be a diplomat as he is like a fiddler on the roof. Reject #Friedman! Dangerous for 2-state solution & peace for #Israel.”

Gillibrand (D-NY) 12/20: Spokesman: “Senator Gillibrand has serious concerns about David Friedman’s nomination and will be looking to hear those concerns addressed during his confirmation hearings.”

Moore (D-WI) 12/16: “David Friedman, President-elect Trump’s choice for the position, was his bankruptcy lawyer and lacks any foreign policy experience. From his blind support for settlements in the West Bank and flagrant opposition to a two-state solution to his unconscionable and frighteningly casual use of holocaust imagery to vilify progressive American Jews, Mr. Friedman lacks the experience and temperament necessary to serve as our nation’s ambassador to Israel.”

Nadler (D-NY) 12/16: [Highly recommended to read entire statement] “…With the appointment of David Friedman, Donald Trump has continued the divisive politics that were regularly on display during his campaign.  As another in a series of extremists to be appointed to top positions within the Administration, Mr. Friedman’s radical hardline positions place him far outside the mainstream of both American and Israeli policy and of American Jewry.  His appointment is not only offensive to both American and Israeli Jews, it again signals the intent of Donald Trump and the Republicans who support him to align with extreme right-wing positions.  Mr. Friedman’s views break with one of the fundamental building blocks of U.S. and Israeli policy, jeopardizing the U.S.-Israel relationship going forward.”

Schakowsky (D-IL) 12/19: [Highly recommended to read entire statement] “David Friedman is wholly unfit and completely unqualified to serve as our country’s ambassador to Israel.

Yarmuth (D-KY) 12/16: “Donald Trump’s appointment of David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel is totally out of step with longstanding, bipartisan US foreign policy

On the Record on Other Things

Wagner (R-MO) 1/5: Our New Administration Will Support Israel

Poe (R-TX) 1/4: This State Department Betrays Israel

Moran (R-KS) 1/3: From his weekly newsletter, a section entitled “Standing With Israel”

McCarthy (R-CA) &Royce (R-CA) 1/2: Leader McCarthy and Chairman Royce Announce Vote Opposing Anti-Israel UN Resolution

Moran (R-KS) 12/30: Sen. Moran to Introduce Senate Resolution Disapproving of U.N. Action, Standing with Israel Delegation Visit to the Middle East

Larson (R-CT) 12/28: Larson Encouraged By Israel’s Proposal To Accept Refugees From Aleppo

Engel (D-NY) 12/23: Engel Statement on New Syria-Related Sanctions

Zeldin (R-NY) 12/21: Rep. Zeldin Meets With Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York

Johnson (R-WI) 12/20: Johnson Discusses Border Security with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Brat (R-VA) 12/20: Rep. Brat Invited as Keynote Speaker at Jerusalem Leaders Summit

Brady (R-TX) & Roskam (R-IL) 12/19: Brady, Roskam Send Letter Expressing Concern over Continued IRS Targeting of Pro-Israel Groups

Langevin (D-RI) & Ratcliffe (R-TX) 12/19: Langevin, Ratcliffe U.S.-Israel cybersecurity legislation signed into law

Heller (R-NV) 12/16: “I look forward to working with our new Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem”

Photo of UNSC vote on the settlements resolution by Manuel Elias courtesy of the UN

Lara Friedman

Lara Friedman is the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew.


One Comment

  1. Gotta keep those AIPAC affiliates’ donations coming in. After all, there’s an election in two years.

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