Statement by William Kristol, Chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, known as the Corker-Cardin bill:
The Emergency Committee for Israel supports efforts by several senators to strengthen the Corker-Cardin bill. That the legislation needs to be strengthened is clear from today's statements by Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, who has obviously been assured by Secretary Kerry that Iran need not worry about the Corker bill in its current form. But if Iran need not worry, then the Corker bill as currently drafted, and the process it envisions, is not only toothless but worthless.
The Emergency Committee for Israel also strongly objects to efforts by Senators Corker and Cardin to stifle debate and prevent votes on the various amendments that have been offered. Senators Corker and Cardin are engaged in various parliamentary maneuvers to prevent votes on important and germane amendments. What are they scared of? And what are the outside groups that support a no-amendments strategy trying to accomplish? Their efforts, if successful, would ensure passage of a bill that both President Obama and the Iranians are confident will have no effect in blocking a bad deal later.
But passage of a toothless bill is not assured – as is suggested the desperate efforts of its sponsors, the Administration, and the Iranian government to shut down criticism and debate. It's understandable that the Iranian government loathes debate and prefers the blocking of votes. It's unfortunate that the Obama Administration and the sponsors of this bill seem to agree.
Today William Kristol, Chairman, Emergency Committee for Israel, and Gary L. Bauer, Chairman, Christians United for Israel Action Fund, released the following statement on the emerging Democratic boycott of the Israeli Prime Minister's speech to Congress:
In mid-January, the Speaker of the House of Representatives invited the Prime Minister of Israel to address Congress. The Prime Minister accepted the invitation. He will deliver remarks to a joint session of Congress on March 3rd.
Some Senators and Congressmen are now threatening to boycott the speech. Whatever their intentions and reasons, their action will be construed, at home and abroad, as a victory for the enemies of Israel and the enemies of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
Some members of Congress claim to be upset that the Speaker may have violated protocol or blindsided the Administration by inviting the Prime Minister. But then why take their anger out on the Prime Minister, and thereby on the State of Israel? Others claim that this speech will somehow help the Prime Minister in his reelection campaign -- as if Israeli voters are going to base their choice on one speech to the U.S. Congress, a speech in which the Israeli Prime Minister will reiterate arguments about Iran's nuclear program with which the major opposition parties agree and on which there is national unity.
The bottom line is simple: The enemies of Israel benefit most from this campaign against the Israeli Prime Minister's speech. Whatever their views on Israeli politics or the Iranian nuclear negotiations, members of Congress who are friends of Israel should not play into the hands of Israel's enemies -- and America's -- by boycotting this speech. Boycotting Israel is high on the agenda of the enemies of Israel. Welcoming Israel's Prime Minister to the halls of Congress is the least that those who claim to be friends of the Jewish state should do.
As representatives of two proudly pro-Israel organizations, we urge members of Congress to do the right thing for the U.S. and Israel. And for those who would turn their backs on Israel and boycott its leader -- they are no friends of Israel, and we pledge to do our best to educate voters about their undermining of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship at this crucial hour.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on the refusal of the Obama administration to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to the United States:
The Emergency Committee for Israel salutes Speaker Boehner for inviting the Prime Minister of Israel to address Congress. We and millions of Americans look forward to hearing from him on March 3, and we appreciate the Prime Minister taking time out of his re-election campaign to speak to the American people.
It's unfortunate that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are choosing not to meet with the Prime Minister. But we trust the Israeli people are aware that in snubbing their Prime Minister, President Obama does not represent the views of the great majority of Americans. In order to do our part to make the Israeli Prime Minister feel welcome in Washington, ECI will host a reception in the Prime Minister's honor to make clear, in case there's any doubt, that whatever the president does or says, Americans value our friendship with our ally Israel.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on the latest failure of the Obama administration's Iran talks:
After relaxing sanctions and making ill-advised concessions on Iran's nuclear program, the Obama Administration has nonetheless been unable to close a deal. There's no point waiting seven months for either another failure or a truly terrible deal. Congress should act now to reimpose sanctions and re-establish U.S. red lines that will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. To that end, such legislation must limit the president's authority to waive sanctions, an authority the president has already signaled a willingness to abuse in his desperate quest for a deal with the mullahs.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on the Obama administration's call for a cease-fire in Gaza and John Kerry's trip to the Middle East:
Israel does not need a mediator. Israel needs an ally. Pressuring Israel to agree to a cease-fire that rescues Hamas from defeat and leaves it in possession of its missiles, tunnels, and terror infrastructure is foolish and wrong. If President Obama and Secretary Kerry want to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, they should support Israel and its campaign to end the terror threat from Gaza.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on Secretary of State John Kerry's use of the term "apartheid state" to threaten Israel:
On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the specter of Israel as an "apartheid state." Even Barack Obama condemned the use of this term when running for president in 2008.
Yet this was no gaffe. Secretary Kerry's musings on the Jewish state's dire future have become a regular feature of his public remarks. His latest prediction follows other statements in recent months that have in effect threatened Israel -- never the Palestinians -- with a list of disasters should his diplomatic efforts fail: violence, isolation, delegitimization, boycotts -- and now "apartheid."
It is no longer enough for the White House to clean up after the messes John Kerry has made. It is time for John Kerry to step down as Secretary of State, or for President Obama to fire him. And it would go a long way toward repairing the damage Kerry has done if his predecessor as Secretary of State, who is the likely Democratic Party nominee for president, explained why this kind of rhetoric had no place in her State Department and why it will have no place in her presidential campaign.
Statement by William Kristol, Chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, on the withdrawal of Democratic support for a vote on the Senate Iran sanctions bill:
We commend 42 Senators for their strong letter demanding a vote on S. 1881, the bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, which has been cosponsored by more than half of the Senate. The bill is simple and reasonable. It would reimpose existing sanctions suspended under the interim agreement if Iran cheats; it would ensure that a final agreement requires Iran to dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure; and it promises to impose additional economic sanctions in the future should Iran fail to agree to a final deal that dismantles its nuclear infrastructure.
As the Senators put it in their letter to the Majority Leader, “Now we have come to a crossroads. Will the Senate allow Iran to keep its illicit nuclear infrastructure in place, rebuild its teetering economy and ultimately develop nuclear weapons at some point in the future?”
The answer to this question must be no. The Senate should act now to deliver that answer. It would be nice if there were universal bipartisan support for acting now to stop a nuclear Iran. But there apparently is not. And it would be terrible if history's judgment on the pro-Israel community was that it made a fetish of bipartisanship -- and got a nuclear Iran.