with our friends in Israel and avoid a “Flounder Moment
Everyday we read about the latest atrocities committed by Islamic extremists, threatening the security and liberties of free people everywhere.
It’s a particularly troubling time for America, for Israel, and for the entire civilized world. It’s a time for unity and resolve – as together we address the various elements of a global scourge of hatred, violence, and intolerance. Over time, we must rid the planet of this metastasizing
Since entering Congress, I’ve actively promoted America’s partnership with Israel as essential not only to both nations – but to the security and liberties of the civilized world.
I will remain 100% steadfast in my support for the Jewish State. My team and I will continue to do what we can to (1) support Israel’s right to
self-defense, (2) condemn and constrain those who threaten Israel, and (3) fund critical U.S. Aid to Israel. Under the exceptional leadership of Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Elliott Engel (D-NY), I proudly serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We are unwavering in bi-partisan support for Israel.
In February, President Obama submitted his FY 2016 budget, including $3.1 billion in security assistance for Israel. With growing dangers from Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, ISIS, Yemen, and clearly Iran, Israel may be forced to significantly increase its defense spending, even as it faces overall budget challenges on domestic issues. Israel must maintain its critical military edge and its deterrence capabilities in the face of existential threats. And Congress must continue to support Israeli Aid.
U.S. assistance to Israel serves U.S. interests. By law 75% of our aid to Israel must be spent in the U.S., directly boosting America’s defense technology and the American companies involved. Israeli battlefield innovations, intelligence, and training of U.S. forces in the region are of critical value to our troops, helping us improve our own military equipment and tactics.
Since entering Congress last June, I’ve co-sponsored or co-signed every House resolution or legislation that supports Israel. Last summer, in my first formal speech from the Floor of the House, I condemned the unconscionable, unprovoked attacks by Hamas on the Israeli Homeland, and urged Congress to demonstrate full support for Israel during that war. I also commended the Israeli Defense Forces for their care, precision, and extraordinary steps taken to protect civilians as they defeated Hamas.
Throughout the fall, I urged Congress to take action, including stronger sanctions, to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from continuing on a path toward nuclear weapons.
At the recent AIPAC conference in Washington, I drew an analogy between what we are doing in our negotiations with Iran and the “Road Trip” in the classic comedy film “Animal House.” I reminded the audience of the part in that movie when Flounder lent the keys to his brother’s shiny black Lincoln to his drunken, misfit fraternity brothers, Boon and Pinto.
Of course, everyone knows in advance what is going to happen. Everyone knows disaster lies ahead. Everyone knows with 100% certainty that Flounder should not hand over the keys. The result is inevitable! And in the end Flounder is left with a smashed-up car.
So why today would we hand to Iran the keys to the development of a nuclear weapon? Centrifuges are the keys to enriched uranium. The Iranians also have the keys to a heavy water plutonium bomb-making factory at Arak. They have keys to long range missiles that can only be meant to deliver nuclear warheads. And they are blatant in their stated goal to eradicate Israel. Finally, while sponsoring terrorism around the world, Iran is gaining control in four Middle Eastern nations, from which Iran threatens Israel.
Certainly, the P5+1 nations are not led by a bunch of ignorant fraternity house misfits. But do they naively believe that Iran’s behavior will suddenly change for the better once they have a nuclear bomb?
We may be approaching our “Flounder moment.” But unlike “Animal House” this is not a comedy. When somebody asks us ten years from now why we handed over the nuclear keys to Iran, the only answer will be what Flounder discovered all too late – we messed up!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the Iranian threat crystal clear to the world when he addressed a Joint Session of Congress on March 3 – a memorable speech I was honored to attend.
America must insist that any final agreement includes the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure – so that Iran no longer has any pathway to a nuclear weapon. America must stand with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Merely extending by some number of years Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable!
While we all hope for a diplomatic solution, Iran has shown no willingness to give up nuclear capabilities. And they continue their rhetoric calling for the destruction of the Jewish State.
Iran continues their disruptive influence in the capital cities of Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, and Sana. They remain the world’s worst sponsor of Islamic jihad. They provide destabilizing assistance to Assad in Syria, to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the Shia militia in Iraq, and to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Iran’s centrifuges continue to spin, their plutonium reactor development at Arak proceeds uninterrupted – as does their program to develop long-range missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. These are hardly positive signs of a nation that is to be trusted in a search for lasting peace.
I believe in peace through strength; strength through our military and Intelligence partnership with Israel; strength in Congressional review of final terms – before any agreement is signed. If negotiations fail, we need to re-impose the sanctions recently waived, and impose even stronger sanctions going forward.
The situation with Iran is extremely dangerous. If Iran ever develops nuclear weapon capabilities it would be a “game-changer,” leading to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. It would destroy any hope for sustainable peace and security in what is already the world’s most dangerous neighborhood.
United with Israel we must stand.