|Statement from Rep. Keith Ellison on the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012|
|May 09, 2012|
“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. I voted ‘present’ because I agree with much of the legislation but found some provisions problematic.
“My record on peace, security and democracy in the Middle East is clear and consistent. Durable peace in the region will require U.S. leadership that promotes a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine and active engagement with the emerging governments in the Arab Spring states.
“I agree with many provisions in H.R. 4133, which echo previous resolutions that I have supported. For example, I have consistently supported a two-state solution that provides enduring peace and security in the Middle East. I voted for the authorization of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in 2010, and I am a cosponsor of the Iron Dome Support Act (H.R. 4229). I also support efforts to limit the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and I oppose the accumulation of rocket stockpiles by terrorist groups that threaten Israelis.
“However, several provisions in the resolution are problematic because they undermine U.S. relationships with our allies in the region. For example, the resolution states a concern about the fall of autocratic regimes ‘long considered to be stabilizing forces’ in the region. This statement is at odds with official U.S. policy that has supported the democracy movements known as The Arab Spring. Do we really mean to express concern over the loss of despots like Mubarak and Gaddafi? The resolution also refers to the influence of ‘radical Islamists,’ an overly generic characterization that could harm our relationships with these emerging democracies, and does not account for the diversity of political views in the region.
“I am also concerned with the language that seems to shift American policy toward Iran. The resolution warns that Iran ‘may soon attain a nuclear weapons capability,’ a position that goes beyond the Obama Administration’s assessment and could lower the barriers to a military strike against Iran. Even Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz has said he doesn’t believe Iran’s leaders have decided to build a nuclear weapon yet.
“The Congress should advance a U.S. foreign policy that is engaged with all countries in the Middle East and that promotes peace and democracy. While I agree with many points of H.R. 4133, I voted ‘present’ because the resolution contained provisions that undermine U.S. foreign policy goals.”