Over the past week, headline after headline emanating from Washington and the Middle East has caused us to do a double take. In this week’s Action Update, we’ll discuss developments which give further insight into what the Biden administration, the Iranian regime and the Palestinian Authority are thinking.
As longtime readers of the Action Update know, there’s so much going in Washington during any given week that we generally avoid devoting an Update to one singular subject, let alone one singular individual. But this week, we’re deviating from our traditional approach and devoting the entire Update to the nomination of Colin Kahl to serve as President Biden’s nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Department of Defense. Below we offer a non-comprehensive overview of Kahl’s positions on issues of import to the CUFI Action Fund.
In this week’s Action Update, we breakdown the implications (or lack thereof) of the Biden administration’s decision to re-engage the UN Human Rights Council. We also break down the implications (or lack thereof) of the International Criminal Court’s decision that they can sit in judgement of Israel. Finally, we’ll give an update on the Biden team’s announcement concerning sanctions relief and the Iran nuclear accord.
At this point, to call Washington “broken” is so cliché that the phrase has virtually lost its meaning. Although, that does not mean it is unfixable or that we can’t work toward progress on vital policy issues in our nation’s capital. In fact, that is why groups like CUFI Action Fund are essential in our governmental process. Citizens have a direct impact on the climate created in Washington, for better or worse, it is time for Representatives in Congress to get their houses in order and work on behalf of the people.
Depending upon one’s priorities, the Iran nuclear agreement was the best of deals or the worst of deals. For Arabs, Israelis and their allies, the Iran nuclear agreement was the codification of a descent into Iranian hegemony and nuclear blackmail. It was the apotheosis of appeasement. For the (alleged) foreign policy elites of Western capitals it was a way to achieve peace in our time (it didn’t). And for the Russians and the Chinese, it was a method to eventually do business with one of the world’s most evil regimes. In this week’s Action Update, we delve into the rapid series of recent events that helps put the future of any agreement – both its details and its prospects – into perspective.
This week, given the mob attack on the Capitol building, we cannot offer a traditional Action Update. What happened last week was an attack on our nation, our Constitution, and for us at the Action Fund, our friends and colleagues. Next week, as Vice President Pence said upon the liberation of the Capitol building from the violent mob, the Action Update writers will “get back to work,” and offer our perspective on the important policy matters of the days, weeks and months to come. One of the great honors of working in Washington, with offices just a block away from the Capitol building, is being afforded the opportunity to interact with a den of heroes and servants.
Welcome back to Washington. We hope you enjoyed your time with your families, and we’re grateful to those of you who returned a little earlier than expected to ensure the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act became law. With the 117th Congress now sworn in, feel free to forward The Update to your new colleagues so they too can hear from the Washington arm of the nation’s largest pro-Israel organization.
merican-Turkish relations have been in a steady decline for the better part of the last decade in large part because Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have found new and creative ways to undercut the relationship. Without a major change in Turkish behavior, the relationship will only get rockier.
As the year winds down, we have taken stock of what we’ve accomplished and what we are focusing on in the year to come. It’s beyond cliché to say that 2020 has been a year replete with challenges, but for Israel and for the Action Fund, the news wasn’t all bad. With the help of America’s leadership, the Israelis have normalized relations with no less than five countries in recent months, with Morocco and Bhutan joining the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, just last week. And for the Action Fund, we’ve seen a host of our top priorities move forward.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We expect the Senate to take up the bill shortly. This legislation contains several provisions of significance to the US-Israel relationship and we strongly support it being signed into law once Congress sends it to the President’s desk.