In this week’s edition of the Action Update, we look at the latest discussion over Israel’s right to defend itself against the Iranian nuclear threat, examine the latest piece of anti-Israel legislation introduced by a perennial Israel-hater in Congress, and discuss the latest positive development in Israel’s efforts to aid Ukraine against Russia’s invasion of the European democracy.

“Freedom of Action”

Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that Jerusalem believes Iran now has enough fissile material to build five nuclear bombs. The possession of this material does not make Iran a military nuclear power just yet, but each day the Islamic Republic is getting closer to realizing its vile dreams.

The same day that Gallant delivered his remarks, U.S. National Security Advisor James Sullivan said that the Biden administration recognizes “Israel’s freedom of action,” to contend with Iran’s nuclear program. In other words, Washington acknowledges that the Israelis have every right to do what they need to do in order to protect their people from Iran’s maniacal goals. 

We of course welcome Sullivan’s comments and give him credit for being unambiguous on this subject. Unfortunately, not everyone shares our view. The National Iranian American Council, a pro-Iran lobby that has faced allegations of an inappropriate relationship with Tehran, slammed Sullivan’s remarks. We won’t dignify their upside-down logic (if we can so abuse the term) with analysis. Needless to say, the U.S. and Israel may differ at times on the tactics, but they do agree on the end goal – a nuclear-free Iran – and no nation has the right to tell a democratic ally it cannot defend itself from annihilation.

Tehran, Terrorists, and Betty McCollum

Speaking of Iran’s malign activities, Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, recently met with leaders from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – the latter of which suffered a considerable strategic defeat last night when Israel successfully targeted members of their leadership as part of an operation dubbed “Shield and Arrow.”

During the meeting, Raisi reiterated his government’s support for Palestinian terrorist groups. This isn’t terribly shocking. Iran provides upwards of $200 million a year to Hamas and PIJ (with most of the cash going to Hamas).

What is a bit shocking is that the very next day, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced grotesquely anti-Israel legislation in the House. A who’s who of anti-Israel legislators, like Rep’s Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Barbara Lee (Lee, by the way, is running for Senate in California) signed onto the bill. Likewise, a host of anti-Israel organizations have expressed support for the legislation. Interestingly, or perhaps it stands to reason, two of the organizations that McCollum listed as supporters of her legislation have documented ties to terrorists. 

Don’t worry, McCollum and Co. introduce legislation like this about every year, and it goes nowhere.  We do not expect this year to be different. But the bill’s rollout is further evidence that Israel’s detractors in Congress have become increasingly comfortable with publicly making common cause with terrorists.

Israel & Ukraine

Anyone following the news knows that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not gone the way Moscow planned. The Ukrainians are tough, and they are getting vital support from NATO countries. Ukraine’s resilience has resulted in Russia increasing its indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian civilians.

Throughout the war, Israel has been providing Kyiv with much-needed non-lethal aid, and the Jewish state is now taking its support of Ukraine one step further. In order to address Moscow’s efforts to bomb Ukraine’s population into submission, the Israelis have provided a high-tech missile detection system to Ukraine, which will be used to try to prevent loss of life as Iran hurls projectiles and Iranian-made drones at Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv.

As regular readers know, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) has been deeply concerned about the humanitarian impacts of this war. CUFI is a single-issue organization but has a role to play in addressing the greatest war in Europe since World War II. As such, CUFI and partner ministries have raised more than $9 million dollars to help rescue Ukrainian Jewish refugees and help them move to Israel.

In all three of the topics upon which we’ve focused today, Iran plays a role. Advancing its nuclear program, supporting terrorism, and facilitating Moscow’s war crimes. We are grateful to Sullivan for his comments concerning Israel’s freedom to act, but the Biden administration must do more to address Iran’s malign behavior.

We get that the Biden administration is not going to be able to bring themselves to say that President Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign was the right policy, but at this stage, it’s hard to argue against that point. So, call it something else; find small ways to differentiate President Biden’s policies from President Trump’s; but the policy itself – maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran – is the only policy that will enable the Biden administration to avoid conflict and achieve its stated goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.


The CUFI Action Fund Team


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