The US-Israel Alliance
For over 20 years, I have served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and fought for the strongest possible U.S.-Israel relationship.
Supporting Security Assistance to Israel
U.S. aid to Israel, only one-half of one percent of the national security budget, is our best investment in America’s security. Continued American assistance to Israel is necessary to ensure that Israel maintains its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) over any country in the Middle East. Our commitment is further demonstrated by the first permanent American base in Israel, which began operations this month.
In May 2016, I cosponsored H.Res.729, which passed the House, calling for a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Jerusalem and Washington.
And in September of last year, a new MOU was signed between Israel and the United States. The new ten-year package will provide $38 billion in funding including $5 billion in rocket and missile defense assistance for programs like the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow.
Combatting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement
I am making every effort to combat those who seek to isolate Israel and whose real intention is to slowly chip away at the legitimacy and stability of the world’s only Jewish state. Israel has never been stronger militarily and it is for that reason that Israel’s enemies are investing in soft power and diplomacy in an attempt to isolate the Jewish State. In 2005, the latest orchestrated attempt to isolate the Jewish state began: the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS). That’s because Israel’s enemies did not win in 1967, they did not win in 1973, and now their hope is to win in the diplomatic forums and on American campuses.
It is for this reason I joined with three colleagues in introducing the Combating BDS Act of 2017, which would allow state and local governments to divest from entities engaging in BDS activities targeting Israel. This bill also protects asset managers by prohibiting civil or other legal action against a registered investment company that divests in entities engaging in BDS.
I also joined with several colleagues to introduce the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. This bill would prohibit American compliance with boycotts against Israel implemented by international governmental organizations and direct the Export-Import Bank to consider BDS activity when evaluating a foreign company's credit application. Finally, this bill declares that it is U.S. policy to oppose restrictive trade practices (including BDS) against the State of Israel.
U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation
This March, with the passage of government funding legislation that includes the FY 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. Congressman Sherman led the successful effort to secure $6 million in funding for two U.S.-Israel energy cooperation programs.
In April of last year, Congressman Sherman led a bipartisan group of 102 members of Congress in sending a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development requesting funding for these programs (to view the letter click here.) Sherman wrote the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act which was enacted in 2007.
Sherman is also focused on securing funding in the FY 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. This month, Sherman sent a bipartisan letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development requesting funding for these programs along with 92 colleagues. You can view the letter here.
To date, the U.S. government has provided $15.7 million for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement, matched dollar-for-dollar by the Israeli government. The program has already leveraged over $37 million in private sector investment. This is a competitive grant program for early-stage companies that is designed to connect the U.S. and Israeli private sectors and academics. Its mandate was expanded in 2014 to cover collaborative Research and Development (R&D) into renewable technologies, natural gas, and water – key areas of interest for the United States.
Funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Center (“Center of Excellence”) will bring to fruition a project that Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Government of Israel have worked on for the past two years. The Center of Excellence will include joint R&D and academic and technology transfer ventures in areas such as thermal power, wastewater treatment, desalination, clean energy, produced water, natural gas, and protection of critical infrastructure through cybersecurity.
In 2007, I authored legislation that became law which created the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program. This program funds cutting-edge research aimed at ending our dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. government has provided $15.7 million for the program since its inception with funding fully matched by the Government of Israel.
Expanding upon previous efforts, I led efforts to implement a new U.S.-Israel energy program this year: the U.S.-Israel Energy Center (“Center of Excellence”), authorized in the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. In April, I led a group of 100-plus Members of Congress in requesting $6 million in funding for both this and the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program in 2018. The Center of Excellence will include joint research and development, academic, and technological transfer ventures in renewable and energy efficient technologies, and its funding will be matched by the government of Israel.