Lobby’s effort to exempt Israel from sequester gets ‘Israel first’-ers into the lexicon

Check out this piece in the Jerusalem Post. It notes my prediction that AIPAC could suffer a “backlash” if  aid to Israel is exempted from sequestration but says that the lobby is “doubling down” on achieving it. 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which opened its annual policy conference on Sunday, will take to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a morning of lobbying, including a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system. AIPAC will also promote legislation designating Israel a “major strategic ally,” a new alliance status that may help it keep its aid.

The lobbying agenda did not reference funding for joint missile defense programs, which the Pentagon will consider when divvying up its budget cuts. The other two lobbying agenda items will be devoted to legislation on Iran, one in the House, and one in the Senate.

It then added: “Some critics worried that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash.”

It is clear from the article that Israelis are worried about that backlash, almost as much as AIPAC is untroubled by it. It is hard to believe, but it’s a fact, that AIPAC and its associated lobbying organizations are far more hard line than even the Netanyahu government. AIPAC relishes going to war with a U.S. President because it is a show of macho power and helps fundraising efforts. The Israeli government, which has skin in what AIPAC considers a game, is more cautious. (Ultimately, the Long Islanders of AIPAC are safe regardless of what happens to Israel; they can always find another hobby. Israelis can’t.)

In any case, we need to exploit the nervousness Israel seems to be feeling about AIPAC’s sequester exemption. The special treatment for Israel that AIPAC is demanding is a metaphor for the whole US-Israel relationship but even more for AIPAC’s stranglehold over US policy. 

Naturally J Street is not opposed to exempting Israel as the Post article points out. It has red lines: its biggest one is never ever to seriously oppose AIPAC on anything. (Sometimes I wonder if AIPAC created J Street as a safe alternative to itself. It has turned out that way).

In any case. Let’s exploit the sequestration issue to (1) prevent AIPAC from taking money away from needy people here to give to the Israeli military and (2) to point out what AIPAC is. You fill in that blank. I’ve said it enough!

Editor: This piece appeared on MJ Rosenberg’s site today. Josh Ruebner has a related piece on the Israel lobby demanding that the country be exempt from sequestration at The Hill. Note that he refers to Israel firsters, the coinage that Rosenberg put in currency, over the lobby’s fierce opposition.

Yet, as thousands of “Israel-first” citizen lobbyists descend on Capitol Hill tomorrow as part of the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — the largest and most influential of the many groups comprising the “Israel lobby” — concern for these millions of Americans will not be on its legislative agenda. 

Instead, AIPAC will be lobbying to avert the impact of sequestration on record-breaking levels of U.S. military aid to Israel.

About M.J. Rosenberg

M.J. Rosenberg served as a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow with Media Matters Action Network, and prior to that worked on Capitol Hill for various Democratic members of the House and Senate for 15 years. He was also a Clinton political appointee at USAID. In the early 1980s, he was editor of AIPACs weekly newsletter Near East Report. From 1998-2009, he was director of policy at Israel Policy Forum. You can follow his work at mjayrosenberg.com.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 29 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. kudos to both mj and josh for highlighting the obvious:

    The special treatment for Israel that AIPAC is demanding is a metaphor for the whole US-Israel relationship but even more for AIPAC’s stranglehold over US policy.

    josh
    concern for these millions of Americans will not be on its legislative agenda.

    i recommend everyone opening and reading josh’s hill link. and sign kathleen’s petition!

    link to salsa.democracyinaction.org

  2. Nevada Ned says:

    This issue pits the Israel Lobby against the Pentagon, which is scheduled for budget cuts. The Pentagon has a LOT of clout, for lots of reasons.

    See this report from the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)

  3. quercus says:

    Toward the end of exempting Israel from the effects of sequestration, Representatives Ed Royce (R-California) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) are planning to introduce a bill making Israel a “Major Strategic Ally”. It seems no country in the past has ever received such a designation. This from Mitchell Plitnick at lobelog.com.

    • Sumud says:

      …Representatives Ed Royce (R-California) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) are planning to introduce a bill making Israel a “Major Strategic Ally”.

      This would be slightly ridiculous without a US-Israel treaty agreement, which currently does not exist.

      I wonder if the representatives can advise ONE thing Israel has ever done for the US, without resorting to flimsy motherhood statements.

  4. Ramzi Jaber says:

    Any change must start with Biden the zionist. USA stop colonializing the State of Palestine.

  5. American says:

    I think I’m switching my US-Isr efforts from begging my politicians to prevent certain things to sitting back and watching and hoping they become even more subservient to I Firstdom in such unfair and egregious ways as this.
    I don’t think they will ever stand up to the Lobby, so anything they do to force the US public to some kind of final O.K. Corrall shoot out on Israel and the Lobby is helpful in the sense of short term US pain vr the long term gain of getting rid of Israel and it’s Lobby completely and forever.

  6. Avi_G. says:

    Pop quiz:

    What state did the US government bail out first, California or Israel?

  7. Tzombo says:

    They’re gonna get it too: “Secretary Hagel is committed to working with members of Congress to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome, Arrow, and David’s Sling rocket and missile defense systems,” a U.S. defense official said.”
    link to reuters.com

    • seafoid says:

      “including a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system
      Secretary Hagel is committed to working with members of Congress to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome, Arrow, and David’s Sling rocket and missile defense systems”‘

      Imagine if American politicians cared as much about Detroit. But of course Detroit is just full of poor people who don’t own casinos in Macau.

  8. Interesting thought: did Aipac create J-Street? The Bolsheviks created “anti-Bolshevik” groups.

  9. Bravo to MJ for noting that Aipac’s stranglehold on US policy toward Israel/Palestine is growing.

  10. Hostage says:

    It then added: “Some critics worried that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash.”

    What exactly does the JPost mean to imply about the standing of the State of Israel when it says “the rest of the US”? That’s chutzpah!

    • lysias says:

      If Israel is a part of the U.S., it is a part of the U.S. that is not obliged to practice separation of church and state or equal protection.

    • Eva Smagacz says:

      No Hostage, it’s Freudian slip.
      You know, Israel is Alaska, and Israelis are Inuit and Yupic, a bit strange in habits, somewhat isolating themselves in their communities, but to be defended with American blood….. actually, I take it all back – its a lousy attempt at analogy, and really offensive to Inuit and Yupic.

    • Les says:

      The rest of the US is the mere 99% that does not support the Israel Lobby represented so effectively by their overwhelming 1%, most notably, doing the promos from the uppermost levels of our print and broadcast media.

    • American says:

      ”Some critics worried that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash.”

      In my newly revised mental zone it would be a positive if Israel got exempted. The more they take the better.
      Americans need that ‘nothing left to lose’ feeling to get a revolution going…so speed up the looting would ya Israel.

  11. dbroncos says:

    “AIPAC relishes going to war with a U.S. President because it is a show of macho power and helps fundraising efforts.”

    Not to mention sending American kids to war for Israel with American taxpayers footing the bill.

  12. American says:

    link to turcopolier.typepad.com

    05 March 2013

    New FBI surveillance video release reopens IAI Nozette espionage question–IRmep

    New FBI counterespionage surveillance video release reopens concerns about Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. On March 21, 2012 U.S. prosecutors played FBI surveillance video in court of former NASA employee Stewart Nozette agreeing to sell U.S. government secrets to Israel. Nozette was then sentenced to thirteen years in prison. The FBI surveillance video, obtained by IRmep under the Freedom of Information Act, is now available on YouTube and Vimeo. An imperfect redaction reveals Nozette appearing to say he sold classified U.S. government information to “Israeli Aircraft,” also known as Israel Aerospace Industries and IAI.

    YouTube: link to youtu.be

    Vimeo: link to vimeo.com

    In 2007 the FBI obtained a sealed warrant to search Nozette’s home. They discovered a huge cache of classified U.S. government files unlawfully stored on Nozette’s computer. One document named “Proposed Activities for 2005-6″ ominously contained a section titled “Penetration of NASA” on behalf of a foreign client. The FBI soon discovered that between 1998 and 2008 a nonprofit run by Nozette received $225,000 in “consulting fees” from Israel Aerospace Industries. IAI tasked Nozette to obtain “technical data” beginning in November of 1998. Nozette complied with IAI’s requests in exchange for “regular payments” according to criminal complaints filed in court. In the 1950s the state-owned IAI was established and led by Adolph “Al” Schwimmer, an American felon convicted for serially violating U.S. arms export controls. Schwimmer fraudulently obtained heavily discounted surplus U.S. aircraft from the War Assets Administration. In the 1960s IAI obtained stolen French Mirage 5 jet fighter plans in order to build its own copycat Kfir jet fighter. In the 1980s IAI relied on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to win U.S. funding for the development of the troubled Lavi jet fighter. The Lavi program was terminated in 1987 after questionable Israeli technology transfers to China. The U.S. has paid for half of the jointly developed IAI/Boeing Arrow Anti-Missile system since 1988. Since 2007 the AIPAC has lobbied for hundreds of millions in additional U.S. taxpayer funding for the new Arrow III, beyond the $3 billion in military aid already provided to Israel annually. Today AIPAC DC convention attendees will lobby Congress against cutting under sequestration any funding to IAI or other aid to Israel. On May 4, 2012 US Attorney Ron Machen was confronted on WAMU radio (YouTube) for officially stating no classified information was passed by Nozette to Israel.

    YouTube: link to youtube.com

    This was contradicted by court filings and now surveillance video. Machen could not credibly explain why the Justice Department limited its criminal investigation to only Nozette. IRMEP

  13. Citizen says:

    The subject of cutting foreign aid came up a number of times on CSPAN WJ this morning as callers wanted it cut to use the funds at home to help needy Americans. The only country mentioned was Egypt. Various congressmen-guests responded to the callers, saying congress was well aware of the grass roots demand to cut foreign aid. They did not justify the aid, except to point out it was only 1% of federal spending. They did not explain why Egypt just got foreign aid. Nor did they point out which foreign state gets the biggest chunk of foreign aid–every year. Nor did they mention the bill moving in congress to exempt Israel from any cuts in foreign aid.

  14. American says:

    Evidently what Walter Pincus at the WP stumbled on last year about the US building Israel some kind of command center is true. The contract for it was let last month. So you can add this extra hundred million+ to the many other not counted aid give aways to Israel.
    A command center for Israel blessed by rabbis——scores of US vets homeless….scores of poor US children whose free school lunches are cut.
    Ready for a second Amer. Revolution yet?

    Why Is The US Spending Hundreds Of Millions On These Secret Israeli Bunkers?
    Robert Johnson | Mar. 7, 2013, 1:50 AM | 50,721 | 46

    Last year it was announced the U.S. was looking to build a secret underground complex in Israel. On February 13 a contract was awarded to Conti Corp Federal Services in Edison, NJ to complete the project.

    Their bid of almost $63 million came in well below the possible $100 million set aside for the project.

    Conti’s bid went toward building five underground levels and six above ground buildings that they have 900 days from February 13 to complete.

    The U.S. government then issued another request for proposal December 28 to construct Site 81 Phase II. Also in Israel, also partially underground, this project calls for up to $100,000,000 to refinish six underground facilities and some currently occupied surface buildings.

    Walter Pincus from the Washington Post fleshed out the original Proposal construction project, called Site 911 in November.

    That nearly $63 million project awarded to Conti can be built only by workers from specific countries with proper security clearances.

    When complete the well-guarded compound will have five levels buried underground and six additional outbuildings on the above grounds, within the perimeter. At about 127,000 square feet, the first three floors will house classrooms, an auditorium, and a laboratory — all wedged behind shock resistant doors — with radiation protection and massive security.

    Only one gate will allow workers entrance and exit during the project and that will be guarded by only Israelis.

    The bottom two floors are smaller, according to the full line of schematics uploaded to the Army’s Acquisition Business Web Site, and possibly used for equipment and storage.

    As impressive as the American design features already are, Ada Karmi-Melamede Architects will decorate the entire site with rocks it chooses, but are paid for by the contractor, and provide three outdoor picnic tables.

    Pincus also found this detailed description of the mezuzahs that will adorn every door in the facility:

    These mezuzas, notes the [US Army] Corps, “shall be written in in-erasable ink, on . . . un-coated leather parchment” and be handwritten by a scribe “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.” The writing may be “Ashkenazik or Sepharadik” but “not a mixture” and “must be uniform.”

    Also, “The Mezuzahs shall be proof-read by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually proof-read for the form of the letters by a proof-reader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate.” The mezuza shall be supplied with an aluminum housing with holes so it can be connected to the door frame or opening. Finally, “All Mezuzahs for the facility shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”

    Pincus finds the “complex facility with site development challenges” requiring services that include “electrical, communication, mechanical/ HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] and plumbing” requirements telling; and along with the fact that the contractor must posses a U.S. or Israeli Secret Security Clearance, he believes this phase to be a secure command center.

    Pulitzer Prize winning, Yale grad, born in 1932 whose worked intelligence and media in D.C. since 1955 closes his piece with these shadowy words.

    “The purpose of Site 911 is [un] clear.” Our calls to the project leader for Site 81, Michael Pearson, sent us to a disconnected number and we are awaiting an email reply.”

    Read more: link to businessinsider.com

  15. American says:

    Maybe we should start a patriotic homeland movement for Americans to invest in US Treasury bonds.

    State of Ohio purchase $42 million in Israel Bonds

    Jewish Telegraphic Agency-1 hour ago
    (JTA) — The state of Ohio has purchased $42 million in Israel Bonds, increasing the total amount of Israel Bonds in the state’s treasury portfolio

    link to jpost.com
    Miami Jewish Federation eyes investments in Israel
    By SAM SOKOL
    03/04/2013 02:54

    Endowments could boost economy to tune of hundreds of millions of dollars after organization plans to infuse funds.
    shekel and dollar exchange Photo: REUTERS
    The Jewish Federation of Greater Miami has a plan to infuse Israel’s economy with tens of millions of dollars from the investment funds and endowments of the various federations, trusts and charities that constitute the organized American Jewish community. To tap into the more than $15 billion held by the various investment funds belonging to the regional organizations that constitute the Jewish Federations of North America.’’

    Pennsylvania Treasury Department increases investment in Israel …
    link to pjvoice.com

    Nearly $50 million investment supports Israel’s economic momentum. The Pennsylvania Treasury Department recently increased its investment in Israel Bonds

    FM Steinitz, Comedian Howie Mandel Highlight Israel Bonds Dinner
    The Jewish Voice-Feb 6, 2013
    Keynote Speaker, Israeli Finance Minister Steinitz at Israel Bonds dinner … He added that an investment in bonds represents “freedom,

    Minnesota Battle Over Israeli Bonds | Consortiumnews
    consortiumnews.com/2012/03/…/minnesota-battle-over-israeli-bonds/Cached
    You +1
    Mar 31, 2012 – Boycott From Within is one of three organizations and 24 individuals …. 1) the investment in the Israeli bond market by the State government of …

    State of Israel Bonds – Ottawa PlanitJewish.com organizations.all
    ottawa.planitjewish.com/jp/organizations?…organizations.all…Cached – Similar
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    By investing in Israel Bonds, you are helping to build your family’s financial future and the future of the people of Israel. State of Israel Bonds is an organization

    re-commitment to State of Israel bonds – Office of the New York City …
    link to comptroller.nyc.gov
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Aug 13, 2010 – “Supporting the State of Israel through investment is a continuation New York … “The Bonds organization and the entire Jewish community are…

    Israel Bonds of Dade & Broward Counties – Greater Miami Jewish …
    jewishmiami.org/…/israel_bonds_of_dade__broward_counties
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Category, Local/Regional Office of a National Organization. Organization Name, Israel Bonds of Dade & Broward Counties. Description, Investing in Israel

    State of Israel Bonds – Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
    http://www.jfedpgh.org › Community DirectoryCached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    State of Israel Bonds. … Suggest an organization Advanced Search … Since its creation in 1951, Israel Bonds has secured $32 billion in investment capital to

    State of Israel Bonds – The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans
    http://www.jewishnola.com › Community DirectoryCached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    State of Israel Bonds is an organization that sponsors many community events for the … Israel Bonds are rated “Investment Grade” by both Moody’s (A2) and …

    Israel Bonds involved in ‘everything’ – The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
    link to jewishchronicle.org
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Israel Bonds involved in ‘everything’ that gives Israel its quality of life … But the bonds are also “a good investment, better than most others in this day … And Moshe Katz, general chair of Wisconsin’s State of Israel Bonds organization,

    Southern California Iranian Jews Investing in Israel Bonds | Jewish …
    http://www.jewishjournal.com/…/southern_california_iranian_jews_investi…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Southern California Iranian Jews Investing in Israel Bonds. Posted by … Iranian Jewish SIAMAK organization honored by BGU for “Project Jacob”.

    The Annual Israel Bonds Ambassador’s Gala — Gather the Jews
    http://www.gatherthejews.com/…/the-annual-israel-bonds-ambassadors-gala…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Jun 5, 2012 – Jason talks about speakers and guests at the annual Israel Bonds gala. … growth over the years through their investment of our Homeland. … He’s spoken at seemingly every Jewish/Israel organization in the past two months.

    Israel Bonds Raises Record-Breaking $225 Million at Miami Gathering
    jewishvoiceny.com › Local › FloridaCached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Jan 25, 2012 – Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz attended the annual Israel Bonds … 1951 and “proved itself as an organization that reacts rapidly to an increase in … “I urge every Jew in the United States to invest in Israel,” stated Steinitz.

    Record $20 Million Raised at Israel Bonds Insurance Luncheon
    jewishvoiceny.com › Local › New YorkCached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Oct 17, 2012 – A record-breaking $20 million in Israel bond investments was raised at the … Praised for consistency and dependability, the Bonds organization

    Israel Bonds Raises over $30 Million from Labor Division
    http://www.jewishpost.com/…/Israel-Bonds-Raises-over-30-Million-from-la…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    So much so that the Labor Division of Israel Bonds raised the most money … have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Israel Bonds over the years. … the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, were allowed a platform

    Israel Bonds Raises $70 Million at Annual Real Estate Division …
    http://www.algemeiner.com › BlogsCached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Nov 7, 2011 – “Israel always faces danger,” said Israel Bonds New York Executive Director David Pasternak. “Bonds help build infrastructure…invest at any

    Israel Bonds recognizes contributors at annual event
    m.carrollcountytimes.com/…/israel-bonds…/article_a722803e-7813-5…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Jun 13, 2012 – Israel Bonds of Maryland hosted its annual chairman’s report and … of Israel Bonds, updated everyone of the statutes of this organization…”

    Since the Israel bond program has been in existence since 1948 it is impossible to know how much US Jews have invested in Israel government bonds.

  16. American says:

    US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation : Boston-area …
    http://www.endtheoccupation.org › … › Boycott & Divestment in ActionCached

    According to one source, 9,500 pension funds, 3,500 banks, 1,500 labor organizations and 500 insurance companies in the US have invested in Israel Bonds.

    Title: US Pension Funds to Israel – Guaranteed by US Govt
    US Pension Funds invested in Israel – Guaranteed by US Government.

    … At Berkeley, the hot topic was a bill in the California state legislature to permit state employees’ and state teachers’ pension funds to invest in Israeli bonds guaranteed by the U.S. government. At that point the bill had been passed by the California State Assembly, and the Senate was expected to take up the issue sometime in September. It is only one part of an effort by the government of Israel’s lobby in the United States to move some of the ever-increasing aid to Israel out of the federal budget, where it is becoming a real issue, into investments in Israel bonds by the huge state government pension funds. By turning such funds, from many different U.S. states and cities, into a major source of aid to Israel, its U. S. Lobby hopes to defuse a potentially explosive issue. …

    Whether or not this effort will succeed will depend on the amount the American public learns about the purchase of Israeli bonds by the widely scattered pension funds. Already, some 12 states have authorized this new means of financing Israeli deficits, which are mounting and are no more likely to be repaid than Israel’s direct debts to the U.S. government. (Israel has never repaid a loan from the U.S. government. All, eventually, have been forgiven by the U.S. Congress.)

    Since in the end these bonds issued by Israel will be the responsibility of the American government if Israel is unable to repay them, it makes little difference whether the aid to Israel is voted by Congress or authorized by the state legislatures, which control state pension funds. Either way, U.S. taxpayers ultimately will foot the bill. …

    No other country has such access to U.S. pension funds, and Israel is hardly the best risk. Japanese, German or other bonds from industrialized nations have had far better in vestment ratings. But the key to Israeli access to the funds has been that these formerly extremely risky Israeli bonds now are guaranteed by the U.S. government.

    No U.S. state or municipal bonds carry such U.S. government guarantees, of course.

    link to wrmea.com
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    California pension fund reveals vital info on Israeli VCs

    … The California state employees pension fund CalPERS issued an investment report over the weekend after repeated demands from members and the press, and the report offered a first look at the usually secret investment reports of private Israeli venture capital funds in which CalPERS is invested.
    The report is based on fund managers’ reports through September 30, 2002. Fund managers guard the confidentiality of the figures zealously, some, apparently for good reason. …

    link to haaretz.com…SubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

    link to calpers.ca.gov….estments/reports/home.xml
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  17. American says:

    Boggles the mind doesn’t it?

    Investing money in the ‘government debt bonds” of a foreign country that according to the 2009 CIA Country Report ‘still isn’t’ *self supporting* and is still dependent on foreign aid and always involved in conflicts and is always trying to start regional war that could ruin it.

    And then the US taxpayer guaranteeing those bonds if Israel fails.

    There are no grounds for anyone to object to describing Israel and their agents in the US as parasites…that is exactly what they are.

  18. American says:

    CNI alert…

    Council for the National Interest Foundation

    Dear Friend:

    This is an urgent call to action.

    The Israel Lobby has narrowed its sights on three pieces of legislation. Predictably, the bills are not in America’s best interest.

    But these initiatives are far worse-more dangerous-than in recent years.

    The Lobby is demanding full funding for Israel’s war machine. They want to be exempt from sequestration-the mandatory reduction of all federal expenditures. Social Security payments are undergoing cuts. FBI expenditures are being reduced. Education Department services are decreasing. What about trimming the $3.2 billion in American military aid to Israel? Not one dime if the Israel Lobby gets its way. While not a specific bill, they are lobbying Congress for subtle changes to its sequestration statutes and procedures so Israel’s military pipeline to American tax dollars will not be affected.

    Please tell your Representative [ link to congress.org ] that Americans are shouldering too much in the tax-and-spend adjustments; making an exception for aid to Israel is adding insult to injury.

    New legislation is in the works that would make Israel a “major strategic ally,” a privileged relationship that no other nation enjoys. The bill, H.R. 938 United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013, was introduced in the House by Ileana, a Republican and Ted Deutch, a Democrat, both from Florida. It would also protect aid to Israel from any future across-the-board budget cuts.

    The legislation will make permanent a number of Washington-Tel Aviv interactions including annual defense assistance, military technology, energy research, and cyber security. It also calls for Israel to join the program that waives pre-arranged visas for select nationals entering the United States. Israel’s espionage activities [ link to councilforthenationalinterest.org ] are well-documented: lowering of visa standards can only lead to more infiltration. This bill creates a relationship that even Canada and Great Britain, who fought alongside American soldiers in WWII, do not enjoy.

    Please t [ link to congress.org ]ell your Representative [ link to congress.org ] that Americans want a fair foreign policy [ link to councilforthenationalinterest.org ] that encourages peace and justice in the Middle East. The history of our Israel first policies has crippled US strategic, economic, diplomatic, and humanitarian activities in that vital region of the world.

    Finally, there is the continuing threat of war with Iran. It has now gone one step beyond saber rattling. A new bill, HR 850, introduced by the influential House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-CA and supported by ranking Democrat Eliot L. Engel of New York would extend existing sanctions targeting Iran’s energy and financial transactions to include an even broader range of its commerce with the rest of the world. Several senators are working on a measure that is expected to be even more expansive. Dare we push Iran to the brink-is it wise to gamble on US military intervention in a deadly Israel-Iran war?

    Please tell your Representative [ link to congress.org ] to take a step back, to put some space between a stable, sane foreign policy and the path to an all-out war. And make no mistake about it: if it comes to military action, Iran will not be fought in a series of skirmishes [ link to councilforthenationalinterest.org ].