NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY
New members of Congress have arrived in the nation’s capital from across the United States. The 112th session of Congress begins in January.
On Election Day last month, voters elected 96 new representatives to send to the U.S. Congress—87 Republicans and nine Democrats.
New House Member Profiles: Part 1
Despite the many changes brought about by the 2010 elections, the incoming 112th Congress is expected to be the most pro-Israel Congress ever. Many of Israel’s strongest supporters were reelected.
In the House, 96 new representatives were elected—87 Republicans and 9 Democrats. Republicans gained 63 seats. The chamber’s makeup will be 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats.
Fifty-two incumbent House Democrats lost their seats this cycle; in all the elections from 1994 through 2008 combined, a total of only 49 Democratic incumbents were defeated.
AIPAC lay leaders and staff have established relationships with every new member of Congress and, to date, have received position papers on U.S. Middle East policy from nearly all of the freshmen-to-be. In those papers, the new members of Congress express their support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. Many also emphasize the danger of Iran’s nuclear program and other issues important to U.S. policy in the region.
The previous edition of Near East Report profiled the new senators. In this edition, NER profiles one-third of the new House members. The remaining two-thirds will be profiled in future editions of NER.
AL-02 Martha Roby: Montgomery City Councilor Martha Roby (R) defeated incumbent Bobby Bright (D) in this southeastern Alabama district.
“As a member of Congress, I will actively work to strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Israel,” wrote Roby in a position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “I will support Israel’s efforts to combat terrorism and to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction among nations and groups who seek to do the United States and Israel harm.
AL-05 Mo Brooks: Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks (R) defeated Steve Raby (D) in the race to fill the Huntsville-area seat of Rep. Parker Griffith (R), who lost in the Republican primary.
“America must remain a strong ally of Israel and continue to help empower Israel to defend its way of life and right to exist in the face of Israeli foes and aggressors,” wrote Brooks in his position paper about the U.S.-Israel relationship. “The United States should stand with Israel and do everything reasonable to encourage Israel’s neighbors and enemies to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to cease attacks on Israeli soil.”
AL-07 Terri Sewell: Birmingham attorney Terri Sewell (D) was victorious over Don Chamberlain (R) in the race to fill the seat in this district representing portions of Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The seat was formerly held by Rep. Artur Davis (D), who unsuccessfully ran for governor.
In her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Sewell wrote about her trip to Israel during graduate school, where she “witnessed first hand the daily threat of terrorism and its impact on a society and a state and, therefore, understand[s] the importance of an active national self-defense.” She also noted the importance of U.S. aid to Israel, pointing out that “apart from the moral imperative of helping a fellow democracy,” the U.S. benefits directly from its commitment to the Jewish state “through the sharing of military resources and knowledge, including missile defense, joint-training exercises and anti-terror experience.”
AR-01 Rick Crawford: In the race to replace retiring Rep. Marion Berry (D), agriculture journalist Rick Crawford (R) defeated former Berry chief of staff Chad Causey (D) in this Jonesboro-based district.
“As Israel uniquely shares the fundamental ideals of the United States, has proven to be a vital ally in the war against terrorism and shares the United States’ desire for a peaceful world, I will always support and defend Israel through my votes, my prayers and my voice,” wrote Crawford in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. He also pointed out the benefits to the United States of foreign aid to Israel, noting that “three quarters of the defense dollars provided to Israel are returned to the United States in the form of high-paying jobs in the defense industries” and “American exporters in other fields are also benefactors of increased opportunities, because Israeli stability breeds U.S. economic activity.”
AR-02 Tim Griffin: Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin (R) triumphed over state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D) to win the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Vic Snyder (D).
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Griffin discussed the 62-year-old relationship between the two countries. He wrote that the “bipartisan bond” is “based not on partisan politics, but eternal principles: free and representative government, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech and religion, and free and fair markets.” He added that “we must always stress that the U.S.-Israel alliance transcends the peace process and can’t be threatened by occasional (and private) disagreements.”
AR-03 Steve Womack: Rogers Mayor Steve Womack (R) defeated Fayetteville Assistant City Attorney David Whitaker (D) in this Fayetteville-based open seat, previously held by Sen.-elect John Boozman (R).
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Womack said that he would “commit the full weight of my office to Israel’s security, survival, and success.” He also strongly backed continued foreign assistance to Israel, writing that he fully understands “the pressure on the United States Congress to curtail spending; however it is in the world’s best interest that support for Israel be honored as a sign of U.S. leadership on the issue. Any attempt at a reduction in aid to Israel will most certainly demonstrate ‘weakness’ by the U.S. on our commitment to the Jewish nation.”
AZ-01 Paul Gosar: Dentist Paul Gosar (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in this northern Arizona district.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Gosar wrote that the U.S. and Israel have a “shared history” and that Israel is “an island of democracy and prosperity, an island where free speech, the right to vote, and tolerance for all religions thrives, while surrounded by a sea of despotic tyrannies.”
AZ-03 Ben Quayle: Attorney Ben Quayle (R) bested businessman Jon Hulburd (D) to take the seat of retiring Rep. John Shadegg (R) in this Phoenix-based district.
Quayle, in his position paper about the U.S.-Israel relationship, stressed the importance of doing “everything within our power” to stop Iran’s progress in obtaining nuclear weapons, including “the implementation of recently passed economic sanctions by Congress, which I believe could have been even tougher.” He added that “most importantly, we must prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons or acquiring the ability to assemble them quickly.”
AZ-05 David Schweikert: Former Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert (R) defeated Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) in this Scottsdale and Tempe-based district.
“As the only true democracy in the region that values freedom and liberty, I believe it is absolutely imperative that the U.S. continues to maintain and enhance strong and unwavering support for Israel,” he wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Keeping Israel safe means keeping America safe.”
CA-19 Jeff Denham: State Sen. Jeff Denham (R) was victorious over physician Lorraine Goodwin (D) to fill the seat vacated by retiring Rep. George Radanovich (R) in this Fresno-based district.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Denham described how he got first-hand experience in the “dangers of the Middle East” as a member of the U.S. Air Force serving on active duty during Operation Desert Storm. “The turbulence and instability of the region not only impact the future of Israel’s democracy but potentially the existence of democracy worldwide,” he wrote. “Those in Congress that advocate reducing our support for Israel are jeopardizing our own security.”
CA-33 Karen Bass: State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D) ran unopposed to win the open seat in this West Los Angeles-based district, replacing retiring Rep. Diane Watson (D).
Bass, in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, noted that as Speaker of the State Assembly, she helped move toward passage a bill mandating two state pension funds divest from companies that assist the Iranian regime. She added that as a member of Congress, “I will strongly sponsor resolutions and laws to further ratchet up economic pressure on Iran as a means of compelling the regime to abandon its dangerous nuclear agenda.”
CO-03 Scott Tipton: State Rep. Scott Tipton (R) defeated Rep. John Salazar (D) to win this Grand Junction and Pueblo-based seat.
Tipton wrote about his numerous trips to Israel in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. There he “saw a people, like my people, willing to risk all to have a country of their own. A people living not in fear but resolute in their desire to live free and ‘hopefully’ at peace.” He added that “while my first obligation is and always will be to my country and my people, I, also, have a deep affection and commitment to Israel [and its] security, perpetuation, people and prosperity.”
CO-04 Cory Gardner: State Rep. Cory Gardner (R) beat Rep. Betsy Markey (D) in this eastern Colorado district.
“I vigorously support Israel, because Israel vigorously supports America,” Gardner wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “A victory for Israel is a strategic and moral victory for the United States—both nations working together for peace and freedom, both nations working toward recognition by Arab states.”
DE-AL (at large) John Carney: Former Lt. Gov. John Carney (D) defeated developer Glen Urquhart (R) in the race to fill the seat of Rep. Mike Castle (R), who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Carney wrote, “[The] bond between the United States and Israel is built on shared values—a commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights and justice.” Carney also discussed how stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons “must be our highest priority in the Middle East,” noting that “by combining a nuclear weapons with its advanced ballistic missile program, Iran would pose a threat not only to Israel, which it has promised to ‘wipe off the map,’ but also to American forces in the region and to our Middle Eastern, Asian and European allies.”
FL-02 Steve Southerland: Funeral home owner Steve Southerland (R) defeated Rep. Allen Boyd (D) to take this Tallahassee-based seat.
Southerland wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship that “America must never waver in its support of Israel,” and that “we must remain a steady and committed partner in conquering shared challenges—including strengthening our mutual security, fostering economic development, and promoting human rights and the principles of democracy.” Southerland also discussed the importance of U.S. aid to Israel, pointing out that “our $3 billion yearly investment in Israel’s defenses amounts to a very small sum when compared to the important benefits we reap.”
FL-05 Rich Nugent: Hernando County Sheriff Rich Nugent (R) bested businessman Jim Piccillo (D) to fill the central Florida seat of retiring Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R).
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Nugent wrote the “most important reason for strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance is that is in our clear national interests” and that Israel is a “vital pillar in the U.S. national security strategy.” He added that when dealing with Iran in order to halt its pursuit of nuclear weapons, “we must keep all measures on the table while leveraging our economic power to alienate Iran’s leaders and bring the Iranian economy to its knees.”
FL-08 Daniel Webster: Former Florida Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster (R) defeated Rep. Alan Grayson (D) in this Orlando-area district.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Webster wrote about the “long-standing and common bonds grounded in freedom, democracy and respect for human rights” that the United States and Israel share. “Our partnership with Israel is based not merely on friendship but also on mutual respect—respect for each country’s right to self-defense and self-determination… born of the knowledge that each country is equally committed to a free and open society that grants civil rights to all its citizens, protects all within its borders and believes fully in the right of all of its citizens and all of its neighbors to live in just and lasting peace.”
FL-12 Dennis Ross: Former state Rep. Dennis Ross (R) knocked off former state Rep. Lori Edwards (D) in the race for the open seat of retiring Rep. Adam Putnam (R), who won the election for Florida commissioner of agriculture.
“Preserving the close relationship between the United States and Israel is both a strategic imperative and moral necessity for America,” Ross wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “As the only truly democratic and free state in the region, Israel stands alone amongst a sea of totalitarian regimes that demonize the Jewish state and use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a smokescreen to cover for their own political and economic failings.”
FL-17 Frederica Wilson: State Sen. Frederica Wilson (D) won the Democratic primary and was unopposed in the general election to fill the Miami-based seat of Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate.
In her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Wilson wrote that the U.S. should provide “reasonable and reliable financial aid to Israel” because “Israel and the United States are democracies sharing the same beliefs in human rights and dignity.” She added, “As a democratic state in an undemocratic part of the world we dare not stand aside as Israel’s enemies (and there are many) work tirelessly to destroy the country.”
FL-22 Allen West: Iraq War veteran Allen West (R) defeated Rep. Ron Klein (D) in this South Florida district.
“There are battle lines clearly drawn, I know where I stand, and that is to support the State of Israel,” West wrote in his position paper.
FL-24 Sandy Adams: State Rep. Sandy Adams (R) beat Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D) to win this Orlando-area seat.
In her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Adams wrote about the “special relationship” that Israel and the United States have enjoyed “based on shared values, mutual commitment to liberty and human rights… and the struggle for peace through military strength.”
She also stated that she does “not believe you can impose peace.” She wrote that “the parties involved must come to an agreement” and “Israel cannot be the only party taking steps to achieve peace.”
FL-25 David Rivera: State Rep. David Rivera (R) defeated former Miami-Dade County Democratic Party Chair Joe Garcia (D) in this western Miami-Dade County seat, which Rep. Mario Diaz- Balart (R) vacated to run for his brother’s open seat.
Rivera wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship that the “United States needs Israel” because Israel not only has experience in dealing with the jihadist threats that America is now facing, but it provides us with tools developed over decades of confronting these dangers.” He added that in any peace talks, “we must resist any efforts to undermine Israel’s position of strength, which would only serve to encourage terrorists and embolden America and Israel’s common enemies in the region.”
GA-07 Rob Woodall: Rob Woodall (R), former chief of staff to retiring Rep. John Linder (R), defeated Army Col. Doug Heckman (D) to win Linder’s open seat in this suburban Atlanta district.
Woodall wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship about visiting Israel, and how “only by placing feet on the ground in Israel can one begin to understand the challenge of the modern-day 12 tribes” and “only by standing in the center of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem can one understand the challenge that Israel faces to make this spiritual ground available to three of the world’s most powerful faiths.” Woodall also wrote that “Israel is our partner, not our ward,” and “we must look to our partner for guidance about those areas in which our involvement is helpful and also about those areas in which our involvement is counterproductive.”
GA-08 Austin Scott: State Rep. Austin Scott (R) defeated Rep. Jim Marshall (D) to win this Macon-area seat.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Scott said the United States must “keep steadfast support for Israel’s absolute right to defend itself. While I remain hopeful that peaceful means will someday bring safety and stability to the region, in the interim I wholeheartedly support both Israel’s actions to ensure its security as well as strong sanctions against Iran to halt that regime’s nuclear ambitions.” He added that backing Israel’s right to self-defense is particularly important “in light of the international efforts to delegitimize Israel and restrict its ability to defend itself.”
HI-01 Colleen Hanabusa: State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D) defeated Rep. Charles Djou (R) to win the seat in this Honolulu-based district that Djou had won in a special election less than six months earlier.
“I believe that assisting Israel in maintaining its freedom, independence and security in the Middle East assists the United States in ensuring freedom, independence and security at home,” wrote Hanabusa in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. She added that “before the United States can provide assistance to Palestine, Palestinians must not only clearly and convincingly renounce the use of terrorism as a tool, but they must also prove it by their actions.”
ID-01 Raul Labrador: State Rep. Raul Labrador (R) beat Rep. Walt Minnick (D) to win this western Idaho seat.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Labrador outlined how his views on Israel have been formed by his wife Becca—who lived in the Jewish state for almost a year on a study abroad program in which she studied at Hebrew University and lived on a kibbutz—and his Christian faith, which sparked in him “an understanding of the historical and moral significance of the Jewish state.” He wrote that he supports “Israel’s security fence, incursions similar to Operation Cast Lead, and other anti-terrorism methods necessary for thwarting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah” and said that members of Congress “must make the case for Israel on Capitol Hill, in town hall meetings, at our churches and synagogues, in our local media and wherever else people will listen.”
IL-10 Bob Dold: Businessman Bob Dold (R) bested Dan Seals (D) in the race to fill the Chicago-area seat of now-former Rep. Mark Kirk (R), who won a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Dold wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship that “it is a strategic imperative and moral necessity for the United States to preserve its close relationship with the State of Israel” and called Israel a “local issue” because “the 10th district has a tradition of leading the pro-Israel agenda.” He added that he supports the United States “using all diplomatic, political and economic measures available to remove the threat posed by Iran.”
IL-11 Adam Kinzinger: Iraq war vet/former McLean County Board member Adam Kinzinger (R) defeated Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D).
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Kinzinger wrote that “in order for there to be any real chance at peace in the Middle East, Hezbollah, Hamas and other extremist elements present in the area must stop threatening Israel at every turn and firing rockets at the innocent.” He added that “Americans understand that Israel is on the front lines of a war with a group of people that would eliminate by force all opposing viewpoints,” and “it is imperative that the United States recognizes the shared interest” between the U.S. and Israel “in not only defense, but in culture.”
IL-14 Randy Hultgren: State Sen. Randy Hultgren (D) was victorious over Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D) in this Joliet-based seat.
“Israel is a model nation, a beacon of democracy in a hostile region and a true friend to the United States,” wrote Hultgren in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “In Congress, I pledge to continue to staunchly fight for policies to strengthen the bonds between Israel and the U.S., while strenuously opposing anti-Israeli policies whenever and wherever they manifest themselves.”
IL-17 Bobby Schilling: Restauranteur Bobby Schilling (R) defeated Rep. Phil Hare in this district which runs from western Illinois through Springfield to Decatur.
In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Schilling wrote that “foreign aid to Israel should be continued as long as it is necessary to maintain Israel’s military deterrent, and I will support our commitment under the new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding.” He added that “both sides must desire” peace, and “Israel must not be asked to make sacrifices for peace until peace is possible.”
IN-03 Marlin Stutzman: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (R) won the race for this Ft. Wayne seat vacated when Rep. Mark Souder (R) resigned last May, defeating physician Tom Hayhurst (D).
“Through military, weaponry, technology and shared intelligence, the United States needs to continue to support Israel with resources and make investments in the Middle East wherever necessary to ultimately maintain world peace,” Stutzman wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “It is vital that this relationship be cultivated and protected not only for the national defense of the United States but for economic growth and spiritual implications.”
IN-04 Todd Rokita: Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R) defeated professor David Sanders (D) to win the Lafayette-based seat of retiring Rep. Steve Buyer (R).
“Preserving the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship should remain a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, manifested by confronting the existential threat that Iran poses to Israel, supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, allocating security aid sufficient for Israel’s defense against such threats, ensuring that Palestinian leaders show the same commitment to the peace process as their Israeli counterparts have, and continuing free trade policies mutually beneficial to the U.S. and Israel,” wrote Rokita in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.
IN-08 Larry Bucshon: Cardiologist Larry Bucshon (R) beat state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (D) to win the Evansville seat left open by Rep. Brad Ellworth (D), who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate.
“Israel is more than America’s essential ally in the Middle East,” wrote Bucshon in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Rather, it is a sovereign nation that shares the values on which America was founded—a commitment to promote and preserve liberty against all form of oppression and tyranny. Israel is the sole beacon of religious freedom, self-determination and free market economics throughout the Middle East.”
IN-09 Todd Young: Attorney and former Marine Todd Young (R) defeated Rep. Baron Hill (D) to take this Bloomington-based district.
Young wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship that “as an American, I believe that preventing a nuclear Iran is a foreign policy priority of the highest order,” and in Congress he will “give voice to those who support a focused and unrelenting effort to prevent further Iranian nuclear weapons development.” He added that “with America’s help, Israel must continue to upgrade its Air Force, to build new missile defenses, and to acquire advanced surveillance and early warning technology.”BACK TO TOP