BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentlelady, the chairwoman of our committee, for her great leadership in the defense of Israel. I thank as well my good friend and colleague, the ranking member, Mr. Berman. These two individuals work hard every day for the peace and security of our friend and ally Israel.
This is a ``must pass'' bill, Mr. Speaker, as we must reiterate our support for the nation of Israel. Our friend and ally Israel lives under the daily threat of indiscriminate rocket attacks on their homes and businesses, terrorism on public transit, and the unapologetic, undeterred, and unacceptable existential threat of a nuclear Iran. Despite Iran's signature of the Genocide Convention of 1956, Iran's anti-Semitic leader, Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Iran has ignored its commitments not to pursue nuclear weapons under the IAEA, refusing inspections and failing the ones they do allow.
The U.N. has failed to be resolute in its response to Iran or to protect Israel, leaving Israel to fend for itself at best but, more often, attacking and undermining it at every opportunity. Most recently and amazingly, the United Nations allowed Iran to be elected to the 15-member general committee of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Conference, which is allegedly developing a treaty regulating the international sale of conventional arms. Iran does, after all, have considerable experience in this area. Iran has been arming Israel's neighbors for decades.
Freedom House's annual report on the world, which assesses the political and civil liberties of nearly every nation on Earth, shows that Israel is surrounded by nations that profoundly disrespect the political and civil liberties of their own citizens. These nations actively foment hate against Israel and have human rights records that are among the worst in the world. Syria has now shown its true colors. We cannot sit by and wait for Iran to have the opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, superior deterrence remains among the best guarantors of peace, and that has certainly been the case in the Middle East. S. 2165 enhances Israel's ability to defend itself. When Israel's military superiority was unclear in the eyes of its enemies soon after it was created, soon after Israel became a state, Israel was tested repeatedly with war, yet they won again and again. In response to Israel's clear military superiority, Israel's enemies have relied on cowardly acts of terrorism. They have attacked with Gaza rockets, with the intifada, with the flotilla, and Israel's task has been to overcome those deadly aggressions. Mr. Speaker, S. 2165 provides assistance for several programs that are effective in deterring attacks and in defending Israel, including for the Iron Dome, Israel's successful means of defending itself against missiles and rockets targeting Israeli homes and businesses.
With this bill, Israel will be better equipped for any scenario as it fulfills its solemn duty to protect its own people. With this bill, we also reassert our country's moral obligation and unshakable commitment to give Israel every assistance. The U.S. reaffirms, in word and in deed, our dedication to the defense of the Jewish state. S. 2165 expands U.S. military, intelligence, and civilian cooperation with Israel, including an offer to the Israeli air force for additional training opportunities in the U.S. in order to compensate for Israel's limited airspace and other enhanced cooperation on intelligence sharing.
Israel has shown itself to be a great friend of the United States, not only in setting the standard for democracy and human rights in the region but by being trustworthy with loans--always repaying loans on time and in full. This bill recognizes Israel's dependability with an extension of the longstanding loan guarantee program for Israel.
Finally, this bill reaffirms that the only viable option for peace and security in the region is an Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing side by side. Again, I ask for Members to support this important bill.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT