We hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and while many of us were enjoying time with friends and family, over the past few days there have been a number of developments that merit discussion. So, without any further delay, let’s dive in.

Congress is Back

The August Congressional recess is coming to a close which means Congress is going back to work, and there are already items on the legislative agenda that we’re focused on. First, during the week of September 12th, we expect the Senate to bring forward the annual State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act. As our Summit attendees are well aware, this legislation includes the annual American military assistance to Israel.

The House version of the legislation also includes key restrictions targeting UNRWA, prohibiting funds to UN Commission of Inquiry unfairly targeting Israel, and no funds for the Palestinian Authority including continued restrictions on how taxpayer money can be redirected to ensure that U.S. dollars are not being spent to fund the evil pay-to-slay policy.

Unfortunately, the Senate does not include all these protections. We’ll be working over the coming months to push the House version and minimize the amount of American taxpayer dollars that indirectly (at a minimum) support Palestinian terrorism.

The other two bills from our Summit legislative agenda, the federal anti-BDS bill known as the CHAI Act, and the Iran sanctions bill known as the SHIP Act, are also very much in play. Since the CUFI Summit, more than 150 cosponsors have been added to the SHIP Act. Likewise, during the August recess, we worked diligently to build on the momentum in support of the CHAI Act coming from the CUFI Summit, by engaging partner organizations and having discussions with Hill staff – resulting in major organizations coming out in support of the legislation and a new tranche of Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle signing on as cosponsors.

Pres. Biden Nominates Jack Lew as Ambassador to Israel

President Biden has nominated Jack Lew to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. While some have reported that a nominee to be Ambassador to Israel would not receive a vote before the upcoming US presidential election, we will be doing our due diligence in the weeks to come. Lew previously served as Secretary of the Treasury and Chief of Staff, under the Obama administration and at the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration. As such, Lew defended the Obama administration’s position on things like the now-defunct Iran deal.

If he is confirmed, what we can expect from Lew is perhaps exemplified in his position on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He’s quoted as explaining the position of successive U.S. administrations that not moving the Embassy would “preserve the possibility of having a negotiated agreement that will produce ultimately someday a just and lasting peace with two states, [which] is the higher value.” Lew and much of the foreign policy establishment of course were wrong. Not only was there no qualitative change in relations with the Palestinians, but Israel was able to make historic agreements with Arab nations via the Abraham Accords.

And let’s not forget, either way, the next Ambassador to Israel will be doing their work from an Embassy inside Israel’s eternal and undivided capital of Jerusalem – the significance of which we hope every future Ambassador to Israel can appreciate.

Iran, Again

There was a bit of debate around the office this week as to whether or not we should highlight the latest on Iran’s malign activities. There are, after all, other topics we could get into; for example, the spike in Palestinian terror last week which left one Israeli dead and a dozen innocents wounded. But we’ve discussed in recent weeks Jerusalem’s efforts to contend with this increase in violence, and at this point, there is no additional policy analysis required. The Israelis will do what they have to do, and we will support them.  

What does require a bit of a deeper dive is the current situation with Iran. Recently the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report whose primary conclusion the press is characterized as Iran having slowed its production of enriched uranium. While that’s true, engaging in less of the same criminal behavior is not a victory for those opposed to Iran’s malign activities. Such would be like telling a murderer we should be proud of him/her for killing fewer people over the summer than they did in the spring.

The reason the press can get away with spinning this report in the manner described is twofold: First, many in the international community are content with simply containing Iran rather than stopping it. Newsflash: That won’t work (just ask Neville Chamberlain).

Second, the Biden administration cannot bring themselves to honestly assess and learn from the failed Obama-era Iran deal. If they did approach such an assessment honestly and rationally (rather than emotionally and politically), Team Biden would be compelled to conclude that aggressive sanctions, not perpetual negotiations culminating in acquiescence, is the only non-military solution to the Iran problem. 

Washington needs to do better. We need to advance the SHIP Act without delay and thereby deliver a significant body blow to the Iran’s cash flow. And with your help, that’s exactly what we’re going to ensure Congress does.


The CUFI Action Fund Team


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