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 began in January.

New House Member Profiles: Part 3

Despite the many changes brought about by the 2010 elections, the new 112th Congress is expected to be the most pro-Israel Congress ever. Many of Israel’s strongest supporters were reelected last November.

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 members. 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 as well as the first third and second third of the new House members. In this edition, NER profiles the final third of the new House members.

OH-01 Steve Chabot: Former Rep. Steve Chabot (R) won back the seat he lost in 2008 to Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) in this Cincinnati-based district.

In his first stint in the House, Chabot backed a series of bills imposing sanctions on Iran and he spoke out against funding the Palestinian Authority after Hamas won Palestinian elections. “It is vital that the Middle East move in the direction of peace and stability, not terror,” he said in a press release. “While we will continue to support democracy in the region, we cannot allow a terrorist organization that is bent on the destruction of Israel to receive U.S. funding.”

Chabot also wrote on his campaign blog that “Delegitimization has been identified as the second most dangerous threat to Israel, after Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

OH-06 Bill Johnson: Manufacturing company CIO and U.S. Air Force veteran Bill Johnson (R) defeated two-term Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) in this rural, eastern Ohio district.

“As a veteran, I know peace comes through strength—and Middle East peace can only come when Israel’s adversaries realize that our alliance is unbreakable,” wrote Johnson in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Our longstanding relationship is the foundation for all other U.S.-Israel activities.

In Congress, I will fight to preserve and strengthen this relationship,” which “benefits America economically since Israel reinvests most of the funds into our U.S. aerospace and defense industry, thereby creating American jobs.”

OH-15 Steve Stivers: State Sen. Steve Stivers (R) was victorious over first-term Rep. May Jo Kilroy (D) in this Columbus-based district.

“Israel and the United States share roots in the values of freedom, liberty and democracy,” wrote Stivers in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Israel was founded as a country that restored human dignity and stood against oppression and tyranny. Together we must continue to stand for those principals against the threats to peace and security across the globe.”

He added that “we cannot have peace without security. Only the government of Israel can decide what level of security they require.”

OH-16 Jim Renacci: Businessman and former Wadsworth Mayor Jim Renacci (R) beat first-term Rep. John Boccieri (D) in this Canton-based district.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Renacci called Iran “the single greatest threat to Israel’s security. Dealing with Iran, we must keep all measures on the table while leveraging our economic power to convince it that continuation of its nuclear weapons program is not in Tehran’s best interests.”

He added that “it is incumbent upon the United States to support Israel in its right to self-defense both in diplomatic stance and in foreign assistance.”

OH-18 Bob Gibbs: State Sen. Bob Gibbs (R) defeated two-term Rep. Zack Space (D) to take this rural, eastern Ohio seat.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Gibbs called Israel “a key ally” and wrote that “we need to stand with them to protect their national security and sovereignty. A strong Israel is essential to keep Iran and other rogue states from becoming a bigger menace in the Middle East. Our relationship with Israel and support helps to provide for stability in the region and prevents aggressive behavior from neighboring countries that would threaten our national security.”

OK-05 James Lankford: Professor and former Christian camp director James Lankford (R) bested attorney Billy Coyle (D) to fill the seat left open in this Oklahoma City district when Rep. Mary Fallin (R) successfully ran for governor.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Lankford wrote that it is “consistent with our national values to stand with Israel and abide by the financial commitment made in 2007 in the U.S.-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding… I would vote annually to maintain the foreign aid bill, including the provisions for security assistance for Israel.”

He added, “In the past twenty years, no nation on earth has actively pursued the destruction of Israel more than Iran. America must have a seminal commitment to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat to Israel, the region and the world as a whole. Aggressive sanctions, world economic isolation, consistent wide-spread diplomacy and thoughtful military options must be maintained to prevent Iran from destabilizing the region even more with nuclear weapons.”

PA-03 Mike Kelly: Car dealer Mike Kelly (R) defeated first-term Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D) in this Erie-based district.

“The success of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians can only come from direct, bi-lateral negotiations between the parties,” wrote Kelly in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “No third party, including the United States, can impose a peace settlement on Israel and her neighbors.”

He added, “I denounce efforts by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, and will support actions necessary to isolate, deter, or defeat Iran’s ambitions. I believe Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas are vital threats to Israel; none recognize Israel’s right to exist, and all support terrorism as a means to their end.”

PA-07 Pat Meehan: Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan (R) beat state Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) to win this suburban Philadelphia open seat which Rep. Joe Sestak (D) vacated to run for U.S. Senate.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Meehan wrote that the United States and Israel are “historic and critical allies and our support for her during these difficult and uncertain times must be unwavering.” He noted that as a U.S. attorney, he helped to initiate a federal investigation that ultimately led to the indictment of ten individuals conspiring to export weapons intended for Hezbollah from Philadelphia to a Syrian port.

That helped him understand “the perpetual desire of terrorists to carry out attacks on Americans and Israeli Jews both here and abroad” and “the actions which must be taken in order to ensure the safety of our citizens… Israel has the right to defend herself by any means necessary and appropriate, especially in the face of threats from hostile nations such as Iran.”

PA-08 Mike Fitzpatrick: Former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R) defeated two-term Rep. Patrick Murphy (D)—who had defeated then-freshman Rep. Fitzpatrick in 2006—to win back this Bucks County-based district.

“I reject attempts to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state or any political effort to deny Israel’s rights to self-defense,” wrote Fitzpatrick in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. He added that the United States “benefits from aid to Israel, not just by having a strong ally in an unfriendly part of the world, but also because 75% of the aid given to Israel is spent in the United States on military hardware, research or other goods… Therefore, America must continue to nurture this strong alliance.”

PA-10 Tom Marino: Former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino (R) defeated two-term Rep. Chris Carney (D) to win this northeastern Pennsylvania district.

“We must redouble our efforts to support defending the international legitimacy of Israel,” Marino wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “I admire Israel and their commitment to the peace process. I do not believe that any third party, including the United States, should impose a peace process on Israel and its neighbors.”

PA-11 Lou Barletta: Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta (R) knocked off 13-term incumbent Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) in the race for this Scranton-based seat.

“The United States needs to stand side by side with Israel to ensure both the safety and prosperity of the Israeli people and the security and democratization of the Middle East,” wrote Barletta in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “But while the United States should be a strong ally of Israel, the American people should not tell Israel what to do when it comes to protecting its own national security interests… Israel and its leaders know the steps they need to take to protect themselves and their people, and no one should second-guess them.”

RI-01 David Cicilline: Providence Mayor David Cicilline (D) was victorious in this eastern Rhode Island district, defeating state Rep. John Loughlin (R) to win this seat vacated by Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s (D) retirement.

“The State of Israel was founded on the values of pluralism, justice, and respect for human rights, and as a practicing Jew, I am proud that Israel continues to embody those same values today,” Cicilline wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “It is because of these shared values and a commitment to protecting minorities and workers, respecting the rights of women, rejecting discrimination of any kind, and the strong belief in freedom of speech and an impartial judiciary, that the relationship between the United States and Israel is so strong and mutually reinforcing.”

He added that it “is absolutely imperative that the United States makes it unmistakably clear that our support for the State of Israel is unshakable. In addition, we must strongly and vocally support the absolute right of Israel to defend itself and take all steps necessary to protect the safety and security of the State of Israel and her people.”

SC-01 Tim Scott: State Rep. Tim Scott (R) defeated businessman Ben Frasier (D) to take the open seat of the retiring Rep. Henry Brown (R) in this Charleston-based district.

“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,” wrote Scott in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. Scott added that he supports foreign aid to Israel, noting that “these funds… help ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, and the only way to deter attacks is to retain an overwhelming military advantage. I recognize that the passage of a broader Foreign Aid Bill is a necessary means to satisfy this commitment, and I support this as well as direct economic aid, should such aid be necessary.”

SC-03 Jeff Duncan: State Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) beat pilot Jane Dyer (D) in the race to fill the Anderson-based open seat of retiring four-term Rep. Gresham Barrett (R).

“The U.S. must continue to support the state of Israel and actively encourage other nations to do so as well,” wrote Duncan in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “We must be prepared to challenge nations, leaders and non-governmental organizations (like the United Nations) who deny the Holocaust, seek to deny the right for Israel to exist, and those who would seek to punish a nation for acting in self defense from an imminent or existing threat. Peace can only be realized if all nations accept Israel as a member of the global community.”

He added that “honoring our commitments, including $30 billion in security assistance, to the Jewish state will be a top priority of mine in Congress.”

SC-04 Trey Gowdy: Solicitor (District Attorney) Trey Gowdy (R) triumphed over 2008 nominee Paul Corden (D) to win the Greenville open seat created when six-term Rep. Bob Inglis (R) lost in the GOP primary.

“I find it very impressive that Israel is able to thrive despite being surrounded by imminent danger and those who seek to deny her existence,” wrote Gowdy in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “As a member of Congress, I [will] introduce, sponsor, and support legislation that is supportive of Israel, her right to defend herself and to search for more ways to strengthen what is already a historically important and strong relationship.”

Gowdy added that he does not believe that “we or any other country can dictate what options Israel can or cannot utilize to protect its people and territory.”

SC-05 Mick Mulvaney: State Sen. Mick Mulvaney (R) knocked off 14-term incumbent Rep. John Spratt (D) in this suburban Charlotte district.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Mulvaney said that “a strong U.S.-Israeli relationship is the first step to a lasting Arab-Israeli peace agreement. The United States is best suited to bring all sides to the table, and I will absolutely support any effort to further a productive dialogue between Israel and its neighbors. But before there can be peace, all of Israel's neighbors must recognize Israel's right to exist and must agree to an open diplomatic exchange. There can be no imposed or mandated solutions, only open agreements and a commitment by all sides to further peace at all costs.”

SD-AL Kristi Noem: State House Assistant Majority Leader Kristi Noem (R) defeated three-term Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) to win this at-large seat.

“The special relationship between United States and Israel has not only a moral element but also a strategic one,” wrote Noem in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Israel is our true and consistent ally and ‘friend’ in the region where authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations oppress citizens and threaten freedom around the globe. A weak Israel would destabilize the region and this would embolden other states and terrorist groups. We need a strong partner in Israel as we confront terrorism and extremists who seek to take our freedoms.”

TN-03 Chuck Fleischmann: Attorney/former radio host Chuck Fleischmann (R) beat lawyer John Wolfe (D) to take over the Chattanooga-based open seat previously held by retiring eight-term Rep. Zach Wamp (R).

“I support Israel,” said Fleischmann in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Israel is the only consistent ally of the United States in the Middle East. Our nations stand for democratic and humanitarian principles which must be promoted in a world in which foes of these principles cannot be allowed to succeed. In Congress, I will work to strengthen the ties with our two nations on all fronts.”

TN-04 Scott DesJarlais: Physician Scott DesJarlais (R) defeated four-term Rep. Lincoln Davis (D) to win this middle Tennessee district.

“The current extremist regime leading Iran poses the greatest immediate threat to the people of Israel,” said DesJarlais in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “In fact, Iran represents the greatest threat to global stability on the international stage due to its longtime pursuit of nuclear weapons. The United States and Israel must never allow Iran to join the community of nations who possess nuclear capability as it would serve as an immediate force of destabilization and could potentially lead to a nuclear arms race in the region. To that end, any advances made against Israel will not be tolerated.”

TN-06 Diane Black: State Sen. Diane Black (R) bested attorney Brett Carter (D) to take the open seat in this Murfreesboro-based district previously held by retiring 13-term Rep. Bart Gordon (D).

“Securing a lasting, meaningful and binding peace between Israel and its neighbors is one of the most important issues facing our world,” wrote Black in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “Israel has demonstrated an overwhelming willingness to reach agreements on peace in the past, only to be turned away by Palestinian leaders. Rather than the public silence and acceptance of the launching of missiles into Israel, and the continuous efforts to drive Israel away, Palestinian leaders should work to find an acceptable two-state solution that will bring about lasting peace.”

TN-08 Stephen Fincher: Farmer and gospel singer Stephen Fincher (R) defeated state Sen. Roy Herron (D) to take the Jackson-based open seat previously held by retiring 11-term Rep. John Tanner (D).

“Due to the increasing number of global threats, it is vitally important that the United States assist in supporting defense funding for Israel, one of its chief allies in the region,” wrote Fincher in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Israel needs foreign aid to help combat international terror networks, totalitarian dictatorships, and to counter Iran’s desire to obtain a nuclear program. I stand firmly with the policies set forth under our countries’ previous Presidents and Congress of supporting foreign aid to Israel, because it is in the best interest of the American and Israeli people. Also, I strongly support the ten-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel. Simply put, the United States must stand with, help support, and help protect the Israeli state and its people.”

TX-17 Bill Flores: Businessman Bill Flores (R) beat 10-term Rep. Chet Edwards (D) to win this Waco-based seat.

“Israel is America’s most reliable and steadfast ally in the Middle East,” Flores wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “In addition, it is a beacon of democracy in an unstable area. Our common values and mutual interests of freedom, democracy, and entrepreneurship are shared, and our bond must be unbreakable. As a Congressman, I will advocate for steady and necessary U.S. support for Israel to ensure that Israel has the resources it needs to combat the extraordinary terrorist threats that it faces on a daily basis.”

TX-23 Francisco “Quico” Canseco: Businessman Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) knocked off five-term Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D) in this San Antonio-based district.

“I strongly support aid to Israel, including as outlined in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding, and will vote accordingly as a member of Congress,” wrote Canseco in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“American aid to Israel ensures that Israel can maintain its military edge and helps relieve Israel of the considerable burden of having to devote a higher percentage of its GDP to defense spending than any other major industrialized nation. U.S. military aid to Israel also supports the American economy because a large portion of the aid is spent within the United States and improves America’s own security by supporting the research and development of mutually beneficial missile and rocket defense technologies.”

TX-27 Blake Farenthold: Businessman Blake Farenthold (R) beat 14-term incumbent Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D) in this Corpus Christi-based district.

“The best way to support peace in the region is through supporting a strong Israel capable of deterring our adversaries in the region and by demonstrating that antagonism will not be rewarded,” wrote Farenthold in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “While even the closest of allies will occasionally disagree, such disagreements should be discussed respectfully and in private. I will always stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself and to ensure that its sovereignty is respected.”

VA-02 Scott Rigell: Car dealer and U.S. Marine Corps reserve Scott Rigell (R) defeated freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D) in this Virginia Beach-based district.

In his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship, Rigell wrote about his trip to Israel in December 2009, “during which I travelled throughout the country, visited the Jordanian, Syrian, and Lebanese borders, and received briefings on the strategic political and military issues currently faced by the nation.”

“I can say with confidence that these unique experiences and opportunities have strengthened my commitment to Israel and given me a deeper understanding of the issues faced by our closest ally in the Middle East,” wrote Rigell. “The United States and Israel have long enjoyed a strong relationship based on common values, interests, and goals in the Middle East, and I am firmly committed to seeing that this relationship continues.”

VA-05 Robert Hurt: State Sen. Robert Hurt (R) beat first-term Rep. Tom Perriello (D) to take the seat in this Charlottesville-based district.

“Iran must not be allowed to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons and it is clear to me that Iran’s nuclear activities have absolutely no peaceful purpose,” wrote Hurt in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “I fully support all current sanctions against Iran and believe they should be enforced to the letter of the law. I also realize that additional sanctions may be necessary and that the use of military force to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power cannot be ruled out.”

VA-09 Morgan Griffith: Virginia House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R) was victorious over 14-term incumbent Rep. Rick Boucher (D) in this southwest Virginia district.

“The bottom line is this: Israel must not fall,” Griffith wrote in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “As long as other nations supply Israel’s oil-rich enemies, we must rise to the defense of Israel, for thus did the Lord promise Abraham and his descendents: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.’” He added that “a nuclear Iran is not acceptable, period.”

WA-03 Jaime Herrera: State Rep. Jaime Herrera (R) defeated former state Rep. Denny Heck (D) in the race to replace retiring six-term Rep. Brian Baird (D) for this Olympia-based seat.

“I strongly stand behind Israel’s right to defend itself against all those who wage acts of war against it, threatening the security of its citizens and its very existence,” wrote Herrera in her position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

She added, “A solution for peace will not be achieved by unilateral concessions on the part of Israel. Therefore, I would continue in my support for a two-state solution if a legitimate, non-terrorist entity is willing to negotiate with Israel, and the peace is premised on security for Israel, is not imposed by outside parties, and requires the Palestinian leaders to abide by past agreements.”

WV-01 David McKinley: Former state GOP chair and former state Del. David McKinley (R) beat state Sen. Mike Oliverio (D) to win this Wheeling-based open seat previously held by 14-term Rep. Alan Mollohan (D), who lost in the Democratic primary.

“Israel is our only reliable ally in so volatile a region of the world and is the only strategic balance of power in the fragile Middle East,” wrote McKinley in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship. “The U.S. must stand solidly behind Israel’s right to defend itself with military superiority, and strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two nations.”

WI-07 Sean Duffy: Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy (R) bested state Sen. Julie Lassa (D) in this northwestern Wisconsin open seat previously held by retiring twenty-term Rep. David Obey (D).

“I fully support the 10 year memorandum of understanding between our countries for annual security aid to Israel,” wrote Duffy in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“The agreement reflects our shared national security concerns and continued strategic cooperation in the development of new defense technologies. If elected to Congress, I will support annual passage of legislation to fund this commitment. Security aid to Israel reduces the risk of war in the Middle East by sustaining Israel’s qualitative military advantage over the combined military forces of its potential adversaries. The end result is deterrence of would-be aggressors without an American military presence.”

WI-08 Reid Ribble: Businessman Reid Ribble (R) defeated two-term Rep. Steve Kagen (D) in this Green Bay-based district.

“Continued rejection of the Jewish state’s basic right to exist remains the principal barrier to peace,” wrote Ribble in his position paper on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Arab states surrounding Israel could do more to improve the climate for peace by taking steps toward limited cooperation with Israel, and by providing diplomatic and economic support to moderate Palestinians who seek peace. Leaders of the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states must help terminate the widespread practice of indoctrinating children with hate towards their Jewish neighbors. Permanent peace can only be achieved by the parties themselves through direct, good-faith negotiations. While the U.S. can be helpful in its traditional role as a facilitator and moderator, an imposed solution to the conflict—which precludes a buy-in from the parties—is sure to fail.”

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