New York, NY, August 10, 2023 – “The remarks by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries during his Israel visit this week help add much-needed clarity to the debate in D.C. on America’s Middle East interests and priorities. There is a need to see the debate on democracy and judicial reform in Israel in context, and Rep. Jeffries offers a clear vision. Shared democratic values and strategic interests, he says, stand above and beyond the fate of judicial overhaul, which, all agree, should be based on broad consensus in line with Israel’s vibrant democracy.

Rep. Jeffries helps recast the debate in terms of the special relationship between the United State and Israel. His key messages resonate with America’s wider interests. The themes he highlighted during his interactions with Israeli leaders and media are critical to and enrich our national security debate: That the judicial overhaul must not affect U.S. military aid to Israel, that American support for Israel is above judicial reform, and that the mass protests are “a sign of strength for Israeli democracy.”

In elevating a key component of America’s Middle East strategy, Rep. Jeffries spoke of “the need to make sure that we maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, that it will still be with us regardless of where Israel lands in terms of the judicial reform effort.”

The Brooklyn Democrat deftly handled Israeli concerns on some of the criticism on Israel from within the ranks that preceded Israeli president Isaac Herzog’s visit and address to the joint session of Congress. Some of that criticism crossed aline and was rebuked by most House Democrats and Americans, including by us at the American Jewish Congress [see our statement].

“The Democratic Party in the House of Representatives will continue to stand with Israel in lifting up the special relationship between our two countries and in support of Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people and as aJewish democratic state,” Rep. Jeffries told journalists. “Period. Full stop.

The U.S.-Israel partnership is as much about joint prosperity as it is about joint security. Congressman Ron Davis, who joined Rep. Jeffries on the trip, said, “We have much to gain from working together in agrotechnology, health care, and building a more resilient economy. Collaboration is critical as we work to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

We congratulate House Minority Leader Jeffries, Rep. Steny Hoyer, and the rest of the twenty-four House Democrats who are in Israel this week – in a visit organized by American Israel Education Foundation – for creating another opportunity to help Americans and Israelis cut through the fog on what is important in this strategic relationship.

JACK ROSEN, President, American Jewish Congress
DANIEL ROSEN, Vice Chair, American Jewish Congress

(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson)

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