by Rosemary Becchi, Becchi for Congress
Israel is our closest ally and the one true Democracy in the Middle East. I am a strong supporter of Israel because I believe it is in America’s interest as well as New Jersey’s interest. In fact, New Jersey has a partnership with Israel where Israel is investing in jobs right here in New Jersey. Many Israeli businesses operate in New Jersey.
My connection to Israel is also very personal. My sister has a son with non-verbal autism. She is also Executive Director of Project Oral Health, which is a collaboration between various health organizations such as Henry Schein and brings dental care to the disabled community. Through her, I have seen the advancements that wonderful organizations such as Shalva in Jerusalem provide to the disability community. One of their unique programs is Oral Health for Everyone (OHEV, which means love in Hebrew), which is geared toward decreasing the cost and risk of dental treatment for individuals with disabilities to improve their overall health and quality of life.
I believe there is no alliance more important than that between the United States and Israel. It is a mutually beneficial alliance that allows both countries to advance the cause of freedom and security. Our countries are committed to the rule of law, human rights and freedom.
To preserve this relationship, the United States must aggressively confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions and replace the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) with an agreement that will completely block Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons, and ensuring that Iran can no longer spread terrorism around the world and to terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, that support and regularly attack Israel.
The United States must make clear that it stands with Israel by providing military assistance, insisting on the same commitment to the peace process from Palestinian leaders that Israel’s leaders have shown, and strengthening economic and political relations between the two countries.
I also believe that we must fight the troubling rise of anti-Semitism and the rise of the BDS movement around the world and here in the United States. I support President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a campaign promise past presidents made for decades, but which previous administrations failed to deliver.
Israel is a crucial ally, and support for Israel should be an issue that unites Americans across party lines. Unfortunately some in Washington, fueled by reckless rhetoric, are trying to make America’s relationship with Israel a divisive issue. And support for Israel, including in the US Congress, has never been in a more precarious position as it under attack on several fronts.
As a strong supporter of Israel, I will work across party lines to develop relationships with my colleagues built around our shared commitment to Israel and our shared values of democracy, freedom and diversity. I will also strongly advocate as a member of Congress against anti- Semitism that should have no place in Congress, our country or the world. And finally, I will support as a member of Congress the United States’ continued support of Israel both financially, diplomatically and militarily.
The Peace Process
The peace process is important to Israel’s security and the future of the Middle East. But it must begin with the recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and that it must be allowed to exist free of constant terrorist aggression. America must continue to play a role in facilitating a peace plan between Israel and Palestinians. Bilateral negotiations are the only way to make sure that there is an equable and long-lasting solution.
To send a strong message for any negotiations, the United States must stand against terrorist organizations, like Hezbollah and Hamas, across the Middle East. Congress must also guarantee that any peace plan gives Israel defensible borders, internal security, and guarantees its right to exist as a Jewish state is recognized. Any negotiation with the Palestinians must begin with the understanding that Israel’s existence as a Jewish State be accepted by the Palestinians and that the Palestinians renounce terrorism as a means of achieving their goals. And it should also recognize that trading land for peace harms Israel’s ability to defend itself from aggression.
Israel’s Right to Defend Itself
Israel has a right to defend itself, both its borders and its people. The United States must make clear that it stands with the people of Israel against its enemies, particularly Iran.
The Israeli Defense Forces is a critical partner of the U.S. military, and we must recognize the IDF makes every effort to protect civilian life, something Israel’s opponents do the exact opposite of as they target Israeli civilians with terrorism.
Hamas, which has killed thousands of innocent Israelis and many Americans in its attacks, must not be allowed to continue expanding the terror infrastructure in Gaza. The disarmament of Hamas is critical to peace in the region. Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army, is a vicious terrorist organization with a singular goal of destroying Israel. The end of support for all terrorist organizations should be a goal of a new Iranian deal forced by U.S. sanctions. US sanctions against Iran are having a direct impact on Iran’s ability to fund terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, proof that United States policy can have a direct impact on Israel’s security.
The UN turns a blind eye to the state sponsorship of terrorism and human rights violations of Israel’s neighbors while attacking and demonizing Israel despite its efforts to protect civilians and human rights while combating terrorism. The United Nations Human Rights Council’s
notorious hostility toward Israel is an embarrassment to the international community. The US must back Israel and pressure the UN to stop attacking Israel diplomatically.
The Threat from Iran
I agree with President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the dangerous Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA). The international community cannot trust a regime that incites mobs to chant “death to America” and demands the total annihilation of Israel to uphold its end of a deal that will allow Iran to pursue nuclear weapons when it sunsets.
Iran cannot be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to Israel and the United States that cannot be tolerated. Iran’s leaders have said in the past that they would use nuclear weapons to “wipe Israel off of the map.” Iran’s obtaining of nuclear weapons would likely lead to increased nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, increase the possibility of terrorist organizations acquiring nuclear weapons and material and allow the Iranian regime to hold the world hostage. The United States is right to be a global leader by letting the international community and the Iranians know that Iran’s current role as the number one state- sponsor of terrorism is simply unacceptable.
I support the President’s effort to strangle the Iranian regime with sanctions and bring the Iranians to the table to negotiate a deal that truly prevents the Iranians from ever developing a nuclear weapon and halting their spread of terrorism around the globe.
Economic and Military Support for Israel
The U.S. and Israel should continue working together to develop stronger economic ties, like the investment Israeli companies have made in New Jersey. Israel has an advanced defense industry and an innovative high-tech industry that rivals anything outside of Silicon Valley. The U.S. must strategically aid Israel to ensure that they are prepared to stand and fight against those who seek to destroy them. I fully support continued U.S. aid and programs that provide support to Israel to help our ally defend itself against Iran and the host of other threats that it constantly faces. Foreign aid to Israel plays a vital role in strengthening our national security by maintaining Israel’s ability to build and maintain a strong military capable of deterring aggression in the Middle East and terrorism across the globe. In Congress, I will support the expansion of the Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel to expand our economic and military cooperation.
BDS is Anti-Semitic
A dangerous assault on Israel comes from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It is an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic attack on the nation of Israel. From European governments to American Universities to elements of the news media, Israel’s enemies seek to economically crush it. I believe the United States should lead the way in opposing these efforts.