Daily TIP

Democrats and Republicans express support for Israel, U.S.-Israel alliance

Posted by Albert Gersh - March 22, 2016


In a show of bipartisan support, prominent Republicans, including all three remaining presidential candidates, as well as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) expressed their strong support for the state of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship at the AIPAC Policy Conference on Tuesday. Gov. John Kasich said, “I applaud our continuing legacy of support for the Jewish state” and condemned the Palestinian “culture of hatred and death.” Republican front-runner Donald Trump stated, “When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars. In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews - we can't let this continue. You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) made clear the strategic importance of the relationship: “Whether it is missile defense from Iron Dome to David's Sling, or whether it is intelligence and military cooperation, Israel provides an enormous benefit to keeping America safe and protecting us from radical Islamic terrorists.”

Senator Menendez, who voted against the Iran deal, thundered against the agreement which, he said, “provides Iran with a $100 billion windfall of new capital to increase its conventional forces, fortify its proxies, further destabilize the region, and find a back-door method of accelerating the timeframe for which it could breakout and build a nuclear weapon.” He said that he would “introduce legislation that fills the empty space left by the JCPOA that lets Iran continue its hegemonic behavior” and urged his listeners to speak with members of both congressional houses to authorize the Iran Sanctions Act, which he wrote. Menendez also called for sanctioning the actual banks “that help finance [Iran’s] ballistic missile program rather than play whack-a-mole with 11 [sanctioned] front men.”

In a speech from Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences for the terrorist attacks in Brussels and said, “The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks in Israel – this is one continuous assault on all of us.” He praised the U.S.-Israel relationship, which extends to the people of those nations: “Year after year, the overwhelming majority of Americans stand with Israel…They know that Israel is an island of liberty and democracy, that Israel must never be an issue that divides Americans, but a great cause of liberty that unites Americans.” Also in his speech, Netanyahu said that he was ready to immediately begin negotiations with the Palestinians with no preconditions.

In the absence of action by the United Nations Security Council, the United States must impose unilateral sanctions on Iran for its illicit ballistic missile tests in October, Democratic congressmen Joseph Kennedy (D – R.I.) and Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) wrote in an op-ed published Friday in The Times of Israel. Deutch is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.
If the Security Council refuses to take action against these repeated violations, it is time for the United States to increase unilateral sanctions on Iran. More pressure is needed on those who aid and abet Iran’s illicit ballistic missile program, on the persons that facilitate the transfer of ballistic missile technology and on the entities that transfer funds for Iranian procurement.
The lawmakers also called on Congress to pass the Zero Tolerance for Terror Act, a bipartisan measure which they introduced in January. “[The] bill would allow Congress to quickly consider and impose new sanctions without procedural delay if Iran commits acts of terror that threaten American interests, provides support for terrorist organizations that do the same, or acquires ballistic missile technology in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” Kennedy and Deutch explained. The congressmen added that the “new sanctions would be outside the scope of the nuclear deal and would not give the Government of Iran any cause to back away from its commitments under the JCPOA.” They further pointed out that the act is backed by members of Congress who both supported and opposed the nuclear deal with Iran.

While Russia is continuing to block any efforts to impose U.N. sanctions on Iran, Reuters reported Thursday that the U.S. and its European allies intend to present a “technical” case to the Security Council explaining how the missiles tests violate Security Council resolutions.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R – N.H.) introduced legislation on Thursday to target the sectors of Iran’s economy that support its ballistic missile program. The measure is backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Ky.), which could ensure that it is taken up quickly. “Tough words alone will not deter the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism from continuing to develop its ballistic missile program,” said Ayotte. (via TheTower.org)

The first sustainable farming initiative leveraging Israel’s pioneering research and innovation in water technology will begin this spring at Conaway Ranch in Woodland, California. The goal of the novel project is to reduce the vast amount of water ordinarily used in growing rice. “We believe this initiative represents the first use of drip irrigation in the US for a rice crop,” said Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, president and chief executive officer of Conaway Preservation Group, owner of the 17,000-acre Conaway Ranch in north-central California. “We couldn’t ask for better partners: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research and Netafim USA, the world’s leading drip-irrigation manufacturer, both of which have experience growing rice in arid regions,” he said upon announcing the project at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 20. “This effort could serve as a model for other farms and potentially save hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water in California if widely adopted.” As California’s farmers continue to seek solutions for the ongoing drought, this project will test whether Netafim’s Israeli-engineered subsurface drip-irrigation method — a series of pipes delivering water directly to the root zone – can help them grow more rice while using less water and fertilizer as it has in other Netafim USA pilots in various parts of the world. (via Israel21c)

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