NEW YORK, May 11, 2012 -- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised the House of Representatives for passing the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (H.R. 4133) by an almost unanimous vote. The bi-partisan bill was introduced by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and passed by a vote of 411-2. Voting against were Rep. John Dingell, (D-MI) and Rep, Ron Paul (R-TX). Nine members did not vote for the bill, but simply voted ‘PRESENT,” including Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), André Carson (D-IN), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). The U.S. Senate is considering similar legislation that is sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), along with 32 co-sponsors so far. AIPAC and ZOA’s Government Relations Department have been engaged in both houses in educating members about issues relating to Israel’s Defense, and the common threats the US and Israel face in the region.
All but one of the eleven representatives who made a point of not voting for the bill are aligned with the extremist, far-left, pro-Arab ‘J-Street.’ ZOA is distressed and disappointed that according to Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, J-Street itself remained “neutral” on the bill, and declined an opportunity to comment further on this matter.
This bipartisan legislation reaffirms and strengthens the deep military and security relationship between the United States and Israel, and reflects the bi-partisan consensus of the US Congress that this relationship must continue to thrive. It also reaffirms Israel’s right to defend itself against threats and reiterates America’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, recognizing that a secure Israel will always be in America’s national interest. Additionally, this House legislation strengthens strategic cooperation between the US and Israel in missile defense, homeland security, intelligence, energy security and cyber-warfare. The aim is to maintain and protect Israel's Qualitative Military Edge and ensure that Israel remains the preeminent military power in the region, where it is threatened by Iran and others. The Administration is required by this bill to report to Congress within 180 days on the status of Israel’s qualitative superiority “in light of current trends and instability in the region.”
Specifically, the legislation encourages the President to provide additional assistance to support US-Israel joint missile defense efforts; allocates additional weaponry and munitions to the forward-deployed US stockpile located in Israel; strengthens multilateral efforts to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza and to protect against terrorist attacks from the Sinai peninsula; expands already close intelligence cooperation between the US and Israel. The bill also establishes as policy that the US will veto any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations.
The bill is beneficial to both Israel and the US. The intelligence the U.S. receives from Israel exceeds that which the U.S. receives from all NATO countries combined. The U.S. has also benefitted greatly from Israeli innovation and technology in the military realm. In fact, Israel often makes sacrifices of its own for the security relationship between the two countries.
Majority Leader Cantor stated: “This bill re-affirms Israel’s right to defend itself against threats and puts Congress on the record about America's long-standing commitment to the US-Israel strategic relationship, a unique and special relationship founded on shared interests and shared democratic values.” On the floor of the House, Rep. Hoyer added: “Democrats and Republicans stand together when it comes to supporting our friend and ally Israel…. There needs to be a clear understanding by all those who would threaten Israel that the United States stands with her, because it is in our – the United States’ – security interest to do so, and because it is morally and ethically the right thing to do as well.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said “It is gratifying to see the efforts of ZOA, AIPAC, and supporters of Israel in the Congress result in such an important piece of legislation. America is safer and the Middle East Region is safer when all of our potential enemies realize that there is close military and political cooperation between Israel and the US. Once again the House of Representatives has led the way, and ZOA expects the Senate will also do everything necessary to maintain Israel’s qualitative edge in the region. “
ZOA Government Relations Co-Directors Daniel Pollak and Joshua London stated “The passage of this bill is a milestone in demonstrating the importance that the US Congress places on the security relationship with Israel. If direct action should become necessary to prevent Iran from achieving a military nuclear capability, the detailed improvements in Israel’s refueling capability, missile defense, and specialized munitions could well prove decisive in the resolution of the crisis. Every joint exercise between US and Israeli forces demonstrates to our common adversaries that there is no hope of prevailing in a conflict with either democracy. We expect the Senate to take up and pass this important legislation as soon as possible, and ZOA will work to educate Senators about the vital nature of each of the provisions in this law.