The House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously passed the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 (H.R. 938), including an amendment offered by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) to enhance US-Israeli coordination in ongoing efforts to combat anti-Semitism.
As adopted by the full committee on Wednesday, theSmith amendment added a section to the bill providing that “the Department of State should continue and, to the furthest extent practicable, increase its coordination on monitoring and combating anti-Semitism with the Government of Israel.”
“Anti-Semitism is a unique and abhorrent evil and, while the State Department is active in the fight against it, the government of Israel is going to have an indispensable perspective and experience on the security dimensions and implications of anti-Semitic incitement,” said Smith. “Our government should be consulting, cooperating, and coordinating with them on this, benefiting from their expertise.”
Smith has long been a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism. He is the author of the2004 legislative amendment that created the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, in the early 2000s led the effort to place fighting anti-Semitism on the agenda of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which led to the adoption of new norms for the 57 countries that belong to the OSCE. He has also chaired six hearings on anti-Semitism, including Congress’s first-ever hearings on anti-Semitism. He is co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (an organization of Members of Congress) and a member of the steering committee of the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism.
“This provision prods the State Department to better engage with and learn from Israel how anti-Semitism is used to recruit terrorists especially in the Middle East,” Smith said. “Effectively, it will add a new security dimension to our efforts to end this most pernicious evil,” Smith said. “Anti-Semitism is an ugly reality that won’t go away by ignoring or wishing it away. Let’s cooperate with Israel in this struggle as well.”
The base bill which Smith amended, The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, was authored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, with Smith among the bill’s cosponsors. The broader legislation expands the U.S. relationship with Israel by supporting Israeli defense systems, transferring defense items to Israel, pre-positioning military equipment in Israel that both allies would have available in a crisis, and expanding cooperation in cyber security, energy, water, homeland security, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies.
“The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act’s provisions supporting Israel’s Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow-3 missile defense systems, as well as other defense and civilian projects, will strengthen our partnership with Israel and is especially timely,” Smith said.