Washington, DC—Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, lauded two pieces of legislation that strengthen the relationship between Israel, “one of our closest allies,” and the United States. The Congressman is a co-sponsor of both H. Res 246, a resolution opposing the BDS movement, and HR 1837, legislation to ensure that Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself against growing threats. Both pieces of legislation passed in the House with broad bipartisan support last night.

“The BDS movement exists solely to delegitimize Israel’s very existence, and I am proud the House of Representatives came together to say, in a bipartisan, unified voice, that we will not stand idly by while one of our closest allies is targeted and vilified. The path to peace between Israel and Palestine will not be hindered by that kind of blind hatred.”

Background:

H.Res. 246, Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel: The resolution puts the House on record against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. 

  • The BDS movement is a grassroots movement that seeks to pressure Israel to make concessions with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through economic, cultural, and academic boycotts. The BDS Movement does not recognize, and many of its supporters explicitly deny, the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination.
  • Among its other negative features, the BDS campaign sets back the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace by making one-sided demands of the Jewish state and discouraging Palestinians from engaging in direct talks with Israel. 

HR 1837, United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act: Israel and the United States have robust civil and security cooperation across a wide range of issues. This bill:

  • Updates and deepens the cooperation on cybersecurity, directed energy, development, programming, energy, agriculture, desalination, PTSD, and health technologies. 
  • Ensures that Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself against growing threats.
  • Authorizes both the security assistance to Israel outlined in the 2016 US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and the emergency resupply of military equipment if Israel finds itself under attack.

The Congressman’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight our critical relationship with Israel: an alliance not only important to our two countries, but to the tectonic plates of global geopolitics.

I was pleased to both co-sponsor and vote in favor of the United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act, and the Resolution Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel, two important legislative priorities—because I believe Israel’s safety and security is critical to our own safety and security. 

As I’ve shared with my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Israel holds a special place in my heart. As a college student forty years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Jerusalem and get to know the people and cultures. I developed a unique appreciation and understanding for the struggles they face on a daily basis.

As many of us know, the BDS movement exists solely to delegitimize Israel’s very existence, and I am proud the House of Representatives came together to say, in a bipartisan, unified voice, that we will not stand idly by while one of our closest allies is targeted and vilified. The path to peace between Israel and Palestine will not be hindered by that kind of blind hatred.

Although this BDS resolution sends a critical message, it falls short of what is ultimately needed to address long-term challenges. I am hopeful that the House will consider stronger legislation with actual binding policy provisions to help the United States stand with Israel against BDS.

I am prepared to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address these and other issues facing our allies.”

###