The decisions and actions of some in Washington often leave Americans scratching their heads. And this week, we’re going to discuss one of those moments in the context of senators’ attitudes towards Iran. However, before we get into the Potomac oddities, we’ll first dive into the troubling news out of Israel.

Brutal Terror Attacks Against Israelis

In recent days, a wave of terror attacks and attempted terror attacks has gripped Israel. In an act of savage brutality reminiscent of the Middle Ages, Palestinian terrorists used an axe and a knife to hack three people to death in a park in Elad, Israel. Three other innocents were severely injured. Within 60 hours, Israeli security forces found and arrested the terrorists believed to be responsible for the gruesome attack. The three men who were killed, Oren, Yonatan, and Boaz, were all fathers, with 16 children between them. When eulogizing his father, Oren’s 5-year-old son asked, “Dad, when will you return?”

In recent days, other terror attacks have taken place as well. A police officer was stabbed in the neck near the Damascus gate at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City – a location where just weeks ago, several CUFI staffers traversed in order to cover the story of Palestinian support for terrorism so often ignored by the media. Another terrorist was shot and killed by a resident of Tekoa when the resident witnessed the armed Palestinian attempting to infiltrate the Israeli town. 

Unless you’re reading Israel-based publications, it’s unlikely you’ve heard of any of these events. The sad reality is that in the U.S. (and Europe for that matter) so many celebrities and the members of the media forgive every Palestinian act of brutality and seize every opportunity to attack Israel for defending her citizens.

CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman put it best when she said, “The silence of the international media in the face of Palestinian terrorism is deafening, but it is made more appalling by the cacophony of hypocrisy and feigned outrage we witness every time Israel does what is sadly necessary to minimize bloodshed in the region. If you’re pro-peace, you’re by definition pro-Israel. Any equivocation on this simple truth effectively aids and abets terrorism in the Middle East.”

On Iran, “Nothing to See Here,” Says One-Third of Senate

Last week we expressed support for Senator James Lankford’s (R-OK) Motion to Instruct (MTI) Senate conferees discussing the “China Bill” to “address Chinese purchases of Iranian oil, along with Iran’s nuclear proliferation, ballistic missile development, and support for terrorism.” The MTI, we’re pleased to report, passed by a vote of 62-33.

This vote served a very important purpose. It was in essence a bipartisan vote of disapproval for the administration’s continued weak approach to Iran. The administration lobbied senators against the motion but still managed to lose 15 Democrats and 1 Independent. Even those that would like to see a return to the Iran deal see our “carrot only” approach as feckless and unable to deliver even limited verifiable concessions from the Iranians. The message to the administration is clear: change course. There was a message for the Iranians as well: your days of enjoying a free ride while endless talks go nowhere will expire soon enough and when they do, a bipartisan majority is ready to address the wide array of Iran’s malign activities.

Support for the MTI enjoyed widespread bipartisan support with such conservative stalwarts as Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) supporting the measure alongside staunch progressives like Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Yet 33 Senators voted against MTI including both Senators John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia – a state whose population is exceptionally pro-Israel and unlikely to be pleased with weakness on Iran – and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who’s entire foreign policy approach remains fixated on weakening the U.S. and harming our allies.

We are grateful to Senator Lankford for leading on this issue and to the 62 other senators who joined him in supporting the measure.

The vote in the Senate brings into stark relief the importance of Americans taking it upon ourselves to ensure our leaders know where they stand. Would Senators Ossoff and Warnock have voted the way they did if they knew their constituents were paying attention? We’ll never know when it comes to the MTI, but we know that communicating with elected officials is vital to protecting the strong U.S.-Israel relationship. And the most impactful way to communicate one’s message is face-to-face. So, if you haven’t signed up to attend the CUFI Summit in July but want to ensure that your voice is heard in Washington, please consider joining us this summer in our nation’s capital.

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