NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY

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New members of Congress have arrived in the nation’s capital from across the United States. The 112th session of Congress begins in January.

New House Member Profiles: Part 2

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.

Previous editions of Near East Report profiled the new senators and the first third of the new House members. In this edition, NER profiles the second third of the new House members. The final third will be profiled in the next edition of NER.

IL-08 Joe Walsh: Investment banker Joe Walsh (R) edged Rep. Melissa Bean (D) to win this Chicago-area district.

Walsh wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship that he supports “the longstanding, strong relationship between the United States and the State of Israel. Our countries are close allies whose people share a deep and abiding friendship based on a shared commitment to core values including democracy, human rights and freedom of the press and religion.”

He added that “Israel is too often unfairly singled out and held to a hypocritical double standard in international forums. Israel has the right to act in its own self-defense against those who would destroy the country and those who would aid her enemies.”

KS-01 Tim Huelskamp: State Sen. Tim Huelskamp (R) defeated former Salina Mayor Alan Jilka in the race to fill the rural, western Kansas seat left open when Rep. Jerry Moran (R) successfully ran for the U.S. Senate.

“With Iran actively pursuing nuclear power, it is clear that the Iranians are the single greatest threat to Israel’s security,” wrote Huelskamp in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “To deal with the Iranian threat, the United States must act quickly and decisively so as to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions before it is too late.”

KS-03 Kevin Yoder: State Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) defeated registered nurse Stephane Moore to capture the metropolitan Kansas City-based seat previously held by Moore’s husband, the retiring Rep. Dennis Moore (D).

“I support measures that contribute to Israel’s military security and the continued relationship between anti-terrorism forces in the region,” wrote Yoder in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “The continued use of joint military exercises, shared counter-terrorism strategies, and intelligence sharing will serve the interests of both countries. Finally, I support our funding ongoing commitments under the 10 year Memoranda of Understanding at planned levels and will defend Israel’s right to protect its citizens from terror.”

KS-04 Mike Pompeo: Republican National Committeeman Mike Pompeo (R) bested state Rep. Raj Goyle (D) to take the Wichita-based open seat created when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Pompeo wrote about how he has visited Israel on both business and personal trips and has had “the chance to see, firsthand, that as the lone free and democratic society amongst hostile totalitarian regimes, Israel continues to stand as a testament to the power and resolve of free people.” He also noted that as a young U.S. Army officer, he trained with members of the IDF, “had the privilege of climbing aboard a Merkava tank and walked and studied the militarily critical terrain of the Golan Heights. More than 20 years later, I am still impressed by the determination, commitment and skill of the IDF soldiers. It is precisely this sort of mutual respect and understanding that forms the basis of the strategic relationship.”

LA-02 Cedric Richmond: State Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) knocked off incumbent Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R) in this New Orleans-based district.

“The United States’ alliance with Israel has been a stabilizing force in the Middle East and integral to the security of the region,” Richmond wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Israel’s position as the only real democracy in the Middle East makes it all the more important to continue this relationship”

Richmond added, “I support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for a two state resolution, ONLY with an independent and demilitarized Palestinian state and Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”

LA-03 Jeff Landry: Attorney Jeff Landry (R) was victorious over fellow attorney Ravi Sangisetty (D) in the battle to fill the southeastern Louisiana open seat of Rep. Charlie Melancon (D), who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate.

“It is the shared values of democracy, freedom of religion, capitalism, and human rights that bond these two nations into this historical partnership,” Landry wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “As a member of Congress, I will be committed to support legislation that strengthens our alliance with Israel, increases Israel’s ability to defend herself, and promotes our shared values throughout this volatile region.”

MA-10 William Keating: Norfolk District Attorney William Keating (D) beat state Rep. Jeff Perry (R) to take the Cape Cod-based open seat of the retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt (D).

Keating’s position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship states that he “supports foreign aid to Israel in order to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.” It adds, “Since the creation of Israel in 1948, America has supported Israel both economically and militarily, and [I] will work to ensure that Israel continues to receive foreign aid at historical levels.”

MD-01 Andy Harris: State Sen. Andy Harris (R) topped incumbent Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) to win this seat in this district, which straddles the Chesapeake Bay.

“Peace is not possible without Israel’s security,” Harris wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “The government of Israel is best able to determine the necessary requirements for its national security. No outside party has the right to impose conditions on or extract concessions from Israel. Israel has a long history of offering concessions and compromises, taking unilateral steps toward peace, removing settlements, and giving up land in exchange for the hope of peace. Israel’s actions have consistently demonstrated its intense desire for peace.”

MI-01 Dan Benishek: Surgeon Dan Benishek (R) defeated state Rep. Gary McDowell (D) to win the open seat of retiring Rep. Bart Stupak (D).

Benishek’s position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship states that he “would continue to support foreign aid to Israel” and that he “firmly believes that maintaining the security of the State of Israel is a vital national security goal of the United States.” He adds that “the United States should offer Israel the necessary weaponry to counter the Iranian nuclear threat.”

MI-02 Bill Huizenga: In the race to fill the open seat of nine-term incumbent Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R), former Hoekstra aide and state Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) beat professor Fred Johnson (D).

“As a member of Congress, I will advocate policies which advance the shared values of the United States and Israel,” wrote Huizenga in his position paper. “I believe in not only Israel’s right to exist as a free, democratic Jewish state, but also its right to defend itself without the world applying a different standard to Israel than that applied to every other sovereign nation.”

MI-03 Justin Amash: State Rep. Justin Amash (R) defeated attorney Patrick Miles (D) to fill this Grand Rapids open seat previously held by the retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers (R).

“The United States has a long and strategically important history of strong foreign relations with Israel,” wrote Amash in his position paper. “As a member of Congress, I will work to continue and strengthen this relationship. I will also respect Israel’s sovereignty and will not support counterproductive efforts to impose agreements or conditions on Israel. Israel must manage its foreign relations and domestic policies as it deems to be in its own best interests as a sovereign nation.”

MI-07 Tim Walberg: Former Rep. Tim Walberg (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Schauer (D) to recapture this Battle Creek-based seat that Walberg had previously held for one term.

During his earlier term in the House, Walberg voted for two bills placing sanctions on Iran. He also voted for legislation condemning Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and signed a letter challenging the sale of advanced military technology to Saudi Arabia.

MI-13 Hansen Clarke: State Sen. Hansen Clarke (D)—an American Israel Education Foundation outreach program trip alumnus—won this Detroit open seat over businessman John Hauler (R), after Clarke defeated incumbent Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D) in the August primary.

“I fully support the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act,” wrote Clarke in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “I will work in Congress to monitor the administration's implementation of these sanctions. If they are not effective, I will work to enact stronger sanctions. The U.S. must be able to consider all options to stop the Iranian nuclear threat.”

MN-08 Chip Cravaack: Pilot Chip Cravaack (R) defeated 18-term incumbent Rep. James Oberstar (D) to win this Duluth-based district.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Cravaack wrote that “Israel is America’s strongest and most dependable ally in the Mideast, and I strongly support American diplomatic, political, economic, and military assistance to Israel. In the fight against international terrorism, and against rogue states that harbor and support terrorists, Israel is an important strategic partner and we must do everything to strengthen and maintain that unique strategic alliance.”

MS-01 Alan Nunnelee: State Sen. Alan Nunnelee (R) was victorious over incumbent Rep. Travis Childers (R) to take this northern Mississippi seat.

“If elected to Congress, I would fully support Israel's right to defend itself against all who would do it harm,” wrote Nunnelee in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “I will work to counter misinformation regarding conflicts in the region and combat those who would smear the Israeli state. Any American must understand the importance of supporting a sister democracy in such a benighted region of the world.”

MS-04 Steven Palazzo: State Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Gene Taylor (D) to win the seat in this Biloxi-based district.

“Israel and the United States hold a historical and strategic relationship that must be preserved,” wrote Palazzo in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “As a candidate for Congress, I want the pro-Israel community to know that I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and I will be a friend that you can count on.”

MO-04 Vicky Hartzler: State Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) beat 17-term incumbent Rep. Ike Skelton (D) to win this Jefferson City-area seat.

“The United States must and will remain foursquare behind Israel as she makes the necessary decisions for the security and welfare of her citizens,” wrote Hartzler in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Through appropriate legislation to continue and increase sanctions on Iran and continued pressure on Syria, the United States must continue to thwart efforts by rogue nations like Iran to develop and produce nuclear weapons and to export weapons to terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.”

MO-07 Billy Long: Auctioneer and former radio host Billy Long (R) defeated lawyer Scott Eckersley (D) to win the open seat vacated by Rep. Roy Blunt (R), who is ascending to the U.S. Senate.

“Israel and America are natural allies who have an important common interest in maintaining a stable, peaceful environment in the Middle East,” wrote Long in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Israel has been forced to live in a climate of hostility that threatens its survival and prosperity. Likewise, thousands of American civilians and military personnel in the region also face threats from hostile regional powers… It is crucial that America and Israel remain strong in their unity of purpose to secure lasting peace in the Middle East where people can live and engage in commerce without the fear of a constant threat of war.”

NV-03 Joe Heck: Former state Sen. Joe Heck (R) edged incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D) to win this suburban Las Vegas district.

“A strong alliance with Israel must continue to be a vital pillar in our nation’s national security strategy,” wrote Heck in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “In a region that is unstable and where rogue countries continue to be hostile to America, our relationship brings a level of stability to the most volatile region of the world and brings us much needed support in our counterterrorism efforts.”

NH-01 Frank Guinta: Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R) bested incumbent Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) to win this Manchester-based district.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Guinta discussed his trip to Israel with his mother when he was 20 years old. “This trip was a valuable experience that provided me with an understanding and appreciation of Israeli life, culture and people,” he wrote.

“I also, firsthand, experienced the other side of Israeli life when—our first night—we were woken up to a bombing nearby. Witnessing this in person taught me two valuable lessons that I have kept with me—the unmatched perseverance, pride and strength of the Israeli people and the need for Israel to have tools and support to properly defend itself. Only through visiting Israel can one truly understand this.”

NH-02 Charles Bass: Former Rep. Charles Bass (R) recaptured the seat he lost in 2006, defeating Ann McLane Kuster (D) to fill the seat opened up when Rep. Paul Hodes (D) unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate.

“As the United States and Israel continue to face the aggression of radical Islamic terrorists, we must stand in solidarity in support of polices that promote the desire of our people to live in a world free from fear and aggression,” wrote Bass in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“While we may continue to have minor differences, we must not allow our enemies to divert our joint focus from the vital challenge posed by Islamic extremist elements in the Middle East. I am proud that America continues to stand with Israel and I look forward to strengthening our relationship.”

NJ-03 Jon Runyan: Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan (R) beat Rep. John Adler (D) to win this Cherry Hill-based district.

“We cannot allow Iran to obtain or develop a nuclear weapon,” wrote Runyan in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “If elected to Congress I will support tougher economic, diplomatic, and political sanctions against Iran, as a means of preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon. We need sanctions that will seriously cripple Iran’s ability to sponsor terrorism, and develop or acquire a nuclear weapon.”

NM-02 Steve Pearce: Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who had left the House two years earlier to unsuccessfully run for U.S. Senate, recaptured this Las Cruces-based seat by defeating incumbent Rep. Harry Teague (D).

During his three earlier terms in the House, Pearce voted for two Iran sanctions bills and for legislation strengthening oversight on direct U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. Pearce also voted for legislation condemning Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and a bill condemning the International Court of Justice’s denouncement of Israel’s security fence.

NY-13 Michael Grimm: Gulf War veteran and former FBI agent Michael Grimm (R) knocked off incumbent Rep. Michael McMahon (D) to take this Staten Island seat.

In his position paper, Grimm wrote about what his background as a former Marine combat veteran in the Middle East and his thirteen years with the FBI had taught him about Israel.

“As a former Marine combat veteran in the Middle East, I have experienced the unique relationship that our countries enjoy and thus it is without hesitation that I will support and promote strengthening the necessary bond between America and Israel—a bond that has been established through the common tenets of liberty, freedom and desire for peace,” he wrote.

“During my 13-year tenure with the FBI, I learned first-hand the benefits of our relationship with Israel, specifically concerning the sharing of intelligence, law enforcement/military training and invaluable defense technology.”

NY-19 Nan Hayworth: Opthalmologist Nan Hayworth (R) topped incumbent Rep. John Hall (D) to win this lower Hudson Valley district.

“Today, Israel is our essential ally in the global War on Terrorism,” wrote Hayworth in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “The Jewish State provides the U.S. with invaluable intelligence, and joint U.S.-Israeli production of defense systems has safeguarded American interests at home and abroad. A strong and secure Israel fosters Middle Eastern stability and counters the influence of an increasingly belligerent Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

NY-20 Chris Gibson: Retired U.S. Army colonel Chris Gibson (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Scott Murphy (D) to represent this Saratoga Springs-area district.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Gibson noted that he would bring a “unique perspective” as a former Army colonel who commanded a Brigade Combat Team in the 82nd Airborne Division until his recent retirement. “I spent the last 24 years defending our cherished way of life, one that values freedom and the democratic process, akin to our brethren in Israel,” he wrote.

“In short, I empathize profoundly with the challenges that Israel faces defending itself in a region where many deny the legitimacy of its very existence and threaten its free and prosperous way of life. In Congress, I will be a strong advocate for our democratic friends in Israel.”

NY-24 Richard Hanna: Businessman Richard Hanna (R) bested incumbent Rep. Michael Arcuri (D) to win this central New York State seat.

“I fully support continued economic and military aid to Israel,” wrote Hanna in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “I will openly condemn all acts of terrorism and hatred against Israel and condemn any nation for its denial of Israel's right to exist.”

NY-25 Ann Marie Buerkle: Assistant State Attorney General Ann Marie Buerkle (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei (D) to win this Syracuse-based seat.

In her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Buerkle wrote that while she does support “shrinking the size of the federal government, I do not support shrinking the amount given in foreign aid to Israel, recognizing that the aid is returned to the U.S. in the form of purchases of American technology by Israel.”

She added, “Iran presents the most serious threat to Israel both in its funding of Hamas and Hizballah and in its relentless drive to build nuclear weapons. I strongly support continued and intensified isolation of Iran by means of sanctions and diplomatic pressure.”

NY-29 Tom Reed: Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R) defeated retired Army officer Matt Zeller (D) to fill the open seat in this western New York state district created when former Rep. Eric Massa (D) resigned.

Reed’s position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship stated that he would “make maintaining the friendship of his nation with the state of Israel a priority. As a robust democracy in one of the world's most chaotic and crucial regions, Israel has a unique position of friendship and strategic interest for America… America should stand by Israel as an ally and help it ensure the safety of its people and the stability of the Middle East.”

ND-AL (at large) Rick Berg: Former state House Speaker Rick Berg (R) bested incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) to win this seat.

“Israel has not only been a partner against the fight of terror in the world and a strong ally, but a great trading partner and an important friend to the United States,” wrote Berg in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“It’s imperative that the relationship between Israel and the United States thrive into the future. As a candidate for the United States Congress, I am committed to a foreign policy that cultivates freedom, including the religious rights of men and women, and supports the rule of law in the world.”

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