An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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This week, tens of thousands of Americans tuned into to the 2020 Virtual Summit. We were thrilled to hear from a host of top leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ambassadors David Friedman, Ron Dermer and Nikki Haley, and more than a half-dozen Members of Congress representing both parties.

The event was a resounding success, and as we write this, we are seeing CUFI activists inundate elected officials with emails, tweets and phone calls in support of the CUFI legislative agenda discussed in today’s update.

The Focus and the Fringe

The CUFI 2020 Virtual Summit legislative agenda is focused on core elements of support for the US-Israel relationship. As we’ve noted previously, fringe voices in Congress are seeking to upend the decades-old bipartisan consensus in support of the US investment in Israel’s security. Any rollback would be a direct threat to the safety and security of the Israeli people.

In fact, just this week, a handful of members of the House led by none other than Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez circulated a venomous letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that relies upon outlandish slanders of the Jewish state to further their personal project of undermining the US-Israel relationship.

The Washington Free Beacon recently reported that Ocasio-Cortez was “tout[ing]support from anti-Semitic groups” in support of her letter, and that some of these supporters have ties to terrorist groups and back the anti-Semitic movement to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) Israel.

Congress has a long tradition of reasonable disagreement and debate, but this letter does not fall into that category. The scorched earth campaign against Israel being waged by fringe Democrats does their party and our country a great disservice.

Make no mistake, Israel-haters in Congress will fail. But we cannot leave a pro-Israel vacuum in the discussion. As such, the three bills included in the CUFI Virtual Summit legislative agenda are as timely as ever.

The Legislation

Following this year’s Summit, CUFI activists are seeking congressional support for these three bipartisan pieces of legislation:

  1. The United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act (S.3176): This legislation codifies the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding signed by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. The ten-year military assistance agreement between the two nations is aimed at securing Israel against regional enemies and maintains Israel as a cornerstone of U.S. national security in the Middle East. The legislation also enhances cooperation in key technological areas and extends both war reserve stockpile authority and loan guarantees to Israel through 2025.

    While this legislation previously passed the House, it now includes an authorization for $12 million that seeks “to enhance partnerships between companies in the United States and Israel to develop innovative medical projects aimed at detecting, treating, and curing COVID-19.” As such, it will return to the House where we are hoping it moves forward swiftly.

  1. The 2021 House and Senate State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill: This annual legislation appropriates $3.3 billion in American military aid to Israel. This assistance ensures Israel’s ability to defend itself and directly benefits the US as well. 75 percent of this aid must be spent in the United States, thereby supporting American jobs and ensuring America maintains our quantitative and qualitative military manufacturing superiority in an uncertain world.

    Such support, which accounts for less than one percent of the federal budget also, ensures Israel is best positioned to provide the US with vital intelligence, exceptional military related technological advancements which help protect American troops, and a true safe-zone for American servicemen and woman in the Middle East.

  1. The US-Israel Military Capability Act (S.3775 & H.R.7148): This legislation would establish a permanent and dedicated working group for U.S. national security officials and their counterparts in the Israeli government to collaborate on the research and development of technology used for national defense.

In Other News

Elsewhere, CUFI Action Fund is extremely grateful to Senators Jacky Rosen and Marsha Blackburn for leading a bipartisan, bicameral letter calling upon European Union (EU) member states to designate Hezbollah – in its entirety – as a terrorist organization. 

“Hezbollah has increasingly used Europe as a launching pad for its criminal and terrorist activities, including money laundering, drug smuggling, recruitment, and training. In particular, Hezbollah’s fundraising and illicit business activities have generated additional annual revenue which the organization uses to support its global terrorism, including a 2012 Hezbollah terror attack in Bulgaria that killed 5 Israeli tourists and 1 Bulgarian citizen,” the lawmakers note in the letter.

The case for proscribing Hezbollah is clear. It’s own leadership does not believe there are separate ‘wings’ of the organization. And we are grateful to allies in Berlin and London for taking affirmative steps in the right direction. We hope policymakers in other European capitals will summon the courage to fully and legally declare Hezbollah what it plainly is: a terrorist organization.

Thanks to all of you who tuned in to this year’s CUFI Virtual Summit. We hope to see you next year in Washington when the annual CUFI Summit returns to our nation’s capital. 


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