Israel enjoys widespread bipartisan support both in Congress and across the country. And in recent days, we’ve seen two high-level delegations of American lawmakers travel to the Jewish state. But there’s a problem on both sides of the aisle that all the trips and all the speeches in the world won’t solve. So, let’s dive in.

Messrs. McCarthy and Jeffries Go to Israel


Last week, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries led a Congressional delegation of Democrats to the Jewish state. As we’ve been warning for some time, and Jeffries was right to highlight, the stability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is in peril. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is well past his prime and not in the best of health. We also agree with Jeffries that ensuring the Palestinian people have basic services met by a Palestinian civil authority is important. Where we differ from Jeffries is on what to do about the PA’s dark side: their unabashed support for terror.

From schools that glorify violence to financial incentives aimed at inducing acts of terror, the PA suffers from systemic antisemitism that manifests itself in support for violence. Under Abbas, the PA has done nothing to expand human and civil rights for the Palestinian people or root out the antisemitic cornerstone of the Palestinian national narrative. Until the PA reverses course, discussing what the PA looks like after Abbas’s invariable demise is, at best, a discussion about the least bad option – the individual with the least blood on his/her hands.

If Democrats are serious about helping the Palestinians, they need to make concrete demands of the PA and ignore those who say that doing so will lead to the PA’s downfall. At this rate, that’s a distinct possibility anyway, so we may as well try to do right by the American, Israeli, and Palestinian people by pushing the PA to get over its revolutionary fantasies and provide basic support to its people.

Shortly after Jeffries’ trip to Israel, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy visited the Jewish state with a bipartisan group of top lawmakers (and bipartisan is a keyword here, but more on that in a minute).

During the visit, McCarthy delivered remarks before Israel’s Knesset and struck all the right notes. He touched on everything from the Abraham Accords and the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence to regional challenges including Iran.

Concerning the threat posed by Iran, McCarthy said, “…we cannot ignore the threats to peace in our region. Those threats have one primary cause, the rogue Iranian regime. Most of the turmoil in this region of violence and instability can be traced back to that source which continues to fund terrorism, arms its proxy militias, and pursues nuclear weapons.”

We agree with McCarthy’s sentiment but are concerned that Congress won’t be able to deliver common sense policies aimed at contending with the Islamic Republic’s belligerence.

Actions, Words, and Bipartisanship


Recently, Congress passed a resolution commending Israel on her 75th year as an independent nation. The resolution itself was all good and well; it contained nothing controversial or out of the ordinary. With rare exception, we don’t place a lot of emphasis on resolutions since they don’t directly impact law or policy. But we do notice when Members of Congress use a vote on a resolution to remind everyone of their bigotry.

Eighteen Democrats and one Republican voted against the run-of-the-mill, pro-Israel resolution. And this is a problem for both Jeffries and McCarthy. The fact that nearly 10% of House Democrats voted against this resolution is indicative of a party with a fundamental problem that Jeffries must address. The best thing House Democratic leaders can do for the U.S.-Israel relationship and their own party is sideline fringe voices and ensure that this same group does not have the ability to derail pro-Israel policies with widespread bipartisan support.

McCarthy’s problem is smaller than Jeffries’, but arguably more complicated in the short-term. The lone Republican vote against the resolution was Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). Massie regularly votes against measures on a wide variety of topics that enjoy overwhelming support by both parties. And he rarely, if ever, has a reasonable justification for doing so. Yes, Massie is just one vote. But as part of the wheeling and dealing in which McCarthy engaged to secure his Speakership, Massie secured a seat on the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives: The House Rules Committee.

Here's how the committee describes itself: “The Committee is commonly known as ‘The Speaker’s Committee’ because it is the mechanism that the Speaker uses to maintain control of the House Floor...” Basically, not much can happen in the House without the Speaker’s and the Rules Committee’s agreement.  And the most anti-Israel member of the House GOP caucus has a seat at that table.

We at the Action Fund appreciate kind words, be they spoken or advanced as a resolution for the record. But we care a lot more about action (it’s right there in our name!). So, when Congress decides to focus on impactful policy matters, such as Israel’s missile defense needs, the Biden administration’s on-again-off-again dalliance with Iran, or the rising tide of antisemitism sweeping across the country, we hope Messrs. McCarthy and Jeffries have a plan to contain the crazies in their caucuses and advance consensus, pro-Israel legislation.


The CUFI Action Fund Team


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