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Conference of Presidents lauds Congressional moves on Israel, Iran

 NEW YORK (Press Release)– An overwhelming majority of members of the Senate and the House has signed letters to the President reaffirming the special relationship and strong bond between Israel and the U.S.  The Senate letter signed by 87 members stresses that it is in the U.S. national interest to support Israel when it faces threats from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. 

In a similar letter, signed by 320 members of the House, the Administration is also asked to investigate the motives behind the IHH and the so-called “Gaza flotilla” it organized. The questions raised ask about the role of the IHH, which is a member of an organization designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a terrorist organization.  They deplored the action of the UN Human Rights Council, which again singled out Israel for condemnation before hearing any of the facts.  The legislators commended the actions of the Administration in preventing a Security Council resolution while stressing the need for vigilance to prevent biased resolutions from passing.

Both letters call for the Administration to exercise its leadership at the UN, including the use of the veto at the Security Council when one-sided resolutions against Israel are presented.  They express full support for Israel and its right to self-defense, including preventing items that can be used for attacks on its citizens from reaching Gaza.

“We are grateful to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and Congressmen Ted Poe, Gary Peters and Mike Pence for their leadership and all members who rallied in support of these letters.  Once again, Congress has demonstrated its commitment to Israel’s security and to strengthening the partnership between these two great democracies.  They reflect the sentiments of the American people who support Israel by an overwhelming majority, including its right to defend itself by opposing the embargo,” said Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.  

Iran

The Senate voted on Friday by 99-0 and the House 408-8 to support the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), imposing new sanctions on Iran.  The legislation targets companies investing in Iran’s energy sector and prevents U.S. banks from engaging other foreign banks that aid Iran’s activities which violate UN Security Council resolutions.  It also requires companies receiving U.S. contracts to certify that neither they nor their subsidiaries are doing business in Iran.  Many companies had affiliates operating in Iran under different names.  Now they will be held liable with stiff penalties for violating the CISADA provisions.  Other provisions within CISADA penalize those aiding the violation of human rights in Iran, expand limits on imports from Iran, and prohibit the export of nuclear goods or technology to countries helping Iran in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

“We are greatly appreciative of Senate and House leaders and membership, for their support of this measure, especially in such numbers.  In particular, we thank Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd, Ranking Member Sen. Richard Shelby, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Howard Berman and Ranking Member Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for their leadership in securing passage of this vital measure. The numbers themselves send a message to Iran about the determination of the U.S. and our elected representatives not to allow Iran to secure a nuclear weapons capacity.  The importance of these sanctions was underscored as Iran announced that it has enriched uranium to 20 percent purity and continues to expedite its drive for nuclear weapons,” said Solow and Hoenlein.

“We thank the conferees and all those who helped make the new sanctions a reality.  We look to the President and the Administration for quick implementation and strict enforcement of CISADA, and we congratulate the Department of Treasury for the prompt actions against Iranian entities in the aftermath of the UN Security Council adoption of the latest sanction resolutions.  The UN resolutions are a platform for the U.S., Europe and others to enact additional sanctions.  These votes will, no doubt, have an impact on the Ahmadinejad regime and the IRGC forces,” the leaders said.
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Preceding provided by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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