Fifteen years ago, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: “For 60 years now, American administrations – Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative – have differed over many, many things, but one thing unites our government: We are committed to the freedom, the well-being, and the security of our democratic ally, Israel.”
This was the strength of the bipartisan relationship that was the foundation stone of the U.S. – Israel relationship.
It was Democratic President Harry S. Truman who ignored all advice to recognize the new State of Israel 11 minutes after it was declared, it was Republican President Ronald Reagan who placed the freeing of Soviet Jewry at the top of his agenda for ending the Cold War.
There have been many presidents from both sides of the aisle who have left an indelible mark on the U.S. – Israel relationship for the good.
This is due, in great part, to the fact that regardless of the decision, the person sitting in the White House feels the overwhelming majority of support from the American people, who understand instinctively that the Jewish State is an unflinching ally.
Nonetheless, this bipartisan support is seeing some erosion, but not as much as some might gleefully celebrate.
Only a couple of months ago, The House voted 400-19 in favor of a resolution expressing support for the U.S.-Israel relationship in honor of the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding.
While much of the international media focused on the 19 who voted against, lost was the excellent news that the bipartisan support remained strong, with the resolution sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans.
In other words, 95% of Congress expressed full and unreserved support for Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
This is something to be celebrated, but too many bewail the few naysayers, who thankfully remain on the outermost margins of both parties.
This resolution is not an isolated event.
Congressmen from both parties continue to press for stronger and deeper relations.
Take for example, Representative Juan Vargas (D – CA) who introduced the Combating BDS Act of 2016, one of the most vociferous critics of the JCPOA (known as the Iran nuclear deal), and has consistently called supporting Israel a “progressive” ideal.
Then there is Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), who along with Democratic and Republican colleagues introduced the United States-Israel Future of Warfare Act of 2023 to help protect Israel against new and developing threats, and only weeks ago introduced legislation to extend and increase international development cooperation between the United States and Israel.
Congressman Wilson led the official House delegation that attended the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem and has been vocal about the need to address anti-Israel bias at the UN.
As her role as Vice Chair of the influential Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Kathy Manning (D – NC) is a strong advocate for maintaining a strong relationship between the United States and Israel, and help the Jewish State maintain its qualitative military edge (QME), in particular.
Representative Paul Gosar (R – AZ) is also a tried and trusted friend of Israel for over a decade.
He has frequently stood by Israel and describes the U.S. – Israel relationship as transcending “political affiliations and has remained a pillar of U.S. – Israeli foreign policy and diplomacy.”
Congressman Gosar has sponsored dozens of resolutions strengthening Israel, like The Stand With Israel Act of 2014, H.R. 1337, which would have cut all aid to the Palestinian Authority because of its terrorist attacks on Israel. He passed multiple amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act in support of Israel’s inherent right to self-defense against regional aggression and co-sponsored a bill (H.Res.246) that opposes the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (or BDS) Movement.
Few Congressmen are as clear, articulate and consistent on their track records towards the Jewish State.
In addition, as the chairman of the Golda Meir Commemorative Coin Committee, I have met with many other true friends of Israel, and was able to bring together a bipartisan group to create the The Golda Meir Commemorative Coin Act, championed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) in Congress, alongside Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the Senate.
These are some of the unsung American heroes of continued bipartisan support for Israel.
I have worked with many of them and know that they are just the tip of the iceberg.
We need to sound out and ignore those who stand against Israel because their numbers are few and misleading. As they say, empty vessels make the most the most noise, or in politics, vacuous politics makes for headlines, whereas the true hard work is largely unnoticed.
We need to focus more on the good things that are happening. We need to champion and cheer them on and lend our support. This is the way we further and reinvigorate the U.S. – Israel relationship.