Bipartisan support for Israel ‘strong,’ Nevada senator tells ‘Post’

The recent incident in which Omar and Tlaib were denied entry into Israel after Trump heavily pressured Israel into refusing them entry further complicated the relationship.

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September 9, 2019 00:42
3 minute read.
Bipartisan support for Israel ‘strong,’ Nevada senator tells ‘Post’

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump takes on US Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Are American Jews stuck between a rock and hard place?. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Freshman Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen said that bipartisan support for Israel in Congress is “strong” and “unwavering,” and that voting records of both the Republican and Democratic parties support this claim.

Nevertheless said Rosen, who just ended a three-day trip to Israel, Jerusalem should have allowed Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to enter the country when they requested to last month.

She also said it had been a mistake for the Trump administration to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement, and that the step had endangered the region.

Nevada’s junior senator, Rosen was in Israel on a coordinated trip with the American Jewish Committee, touring the norther border with Lebanon viewing where Hezbollah attack tunnels were dug into Israel, meeting with IDF personnel operating the Iron Dome, and visiting Yad Vashem, among other stops.

Recent years have seen a strain in Israel’s ties with the Democratic Party, in large part due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fractious relationship with former US President Barack Obama, as well as his very close relationship with current President Donald Trump.

The recent incident in which Omar and Tlaib were denied entry after Trump heavily pressured Israel further complicated the relationship.

Rosen refuted this however.

“I believe that in both parties, Democrat and Republican, support for Israel is bipartisan, it is strong and it is unwavering, and I don’t see that changing,” she told The Jerusalem Post. “They [Omar and Tlaib] are two freshman women out of 535 representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate,” adding that “if you look at the votes, there is strong bipartisan support and full Democratic support” for Israel on a range of issues.

She noted that Democratic congressmen and women have been involved in fighting the BDS and promoting Holocaust education, and asserted that the hostile views of Omar and Tlaib toward Israel were unrepresentative of the Democratic Party.

Rosen said however that Israel should have allowed them into the country.

“I think they are duly elected members of the US Congress, they do have a role to play – we all do – in the partnership,” said the senator. “I would hope we could build bridges of understanding and have those communications, not just with those few lawmakers they didn’t allow in, but with all members” of Congress.

She said that she herself had benefited from seeing the border with Lebanon and the close proximity of Hezbollah and its operations to Israel, and that Israel should promote such visits for everyone.

Asked about Omar and Tlaib’s visit being almost exclusively focused in the West Bank and did not include meetings with any Israeli officials, Rosen said Israel could have tried harder to open a dialogue with the two congresswomen.

Rosen was also critical of the unilateral nature of Trump’s policies vis-à-vis Israel, and criticized the manner in which he had unilaterally recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“What happens in Israel should be decided between Israel and the Palestinians,” she said. “When we’re going to move an embassy, or recognizing [Israeli sovereignty over] the Golan Heights, they should be negotiated between the parties here, not imposed by another country. That would be my hope going forward.”

As for the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement, Rosen said “it was not a good idea to withdraw” from the deal “since there was no material breach of the agreement.”

Rosen said the US should have remained a party to the agreement so that it could have “held Iran’s feet to the fire” on its terms.

“It was what was in place with other partners around the globe,” asserted the congresswoman. “So to pull out unilaterally without a material breach, without knowing what was going to happen next, could jeopardize their region. We entered into an agreement between ourselves and other countries and there is an expectation of trust. You entered into it and need to honor it.”


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