ISRAEL AND IRAN

Shontel Brown ignores serious threats to Israel and to world peace because of Iran. Iran is a sworn enemy of both Israel and the United States. It sponsors terrorism. It threatens a vital “choke point” in the strait connecting the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman through which world oil shipments pass. It cheats and it lies. Accepting promises by Iran that it is not developing nuclear weapons would be foolish. And given historic hostility between Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and Shiites in Iran, the Iran Deal puts at risk more than the safety of America and Israel.

The Middle East is where wars often begin. Think Iraq and Afghanistan. Now a war has broken out because of the Hamas invasions of Israel.  This is not just an attack on Israel.  It is an attack on the core values of western civilization.  War will put to the test the nature of American support for Israel.  Israel is a fortress ally that bolster our defenses in the Middle East and provides us with offensive capabilities. Its military importance should not be underestimated as it become clear that a military conflict with Iran now may no longer be merely a theoretical possibility.  To bring about an expanded Abraham Accord that includes the Saudis, this war absolutely must result in the destruction of Hamas and the punishment of Iran.

Iran is responsible for this new war.  It is a part of a new Axis of Evil that consists of Russia, China, North Korea, and all their proxies.  Doing nothing about Iran is not an option.  For too long, the Biden Administration has neglected to enforce financial sanctions against Iran that were approved by Congress.  And Shontel Brown has been silent about that neglect.

It is Israel’s turn to suffer now as its border is being overrun.  But with a non-existent southern border allowing all sorts of unknown persons to enter, America’s turn could be next.  A lesson should be learned.

Israel is one of America’s best friends. Defending it is a moral imperative but also a matter of American security and self-interest. The Abraham Accords prove how important Israel is to world peace. Advances in drug development, de-salinization projects, and computer technology prove how important Israel is to the world economy. Israel needs the United States, but the United States and the world also need Israel.

And Israel cannot continue to exist without U.S. support. Such support always must be strong and unshakable, especially during its new war with Hamas.

Enemies of Israel must never believe for a moment that American support might falter. But members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are not supportive of Israel.  Public demonstrations that celebrate Hamas butchery were organized by the Democratic Socialists of America (“DSA”).  This group that boasts six members of the House of Representatives, including these Caucus members:  Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Bush, Omar, Bowman, and Casar.  Shontel Brown also is a member of that Caucus.  She has not joined the DSA -- but neither has she criticized by name her fellow Caucus members or this organization.  Her failure to criticize is not consistent with full support of Israel.

To her credit, Brown did condemn Hamas by name for its recent butchery.  But too often, when domestic enemies of Israel are vocal, Shontel Brown goes silent.  She is not the strong public supporter of her Jewish constituents that they deserve.  And that may be due to her unwillingness to take issue in public with her fellow members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

For instance, when fellow Caucus member Rashida Tlaib blamed Israel, Shontel Brown went silent.  Tlaib called Israel an “apartheid regime” and supports a “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” movement which aims to end “military occupation” by exerting economic pressure on Israel.  Brown has not publicly criticized her fellow Caucus member Tlaib for her history of anti-Semitism. This should be a cause for concern.

When the House voted to censure Tlaib for antisemitic remarks, even 22 House Democrat members voted in favor of the censure resolution.  But Shontel Brown voted “no.”  She chose not to speak out on behalf of her Jewish constituents.

When fellow progressive Representative Pramila Jayapal made antisemitic remarks, Shontel Brown went silent. Congress responded to Jayapal’s remarks by passing H. Con. Res. 57, Expressing the sense of Congress supporting the State of Israel. This resolution did not name Jayapal. It passed 412-9. But 40 House Democrats found this resolution inadequate. They issued a joint letter to condemn Jayapal by name. And Shontel Brown did not add her name to that letter. When it came time to stand up for Israel in public, Brown went into hiding. That sent another signal from her to Israel’s enemies.

When $6 billion in sanction relief was given to Iran as ransom in a prisoner exchange, Shontel Brown went silent.  Such a deal will be used to fund terrorism.  Brown should understand that even the mere promise of this money allows Iran to reallocate part of its budget to terrorism that otherwise would be allocated to aid its own suffering people.  Not only has this ransom money rewarded kidnapping and hostage taking.  Not only will it provide an incentive and lead to more kidnapping and hostage taking.  It has enabled bad actors to take very bad actions against innocent civilians.

Moreover, the Biden Administration relaxed financial sanctions against Iran.  Once again, Shontel Brown was silent.  These sanctions were designed to block Iranian access to financial systems.  They would have prevented Iran from funding Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis in Yemen.  The $6 billion in sanction relief is dwarfed by the much larger amount of oil revenue Iran has realized because of the waiver of sanctions by the Biden Administration.

And when the Biden Administration revived an Iran Deal that is an existential threat, Shontel Brown again went silent.  This deal would give Iran a license to develop atomic weapons. It is dangerous to world peace. It eventually may force Israel to take military action against Iran to guarantee its survival. And it may force the Saudis to build their own nuclear bombs, which would destabilize the entire Middle East.

And when the House of Representatives voted 311 to 14 to declare that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism,” Shontel Brown lacked the courage to take a position.  She did not vote either yes or no.  She voted “present.”

True friends are not silent.  Shontel Brown should care more, and say more.  As a District 11 representative in Congress, she has an obligation to speak out forcefully for her Jewish constituents, especially on the subject of antisemitism.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Nazis came after the Jews.  Many Americans initially felt at the time that this was someone else’s problem and not theirs.  Our country came to learn differently.  Evil that pursues others will eventually turn and pursue the rest of us.  Crowds in Tehran shout “Death to Israel!” but they also shout “Death to America!” on every occasion.  A united front against the forces of destruction is important.  And it is why I am so concerned about the lack of commitment being shown by Shontel Brown.

Elect Alan Rapoport to the U.S. House of Representatives
for Ohio’s 11th District.

Paid for by Rapoport for Congress Committee

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