Overall Philosophy of the U.S. - Israel Relationship
A close relationship between the U.S. and Israel is vital to the national security of both nations. Israel is, and has proven time and time again to be, America's only true and trusted ally in the Middle East; it is a relationship that must always remain strong and mutually supportive. Our values, culture, and vital interests are aligned. Israel joins us in leading the struggle against terrorism, sharing intelligence, assisting homeland security and other agencies, and battle testing and adapting U.S. military equipment to best support U.S. forces in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition, both nations seek an enforceable, lasting peace including the Jewish state of Israel and all of Israel's neighbors living in freedom and prosperity. Ensuring Israel is secure and strong helps keep America safe.
In addition, the U.S.-Israel relationship should be enhanced in every possible way, including trade, economic development, educational exchanges, partnerships in research, and cooperation in technology, medicine, agriculture, and communications.
As close friends and allies, it concerns me when differences occur between the administrations of both nations; President Obama has sometimes chosen to air those differences publicly through the media rather than in private as two friends would normally function. Every time the President has publicly criticized Israel, and many times unduly so or with faulty information, it has provided an excuse for the Palestinian Authority and other Arab nations to take a step away from the negotiating table. This vital relationship must be treated with the utmost respect, and the strength of that relationship must not waver.
Supporting and protecting the state of Israel was something I took a lead role on during my previous tenure in Congress, and I will renew this leadership role once again when I return to Washington.
As I displayed during my previous time in Congress my support for a durable, strong U.S.-Israel relationship has been unwavering. I was an early and strong supporter of issues that were vital to ensuring Israel's security and its survival. I not only voted for those matters that supported Israel, I led legislation such as a bill to end aid should the Palestinian Authority unilaterally declare a state. I was proud to co-sponsor resolutions and letters to the Administration in support of direct talks in the peace process, opposing the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, and supporting the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. I was an early supporter and co-sponsor of legislation which noted the threat of Iran's missile and nuclear program, and I have been a consistent supporter of foreign aid for Israel which is vital to its survival. I led legislation to call on the Palestinian Authority to transfer to the U.S. terrorists who have murdered Americans. This issue is close to my heart and I was not just a supporter but a leader and originator of pro-Israel legislation.
I have traveled to Israel on four different occasions, and learned firsthand the challenges and threats that Israel faces on a daily basis.
I am the only candidate running for this office who has a lengthy record of unwavering support for Israel. I will be effective immediately when I return to Congress, since I have vast experience on these issues and have kept current on today's challenges to Israel. Now is not the time for someone who needs an extensive learning curve. The foreign policy issues facing both our countries are immense, and we will need knowledgeable leadership immediately, as demonstrated by the rising threat of Iran, which is many steps closer to securing nuclear weaponry.
Stance Regarding Iran
The threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons must be dealt with NOW, as Iran's success would be catastrophic to the world. Iran has refused to abide by IAEA rules and requests, has made it clear that negotiations are only of use as a way for Iran to gain more time toward reaching its evil goals, and has proven its willingness and determination to use terrorist proxies in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon to kill Israeli children as well as training and supporting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan who are killing American soldiers.
Sanctions are having some limited success, but those sanctions must be enforced by our Administration and need to be expanded, and used to the greatest extent possible, to hit Iran tougher in its petroleum and banking sectors. Even more important is that the U.S. must make it clear that its policy includes military intervention which must always stay on the table.
I support divestment of any state and federal funds that have been invested in any companies doing business with the Iranian regime. This is especially important regarding foreign companies and those that might be foreign affiliates of American companies.
Locally, while I wholeheartedly support the Arizona state divestment bill, I am concerned that it has not been fully implemented. I recommend a state oversight committee be formed to ensure full implementation, as intended by the legislature.
Regional Instability, Israel's Right of Self-Defense and U.S. Security Assistance
Israel has the right to defend her citizens and her borders. This is especially vital since control of the governments of some of Israel's neighboring countries is in transition, and it is unclear what factions will fill the leadership voids. Recognition of Israel's treaties and right to exist are threatened in Egypt and Turkey, and terrorist elements could get further control in Lebanon, Syria, and other Arab nations which are experiencing uprisings. Israel is a beacon of democracy, but will the "Arab Spring" bring true democracy to people who have been subject to tyrants and dictators or shuffle in those who want to destroy Israel? Israel's diminishing security at its southern border, as well as the concern of more weapons and terrorists gaining access to Gaza, due to the changing winds in Egypt, will require more military presence on that southern border.
It is vital that the U.S. ensure that Israel maintains its quantitative and qualitative military edge. Israel's safety and security is dependent on the annual military security assistance supplied by the U.S. This expenditure for a strong Israeli military protects America's interests, and, in fact, keeps the U.S. from having to spend much more in equipment, intelligence capabilities, and U.S. personnel if Israel's armed forces were not in place. In addition, these expenditures actually come back to help America's economy in that 75% of the military aid is spent by Israel on military equipment built and bought in the U.S.
Only direct negotiations can lead to a real, enforceable, and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel has proven a genuine willingness to make peace if it can live in safety and security. However, each time Israel makes a concession, the Palestinian Authority has walked away from negotiations and has allowed bombs and missiles to continue to rain down on Israel's schools and homes. Recently, the Palestinian Authority has decided to provide housing to recently released terrorists, some of whom have American blood on their hands. This decision should be condemned and those terrorists should be transferred to the U.S. to stand trial.
The U.S. and its allies must provide assistance in convincing the Muslim world, and particularly neighboring Arab nations and the Palestinians, that peaceful co-existence with the Jewish state of Israel is in the best interest of the Palestinians and the Arab nations. Until then, unilateral efforts such as the Palestinian Authority's end-run efforts at the U.N., creates more animosity and barriers to peace. The Administration must continue its efforts to stifle these damaging actions at the U.N. and promote direct talks between the only parties that can negotiate true peace.
Delegitimization of Israel
It is becoming ever more frequent that governments or international non-governmental bodies, such as the United Nations, are increasingly attempting to challenge Israel's right to exist and to defend its borders and citizens. There is an extremely dangerous development, and Israel's enemies, made up of countries which sponsor worldwide terrorism, are trying to create an atmosphere of ostracism and delegitimization of Israel. The U.S. must stand with Israel, now more than ever, and take a proactive role in debunking this campaign and showing how it is inaccurate, dangerous, and harmful to all nations. Forces within the U.N. are manipulating leadership and refusing to condemn truly terrorist and dictatorial human rights abusers while instead conducting unfair and improper attacks on Israel which is actually a beacon of human rights in the Middle East.
I support recognition of a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and I supported the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. I will push for compliance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act. It is unacceptable that Israel is the only country whose capital we do not recognize nor put our Embassy there.
Release of Jonathan Pollard
The U.S. should release Jonathan Pollard after serving 26 years. I met with Pollard, reviewed his case and his letter of remorse. It is well documented that the average sentence for a similar crime is 2 to 4 years. His unjust sentence of life in prison, greater than the recommendation of his prosecutors, is both damaging to the integrity of the U.S. Justice Department and harmful to national security, since it serves as a precedent in countries, such as Pakistan, where individuals are being tried for helping U.S. intelligence.