Congressmen vote to affirm US commitment to Israel

AIPAC applauds measure, calls it testament to America’s bipartisan support of the Jewish state

An illustrative image of a joint session of US Congress in May 2012 (photo credit: Lawrence Jackson/White House)
An illustrative image of a joint session of US Congress in May 2012 (photo credit: Lawrence Jackson/White House)

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in support of a bill that affirms America’s commitment to Israel’s security. With a margin of 411-2, the US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 — introduced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — enjoyed strong bipartisan support.

“This bill reaffirms Israel’s right to defend itself against threats and puts the Congress on record about America’s long-standing commitment to the US-Israel strategic relationship,” said Cantor.

The legislation seeks ways to enhance Israel’s qualitative military edge, and it advocates for stronger US-Israel strategic cooperation in such fields as missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence and cyber-security.

The bill calls for providing Israel with the military capabilities necessary to defend itself by itself against any threats, and it states that US policy is to veto any one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council.

The bill also envisions an expanded role for Israel within NATO, including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises. This after Turkey last month blocked Israel’s participation in an upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.

In addition, the legislation supports the extension of previously adopted US loan guarantees to Israel.

In a statement, AIPAC hailed the vote as a “testament to the broad, bipartisan support of the American people for bolstering the ties between the US and our ally Israel.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-FL) referred to Israel as the “closest and most important ally” of the United States. She said the bill is needed in order to shore up the relationship between the two nations as Israel continues to face threats from Iran and Syria.

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