Israel Political Brief May 29, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, US Senator Robert Menendez, Talk Iran

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Netanyahu, Sen. Menendez, Talk Iran

Source: Arutz Sheva, 5-29-13

Prime Minister tells key senator nuclear Iran is the greatest security threat to the United States…READ MORE

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Full Text Israel Political Brief February 20, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meeting with US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

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PM Netanyahu Meets with US Sen. (R-FL) Marco Rubio

Source: PMO, 2-20-13
יום רביעי י’ אדר תשע”ג

Photo by GPO

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met with US Senator (R-FL) Marco Rubio. The Prime Minister said: “I appreciate your support. I appreciate the tremendous support of the American people, bipartisan support for our security and our quest for peace. It’s a daunting task, both security and the quest for peace, but we know we have your support and we appreciate it. I look forward to talking with you about our challenges.”

Sen. Rubio said: “Well, you live in a challenging neighborhood but the Israeli-American relationship is one of the most important ones we have, and certainly our commitment to that partnership is bipartisan and it should remain that way. And that’s why I’m pleased the President is coming here in March

Israel Political Brief February 17, 2013: Senator Marco Rubio leaves for visit to Israel, Jordan

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Sen. Rubio leaves for visit to Israel, Jordan

Source: JTA, 2-17-13

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has left for an official visit to the Middle East, including Jordan and Israel….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief February 16, 2013: Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit, Senator Marco Rubio heads to Israel

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Ahead of Obama visit, Marco Rubio heads to Israel

Source: CBS News, 2-16-13

As President Obama prepares for his first trip to Israel since assuming office, the man some hope will succeed him leaves Saturday for his own visit to the Jewish state….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 11, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at Meeting with US Senate Delegation & Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

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PM Netanyahu Meets with US Senate Delegation

Source: PMO, 1-11-13

יום שישי כ”ט טבת תשע”ג


Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today met with a group of US Senators led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “It’s very good to see you, in Jerusalem again. You’re old friends and we’re in challenging times, great turbulence in our region, great challenges to our security, America’s security and our common interests. My priority, if I’m elected for a next term as Prime Minister, will be first to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I think that was and remains the highest priority for both our countries. I appreciate the American support and your support for that end”.

Sen. McConnell said: “As everybody in Israel knows, there are a lot of things we disagree on in America, we’ve had big battles over deficit and debt, but there’s broad bi-partisan support for Israel, and our agenda in this part of the world is the same as your agenda. You’re one of our best friends and we’re happy to continue that relationship”.

Israel Political Brief November 16, 2012: US Senate, House resolutions back Israel’s actions in Gaza

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Senate, House resolutions back Israel’s actions in Gaza

Source: JTA, 11-16-12

Both Houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed resolutions expressing support for Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense.”

The identical non-binding resolutions passed Thursday in the Senate and Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 15, 2012: US Senate resolution backs Israel’s actions in Gaza

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U.S. Senate resolution backs Israel’s actions in Gaza

Source: JTA, 11-15-12

Thirty U.S. senators have signed on to a resolution expressing support for Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense.”

The non-binding resolution, originally drafted by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), “expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.”

The resolution, the first such proposed legislation in the wake of Israeli airstrikes launched Wednesday in retaliation for rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, may come to a vote as early as Thursday evening.

Unlike statements of support for Israel’s actions from the Obama administration, the Senate resolution does not call on both sides to exercise restraint or express regret at casualties on both sides….READ MORE 

 

Text of Senate resolution in support of Israel’s self-defense

Source: JTA, 11-15-12

Here’s the full text:

Israel Political Brief May 17, 2012: US Senate Republicans Stall Iran Sanctions for being Too Soft

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Republicans Stall Iran Sanctions for being Too Soft

Senate Republicans: bill needs to say United States will use force to stop any nuclear weapons program.
Obama with USAF Col. Michael Minihan

Obama with USAF Col. Michael Minihan
Reuters

Senate Republicans blocked package of sanctions against Iran on Thursday because the bill’s wording was not tough enough in their opinion. The GOP senators said that besides listing economic sanctions, the bill needs to say that the United States is prepared to use force to stop any nuclear weapons program.

“I just want to add one simple line that says we recognize what the president was saying that military force is also an option,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on the floor during the debate over the bill.

Republicans agreed that the bill as it is worded at present would signal a step back from Obama’s stated policy that he would do “anything necessary” to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

According to The Hill, Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), who has sponsored a separate use of force resolution with Graham and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), said the senators should be able to reach agreement sometime Thursday on necessary changes to the bill.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) urged Republicans to pass the bill in its present form but agreed that the Senate should be on record as determining that Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

If it passes Thursday, the bill’s timing will send a message to Iran just days before next week’s talks in Baghdad between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 7, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on Return to Israel from Canada & US Trip

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Return to Israel from Canada and the US:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned a short while ago today from his visit to Canada, where he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the US, where he met with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense US and members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Upon landing, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I return from a very important visit to the US and Canada. I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends. We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”

Video: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Return to Israel from Canada and the US

Netanyahu says Israel’s friends will stand by her

Source: JTA, 3-7-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has “many courageous friends.”

In remarks after landing in Israel following a visit to Canada and the United States, Netanyahu said, “I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends.”

“We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their own fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”

On his North American visit, Netanyahu met with President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

At his meeting with Obama on Monday, Netanyahu reportedly gave the U.S. leader a copy of the book of Esther. The leaders’ talks reportedly centered on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Congressional Impact AIPAC Activists to Press for Tough Iran Sanctions, Aid to Israel

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Congressional Impact AIPAC Activists to Press for Tough Iran Sanctions, Aid to Israel

Source: AIPAC, 3-6-12

In a resounding show of support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, thousands of AIPAC activists from all 50 states will ascend Capitol Hill today to conduct more than 500 lobbying meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

At the top of the agenda will be stopping Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. AIPAC activists will encourage their representatives to support resolutions in the House and Senate (H. Res. 568 and S. Res. 380) affirming that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and opposing any reliance on a policy seeking to contain a nuclear-capable Iran.

The Senate resolution is being led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Robert Casey (D-PA). The House resolution was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA).

Similarly, delegates will urge senators to support the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 (S. 2101), which would escalate the level of sanctions against the regime’s human rights violators and sharply tighten the enforcement of existing sanctions law. The measure was introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL).

AIPAC activists will also urge lawmakers to support the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which House and Senate members plan to introduce in the coming days. The legislation is expected to recommend several ways to strengthen U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation in such fields as missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence and cyber-security.

The House version of the bill is being led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), while the Senate legislation is being spearheaded by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Finally, the AIPAC citizen-lobbyists will be asking their representatives to support $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget. The aid request reflects the fifth year of the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, signed in 2007 and beginning in 2009, which called for a gradual increase in U.S. security assistance to the Jewish state in order to meet growing regional threats.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Republican Presidential Candidates slam President Barack Obama on Iran in AIPAC Speeches

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Republican White House hopefuls slam Obama on Iran

Source: AFP, 3-6-12

Republican White House hopefuls told Israel’s supporters Tuesday that they would take tougher steps than US President Barack Obama to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Frontrunner Mitt Romney suggested he would be more willing than Obama to consider using military force while Rick Santorum backed an ultimatum demanding Iran stop nuclear production to avoid action by the US to “tear down” its facilities.

Newt Gingrich, a long-shot for president, told the Washington gathering he would back everything short of war to “undermine and replace” the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…. READ MORE

Prior to the Republican speeches, US Democratic Senator Carl Levin warned AIPAC delegates against those who might use the issue of how to provide security to Israel, the top US ally in the Middle East, for partisan gain.

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: Benjamin Netanyahu goes to Congress, saying patience with Iran wears thin

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Benjamin Netanyahu goes to Congress, saying patience with Iran wears thin

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to find greater sympathy in Congress than at the Obama White House for his view that time grows short to halt Iran’s nuclear-weapons development. 

Source: CS Monitor, 3-6-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (l.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the US Capitol in Washington on Tuesday.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Enlarge

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets on Capitol Hill Tuesday with members of Congress, and he’s likely to find greater sympathy for his view that Israel can’t wait much longer to stop Iran than he did at the White House.

President Obama expressed confidence that the two leaders prefer a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions when he hosted Mr. Netanyahu Monday. He encouraged the Israeli leader to have patience and allow toughened international economic sanctions more time to bite before launching military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu gave his answer loud and clear in a speech before a prominent pro-Israel lobby Monday night, saying Israel had been patient long enough.

“Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work,” he told 13,000 cheering participants at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee national conference. “None of us can afford to wait much longer.”…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: Senator Joseph Lieberman’s Speech / Remarks at AIPAC American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference — Transcript

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LIEBERMAN REMARKS TO AIPAC POLICY CONFERENCE

Source: Lieberman Senate, 3-5-12

Today, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) delivered remarks at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference. Senator Lieberman’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

Remarks to AIPAC Policy Conference

March 5, 2012

Dear friends, thank you. It is a privilege to join you today at this largest and perhaps most important AIPAC Policy Conference ever.

Later this week the holiday of Purim is celebrated in which we read the book of Esther, a story of a miraculous rescue of the Jewish people from annihilation. The hand of God is there on every page of the story of the book of Esther, but the work is ultimately brought about by the acts of a single, principled and courageous woman named Hadassah Esther. This week I would be remiss if I did not introduce to you the beautiful, principled and courageous woman I’m blessed to have as my wife, Hadassah Esther Lieberman.

For me, this is a special moment because it is the last time I will have the honor to stand before you at this conference as a United States Senator. But I want to make very clear that next year I am just leaving the Senate—I am not retiring. And I specifically pledge to you now: whatever the next chapter of my life brings and wherever it takes me, I will continue to stand with you, as you have stood with me, to fight for the causes that have brought us together year after year—a strong America, a strong Israel, and an unbreakable American-Israeli partnership.

I have been fortunate to serve in the Senate for twenty-four remarkable years, during which time the world has transformed in ways that have defied both prophecy and imagination:

The fall of the Soviet Union…

The rise of the Internet…

The 9/11 attacks…

In the Middle East, we have witnessed the Oslo Accords of 1993, raising such great hopes which have sadly yet to be realized…

On the other hand, in 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty which remains a mutually beneficial model for the rest of the Middle East…

In the twenty-four years, we have seen two terrorist two intifadas…

And now the Arab world’s historic democratic uprisings!

Through the ups and downs, Israel has grown more and more vibrant, diverse, and secure, and the U.S.-Israel relationship has grown closer and closer. The bond between our two great democracies and our two great peoples is deeper, wider, and stronger than ever.

And that is because Americans and Israelis have so much in common—from our humanitarian values to our technological innovations, from our system of justice to our systems of defense, from our belief in God to our faith that the Bible is the word of God.

Americans and Israelis come together not in an alliance of convenience, but in a relationship of family.

And that is expressed most powerfully in the long-term, unprecedented, bipartisan pro-Israel majority in both houses of Congress.

The truth is, the ultimate guarantor of the U.S.-Israel relationship is each of you. It is you the American people who—from every corner of our country—take the time to call on your elected leaders to stand with Israel.

That is why your presence today is so important. And that is why what AIPAC does every day is so important.

As much as we have accomplished during the last 24 years in the U.S.-Israel relationship, I must admit that I leave the Senate with two big items of unfinished business.

The first is that, despite a great deal of work, Israel still has not been able to achieve the peace with its Palestinian neighbors that its people want and deserve and that everyone in the Middle East would benefit from. But we will never stop working for that peace, and one day it will come.

My second personal disappointment is that the American Embassy in Israel is still not where it belongs— in the City of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish State of Israel.

But neither you nor I will ever forget Jerusalem, and we will continue to fight for the day when the American flag flies proudly over an American Embassy there. And that day too I believe will come soon.

Today the United States and Israel face a new and even greater danger as Iran marches towards a nuclear weapons capability. And that challenge is rightly the focus of this conference.

Do not let anyone tell you that a nuclear-armed Iran is just Israel’s problem.

It is not.

Do not let anyone tell you we can learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran.

We cannot.

Do not let anyone tell you that the problem with Iran’s nuclear program is what Israel may do about it and when.

It is not.

The problem is what Iran is doing with its nuclear program and when.

Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to the entire world, but especially to the United States, Israel, and the Arab nations.

If Iran is allowed to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, it will set off a cascade of nuclear proliferation, as other countries in the region seek atomic arsenals of their own.

If Iran is allowed to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, it will make its terrorist proxies, groups that already have the blood of thousands of Americans, Israelis, and Arabs on their hands, infinitely more dangerous.

If Iran is allowed to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, it will be able to bring the global economy to its knees, whenever it wants.

If you think gas prices are high now in our country, imagine what will happen if Iran could back up its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz with a nuclear weapon.

This is a future we cannot afford. It is a future we can and must prevent.

It is definitely within our power to stop Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability.

The question is not whether we can stop them—but whether we will choose to stop them.

And that is why, together with my colleagues Senators Bob Casey and Lindsey Graham, I have introduced a nonpartisan resolution that says—when it comes to Iran, all options must be on the table, except for one option, and that is containment.

That is precisely what President Obama has said. Now it is time for the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to say the same thing. With your help this week, we will soon have much more than a majority of Members of the Senate supporting this resolution.

I do not believe that military action to disable Iran’s nuclear project is unavoidable. That choice is Iran’s.

We also have choices to make. If a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable, as we all say it is, we must make clear to the world that we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to prevent the unacceptable. The President has said he doesn’t bluff, and neither can we in Congress.

There is nothing more harmful to our chances of stopping Iran peacefully than the suspicion that, in the end, we will give up and let them have nuclear weapons.

The Iranian regime must hear this message from us, and we must state it loud and clear: either you peacefully negotiate an end to your illicit nuclear activities, or they will be ended for you by military attack.

It is time for us to make an ironclad pledge to our friends and enemies: the United States will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability—by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must.

Some have asked why we say we must stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapons “capability,” rather than stop them from getting nuclear weapons.

There answer to that question is direct, and it is very important.

The time for action is before Iran has crossed the line of capability to put together a nuclear weapon, when all they have to do is combine the components they have developed to give them a nuclear weapon. If we wait until Iran has nuclear weapons, it will obviously be too late.

My friends, the threat from Iran is more serious than anything faced by the United States and Israel during my twenty-four years in the Senate.

But if America, Israel, and our allies stand together, I know we will meet and defeat this threat.

The great Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov once said, “A country that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors.”

For the sake of the people of Iran and all of its neighbors—Israeli and Arab—the days of the despotic regime that now rules Iran must be numbered. And I am confident they will be because the vast majority of the Iranian people, who after all are heirs of one of the world’s great civilizations, reject the despotic and corrupt rule that they have been forced to live under. They want the same freedoms and rights as people everywhere.

That is the story we are seeing across the Middle East right now. It is the reason that the people of Syria are fighting courageously as we speak against Iran’s only ally in the Arab world, Bashar al Assad.

It is why we must do more to help them overthrow Bashar’s evil dictatorship and end his campaign of slaughter. We can no longer stand passively by. We must do more to speed the day when the people of Syria and the people of Iran will again be free.

Let me close now with a final word of thanks and encouragement to each of you. When you come to a conference like this, you step into history and try to influence its course.

The history of the Jewish State of Israel is not brief, as some of its enemies today still claim. Israel’s history didn’t begin in 1948.

It began thousands of years before in Genesis 12:1 when God called Abraham to go to “the land I will show you,” and promised Abraham “I will make you a great nation” there.

Through the millennia since then, through good times and bad, through statehood and Diaspora, the Jewish presence on the land of Island has been continuous.

In the late 19th century, Theodore Herzl began the modern Zionist movement to reestablish a Jewish state in Israel.

As you know well, when people told Herzl he was a foolish dreamer, he told them, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

He and so many after him, Jews and Christians, willed it and worked it, fought for it and died for it, and in 1948, the dream did become a reality again. And now we are blessed because we are “living the dream.”

But don’t ever take it for granted. Even divinely inspired dreams need the work of steadfast men and women here on Earth to keep them real and to keep them alive.

Standing before this enormous and devoted throng, I am full of confidence that in the years ahead, and in the generations to come, the work that you and I have been privileged to do together will go on. The dream will never die, and our destiny’s call, which is for universal justice and peace, will forever be heard.

Thank you, God bless you, God bless Israel, and God bless America.

31 US Senators Sign Resolution Against Obama’s Call that Israel Return 1967 Borders

Source: JTA, 6-12-11

U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced a resolution calling an Israeli return to 1967 lines “contrary to United States policy and national security.”

The resolution introduced June 9 is co-signed by 29 other senators, including at least two Democrats, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

It declares “that it is the policy of the United States to support and facilitate Israel in maintaining defensible borders and that it is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967.”

In a major Mideast policy speech  last month, President Obama called for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to be restarted on the basis of 1967 borders with “mutually agreed upon land swaps.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin has rejected these borders as a starting point, calling them “indefensible.” The Palestinians say they will not return to the negotiating table unless the 1967 borders are used as the basis for discussing borders in the negotiations.

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