Sen. Cruz Delivers Remarks at the AJC’s 2019 Global Forum

I, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently addressed members of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) 2019 Global Policy Forum. There, I highlighted the bipartisan resolution I introduced with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to condemn anti-Semitism in the United States. 

“We see the rise of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic remarks. We see anti-Semitic cartoons in the New York Times. We see anti-Semitic comments by Members of Congress. […] Now I want to give you some good news. In the Senate I have introduced a simple, clear resolution condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms. It was important to me for this not to be a partisan exercise. So, I reached out and teamed up with Senator Tim Kaine. The two of us together, it’s the Cruz-Kaine resolution. We have right now over 50 Senators who are cosponsors, including 12 Democrats who are cosponsors of the anti-Semitism resolution. It is my hope that we will take this up on the floor of the Senate, we will vote on it. And I think if we do there is a chance that we will end up voting 100 to nothing, and I think it would be very important at this point in time to see a unanimous, bipartisan, clear condemnation of anti-Semitism. So as y’all are visiting with Senators, I would encourage you to encourage them to get on board. I think it is important for us to speak with one voice.”

Later, I expressed my support for President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the disastrous Obama-Iran nuclear deal. I then shifted focus to highlight my effort with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for the U.S. to recognize Israel’s true sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Watch my full remarks here. Excerpts are below: 

“I believe that the Iranian nuclear deal was catastrophically foolish. I think sending tens of billions of dollars to the Ayatollah Khomeini who chants, ‘Death to America.’ Who calls Israel, ‘the little Satan.’ Who calls America, ‘the Great Satan.’ I think that was profoundly foolish. If history teaches anything it’s that if someone tells you they want to kill you, believe them. I believe the president pulling out of the Iran deal was the single most important national security decision that has been made in the last two and a half years.

“I have consistently since that time been pressing the administration, pressing the State Department, to ratchet up the pressure. To end the multiple waivers that were in place -- the oil waivers that allowed Iran to sell over a million barrels of oil a day. The civilian nuclear waivers that allowed Iran to continue nuclear research -- including at the Fordow plant, cut into the side of a mountain, a bunker designed to develop nuclear weapons. And we have steadily moved to ratcheting up the pressure.

“I believe maximum pressure should mean maximum pressure. And so, we should use every tool we have to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Because among other things not only are they developing nuclear weapons, but they are developing ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missiles] technology. ICBM technology is not designed to take a bomb to Israel. You don’t need an ICBM to get to Israel. An ICBM has one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to take a nuclear weapon to the United States of America. Those changes have been major, they have been significant, and I believe they have dramatically enhanced the safety of both Israel and the United States.

“Let me point to two other matters that are ongoing right now. This is on one level an encouraging time. I think the U.S-Israel relationship and friendship has never been stronger. On another level it’s a discouraging time. We see the rise of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic remarks. We see anti-Semitic cartoons in the New York Times. We see anti-Semitic comments by Members of Congress. For a long time, there has been a strong bipartisan commitment to the U.S-Israel relationship, and I thank the AJC for the important role you play in keeping that commitment going. That commitment I believe has been frayed. And it’s painful to see it frayed.

“One of the things we saw, was the House of Representatives unable to pass even a simple anti-Semitism resolution that condemned anti-Semitism unequivocally. That division within the Democratic party paralyzed them.

“Now I want to give you some good news. In the Senate I have introduced a simple, clear resolution condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms. It was important to me for this not to be a partisan exercise. So, I reached out and teamed up with Senator Tim Kaine. The two of us together, it’s the Cruz-Kaine resolution. We have right now over 50 Senators who are cosponsors, including 12 Democrats who are cosponsors of the anti-Semitism resolution. It is my hope that we will take this up on the floor of the Senate, we will vote on it. And I think if we do there is a chance that we will end up voting 100 to nothing, and I think it would be very important at this point in time to see a unanimous, bipartisan, clear condemnation of anti-Semitism. So as y’all are visiting with Senators, I would encourage you to encourage them to get on board. I think it is important for us to speak with one voice.

“There is a second piece of legislation that I have that is substantive legislation that recognizes the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Now that is something the administration did unilaterally, and I leaned in hard urging the administration to do that unilaterally. If you look at the substance, almost nobody makes the case on the other side anymore. There was a time, 20 years ago, where you might argue about whether the Golan Heights is legitimately part of Israel. Nobody makes that argument today. Nobody from within Israeli politics makes that argument today. And nobody from an American perspective does either, because no one in their right mind would want the Golan Heights under the control of Bashar al Assad and Syria’s government much less under the control of Iran or Russia. It is clear that the Golan Heights are critical to the safety and security of Israel. They are part of Israel, so recognizing it is simply acknowledging reality. I think it is important that we put that, codify that into law, so that there is not a risk of a next administration potentially undoing that decision. I don’t want this to be subject to political whims. In the House, a number of House Democrats have spoken out publicly in favor of the policy of recognizing the Golan. But to date, none of those House Democrats have been willing to join the legislation doing that.

“In the Senate, I think if we ‘tee’ it up and get a vote in the Senate I think we have got a real chance at once again getting a 100 to nothing vote -- getting a bipartisan, unequivocal, clear statement of the entire United States Senate coming together to stand with Israel. I hope that we do that. I think it’s important right now at this moment of time that we show clear, strong unanimity. So, I thank you for the leadership of the AJC, building and maintaining that support, and I am grateful, I am honored to stand with each of you.” 

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