The U.S.-Israel Relationship
What binds our two nations is an absolute commitment to democracy. We share a long and deep alliance founded on our dedication to the rule of law, individual freedom of religion and the right to free speech.
This long-standing relationship enables the two allies to tackle common threats, including terrorism and weapons proliferation. It is important to recognize that this is a two-way street. Israeli innovations have been instrumental to defense and have helped protect American soldiers abroad and civilians at home.
Importantly, joint U.S.-Israel research and trade has helped strengthen the economies of both nations. Joint research programs and a Free Trade Agreement – the first between the United States and any country – have spurred collaboration, innovation and commerce between the allies. This is especially important for New Mexico as two pillars of our economy are national defense and agriculture – areas in which Israeli collaboration and creativity provide many opportunities for economic growth and partnership.
And, as allies, we have an obligation to hold each other accountable as leaders in the peace process.
The Peace Process
I believe in a two-state solution and will work in Congress for efforts supporting this goal. This is the most direct path to ending decades of strife in the region and forging a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
At the core of this solution are direct talks between the parties. I support a significant role for the United States in facilitation, but we cannot dictate the terms of peace, nor should the United States unilaterally act, as President Trump has done. I also reject the notion that real peace can be achieved with the unilateral actions of international organizations.
Lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians requires participation from across the region as well and Arab states must take a more constructive role. The United States can help motivate nations across the region to begin the normalization of relation with Israel and help them take concrete steps to support Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
The single greatest threat to Israel and the region at large today is a nuclear Iran. Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period.
My position is clear: The United States must never permit it to acquire nuclear weapons. A nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to Israel and would arm the leading state sponsor of terrorism with the world’s deadliest weapon.
However, I also believe that we cannot pull out of the nuclear deal that does provide greater transparency and international oversight; but we must instead focus on strict accountability, strong inspections and the harshest consequences for violations.
Iran has violated international law, conducting ballistic missile tests in defiance of U.N. prohibitions and doubled the size of its defense spending. They have brought operational surface-to-air missile defense systems and deployed thousands of troops to fight in proxy wars, including the Syrian civil war. Their arms, training and funding goes directly to support Hezbollah terrorists and Shia militiamen—including those who operate along Israel’s northern border.
The Iranian regime also has a horrific record on human rights. Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Christians and Bahais face daily persecution while homosexuality is punishable by death. Their political elections are fraudulent, media censorship is rampant and arrests of journalists are widespread.
Threats to Israel & Israeli Security
Stability and security for all parties is essential to any framework for peace. Today, Israel is faced with an unprecedented number of threats along its borders.
Like every country, Israel has an inherent right to defend its citizens from attacks and threats to their existence from nation-states and terrorists.
Israel has faced increasing number of rockets attacks by both Hamas and Hezbollah during the past decade. The United States has repeatedly backed Israel’s right to defend its citizens in the face of ongoing attacks and rejected attempts by the United Nations and others to question this right. I will absolutely support the continuance of this policy.
In Congress, I will work to ensure that funding is continued and the assistance the United States provides to Israel is protected. Specifically, I will support $3.3 billion in foreign aid and $500 million in missile defense money annually.
The Assad regime and its supporters must be held accountable for the devastating civil war that has raged for years and made Syria a breeding ground for all sorts of terrorist organizations and their sympathizers.
This includes supporters of the regime and in Congress I will work to impose the harshest sanctions and restrictions on those who condone and support Assad’s efforts.
Hamas & Hezbollah
Threats from Hamas and Hezbollah, among others, must be addressed to achieve peace. Not every Palestinian is a member of these terrorist organizations and the United States should support those working for peace as forcefully as we protect those in Israel working for the same.
This includes preventing Hamas from rebuilding infrastructure around terrorism capabilities with the goal of ultimately disarming and demilitarizing these groups.
I strongly believe that the United Nations, though not perfect, continues to be the best way to resolve international conflicts. However, when it comes to Israel, I will work to resolve some long-standing concerns around double standards and questions about Israel’s legitimacy. I will also not allow Israel to be singled out on human rights and work to end decades of isolation.
President Trump was wrong to unilaterally recognize a capital for Israel. While Israel has always considered Jerusalem as their capital and we can acknowledge and support that as their decision, an American declaration of that policy unnecessarily inflamed regional conflicts which aren’t yet resolved amongst the parties.
As with many of President Trump’s actions I also believe that his recent announcement that changed decades of bi-partisan policy on this issue could have many unintended consequences, especially for regional stability and national security. Making these incredibly intricate and consequential discussions via twitter only further illustrates how dangerous this administration is, given our longstanding commitment to be a partner with every party involved.