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The Daily TIP: Senate Committee Passes Bipartisan Sanctions Bill to Counter Iran's "Rogue Behavior"

Posted by Tip Staff - May 25, 2017

Senate Committee Passes Bipartisan Sanctions Bill to Counter Iran's "Rogue Behavior"
New Report Reveals Massive Link Between BDS, Iran Deal Funding
Study: Palestinian Authority Paid Over $1 Billion to Terrorists in 4 Years
Israel to Host Int'l Lacrosse, Basketball Championships

Senate Committee Passes Bipartisan Sanctions Bill to Counter Iran's "Rogue Behavior"

A bipartisan bill targeting Iran's escalating "rogue behavior," including its continued ballistic missile program, its support of terror, its shipment of conventional weapons and human rights abuses, passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday by an overwhelming 18-3 vote, and now heads to the full Senate.

The Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which was introduced by Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R - Tenn.) in March, now has 48 co-sponsors.

Following passage of the bill in committee, Corker called it a "first step in finally holding Iran accountable for their non-nuclear destabilizing activities." He added, "Iran’s rogue behavior has only escalated since implementation of the agreement,and this bipartisan bill approved by the committee today will give the Trump administration additional tools for holding Tehran accountable. It also sends an important signal that the U.S. will no longer look the other way in the face of continued Iranian aggression. I am proud of the strong bipartisan momentum behind this effort and will push for timely consideration on the Senate floor.”

“Today’s committee approval of this bipartisan legislation brings us one step closer to finally ensuring Iran’s leaders understand they do not enjoy blanket impunity as the United States continues to live up to its commitments under the JCPOA,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D - N.J.).

"As the Administration continues to review its Iran policy, Congress must set out clear markers that impose real consequences to Iran’s illicit behavior that runs counter to our national security and that of our allies in the region. I will work diligently with my colleagues so this important legislation is swiftly taken up by the full Congress and sent to the President’s desk for his signature,” he added.

“Advancing this bipartisan bill sends a clear message to Iran that our nation will work to counter its aggression in the places like Syria and Yemen, its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah, its development of ballistic missile technology, and its serial violations of human rights," said Sen. Bob Casey (D - Penn.), who supported the nuclear deal two years ago.

“Iran is contributing to regional instability and has not demonstrated any interest in rejoining the community of responsible nations by halting its malign behavior. Today’s bipartisan Committee passage of Iran legislation underscores Congress’ role in articulating a roadmap for pushing back on Iran’s aggressive actions,” said Sen Ben Cardin (D - Md.) the Ranking Member on the committee.

New Report Reveals Massive Link Between BDS, Iran Deal Funding

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given major grants in recent years to groups that call for boycotts of Israel and support the nuclear deal with Iran, Armin Rosen reported Wednesday in Tablet Magazine.

Founded in 1940 by David Rockefeller and his four brothers, the fund is one of the most famous family foundations in America. Under the leadership of president Stephen Heintz, RBF decided in 2011 to remake its "peacebuilding" program and focus on Afghanistan, U.S.-Iranian relations, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then it has donated funds to groups in the Middle East, where it believes it can have the most impact.

In 2011, RBF started funding Hebrew University, Just Vision and Breaking the Silence. The latter two groups primarily blame Israel for the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Following a trip by RBF's board to Israel and the West Bank in 2014, the fund accelerated its support of groups that back the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

In 2015, RBF gave a two-year grant of $140,00 to Jewish Voice for Peace, which promotes BDS. “It’s not just RBF. The R stands for Rockefeller,” observed Rebecca Vilkomerson, the executive director of JVP. “It’s an indicator of an increasing acceptance of our political position in the broader world,” she said. “From that perspective, it was an important moment for us to have a foundation like RBF to begin to fund us.”

RBF distributes some $33 million annually all around the world, but "at least $880,000 in RBF funding has also gone to groups working to advance a boycott of the world’s only Jewish state," Rosen observed.

RBF has also played a role in promoting the nuclear deal with Iran. Since Heintz took over as president of RBF in 2001, the fund has looked to improve the relationship between Washington and Tehran. Heintz was instrumental in implementing informal talks between U.S. and Iranian citizens, called "track-two diplomacy," beginning in 2002.

RBF also gave $4.4 million to the Ploughshares Fund, which was a central funder of the media "echo chamber" created by the Obama administration to build support for the nuclear deal.

Heintz has chosen to continue funding pro-BDS organizations despite multiple complaints to the board, including from former undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns, an RBF trustee who resigned over the fund's support of pro-BDS groups. Shurat Hadin warned RBF last year that its support for pro-BDS groups could put it in legal jeopardy.

Rosen observed that it is ironic that RBF supports groups that promote boycotts of Israel when David Rockefeller, beginning in 1951, "served as the Israeli government’s U.S. fiscal agent for State of Israel bonds." As chairman of Chase Bank in 1964, Rockefeller also refused to give into the threat of an Arab League boycott.

Study: Palestinian Authority Paid Over $1 Billion to Terrorists in 4 Years

The Palestinian Authority issued payments to terrorists and their families totaling more than $1 billion over a four year period, according to a recent study by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The sum accounts for seven percent of the PA's budget and is equivalent to 20 percent of the foreign aid the PA receives annually.

The payments are written into PA law, which declares that the prisoners --- who are often convicted of security offenses --- are “a fighting sector and an integral part of the weave of Arab Palestinian society,” and guarantees “the financial rights of the prisoner and his family." Prisoners consequently receive a significant payment while incarcerated, as well as jobs or salaries upon their release. The time they served behind bars also counts toward their seniority in PA institutions.

A prisoner who completed a five-year sentence or longer is entitled to a civil service job in the PA. As longer sentences result in greater authority and better pay, it means that Palestinians incarcerated for more serious crimes, including terror, are rewarded more generously.

The PA's 2016 budget allocated 488.4 million shekels (about $128 million) for salaries to imprisoned terrorists and released prisoners, according to the report. In addition, payments to families of "martyrs" --- which include Palestinians killed while carrying out terror attacks --- totaled 663.6 million shekels (about $175 million). Overall, the PA paid 1.152 billion shekels (about $303 million) in terror related payments in 2016.

"This equals about seven percent of the overall budget and almost 30 percent of the projected foreign aid, most of which goes to the general budget," the report stated. "2.925 billion shekels out of the 3.881 billion in foreign aid go to the general budget and salaries to terrorists and families amount to almost 40 percent of the aid directed to the general budget."

Earlier this month, Nabil Shaath, an advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, defied President Donald Trump's call to end the payments to terrorists, calling the notion "insane."

Despite Shaath's dismissal, Trump reiterated his disapproval of the practice during his joint appearance with Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday. "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded," he said.

Israel to Host Int'l Lacrosse, Basketball Championships

Israel was just announced as the host of the World Lacrosse Championship in July 2018, to take place at Netanya Stadium.

The sport’s premier competition is expected to draw athletes from 50 countries and more than 5,000 fans from all over the world.

Israel’s national lacrosse team took second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent world championship in 2014.

Lacrosse is growing fast in Israel, with eight divisions and hundreds of players participating, according to the Israel Lacrosse Association, a nonprofit organization that represents Israel in the international and European federations. The women’s European Championships will take place in Israel in 2019.

“The success of Israel lacrosse internationally, that sees us ranked seventh in the world, and the domestic infrastructure we’ve established at grassroots level here in Israel, put us in good standing when submitting our bid to host the FIL World Championships and we’re delighted to showcase our country, our facilities, and the spirit of Israel to the world,” said Scott Neiss, executive director of the Israel Lacrosse Association.

Meanwhile, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced that Israel will host a EuroBasket European basketball championship for the first time ever, from August 31 to September 17, 2017.

Israel’s national team – captained by Minnesota Timberwolves NBA player Omri Caspi — will then get ready for the home-court FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers in November. Its first-round opponents will be Great Britain, Greece and a country to be determined in pre-qualifiers.

(via Israel21c)

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