I am running for Congress to represent Michigan’s 11th District. Chief among my priorities are safety and security, both here in the U.S. and abroad, and I believe that our strong and enduring partnership with the State of Israel is a cornerstone of maintaining these goals. As we celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary this year, we mark 7 decades of steadfast U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations. As the only democracy in the Middle East and our strongest ally in the region, Israel and her security are paramount to our interests at home and abroad.
In Congress, I look forward to strengthening this partnership and exploring new ways to build upon Israel’s and America’s symbiotic economies. Israel has created countless technologies that Americans depend upon for agriculture, energy, healthcare, commerce, transportation, and national security, among many others. Through my experience leading a national workforce development program and building the first online training program for digital manufacturing in the U.S., I have seen the importance of creating high-skilled, new economy jobs of the future. I will make it a goal to develop strategic plans to build on these technological successes together.
In particular I believe the Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research and Education is a model for how two of our countries’ great universities can work together to incentivize collaboration and better innovate. While the University of Michigan is not in my district, I believe partnerships like these can strengthen relationships and better align research that both our countries – and the world – depend on. I look forward to visiting Israel and seeing firsthand how universities like Technion are advancing in every field. While there I hope to find ways to build and improve relationships between the high-tech businesses in Michigan’s 11th District and those that are the base of support for Israel’s high-tech economy.
I will also stand alongside Israel against the BDS movement, which seeks to undermine Israel’s economy and legitimacy. I believe the BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign, which only targets Israel, and not any other nation. Its main goal is to delegitimize Israel’s existence and inflame tensions in communities and on college campuses, which undermines the prospects for peace. At a time when anti-Israel boycotts are prevalent around the country and globe, and the Anti-Defamation League is reporting a dramatic uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes, it is now more important than ever to stand beside Israel and oppose state-sponsored BDS. I look forward to supporting legislative efforts in Congress that push back against the BDS movement, as the State of Michigan has done.
I believe in Israel’s fundamental right to defend herself. With Israeli civilians and members of the IDF subjected to rocket fire and terrorism, Congress must continue to support critical programs that help Israel upgrade its fleets in air, land, and sea, enhance the mobility of its ground forces, and continue to strengthen its missile defense capabilities. The landmark Memorandum of Understanding reached under the Obama Administration provided Israel with 38 billion dollars to accomplish these goals, and I look forward to building upon Israel’s capabilities by supporting U.S.-Israel collaborative missile defense programs, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Arrow Weapon Systems.I have no illusions about the destructive force that Iran continues to be in the international community. With Iran’s human rights violations, support for terror groups like Hezbollah and Syria’s brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad, its rhetoric toward Israel, and continued testing of ballistic missiles, Iran must be held accountable. Whatever one thought of the Iran deal the US is no longer a part of it and we must chart a way forward. That way forward must prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and also deal with terrorism, rockets, and regional destabilization. Diplomacy must be the first option and is the best solution but all options must remain on the table.
If elected, I hope to lend my voice to bringing greater stability to the region. Israel is a great and beautiful country and must endure as the homeland of the Jewish people. I believe in a two-state solution that is settled by parties directly involved in the peace process, not brokered at the United Nations where the United States continuously is forced to defend Israel against unfair assaults on her right to protect herself. While a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian question is vital for long-term safety and security in the region, it cannot infringe on Israel’s right to exist safely and as a Jewish state.
Our countries share a commitment to justice and equality for all. That common understanding of the world is why both Israel and the United States count ourselves as havens for everyone. From standing up for women’s rights to affirming our support for the worldwide LGBT community, our common values are what unite us. That deep sense of justice – born out of a shared commitment to repairing the world – is why we can always count on each other. I look forward to being a strong supporter of Israel in Congress and building on our decades-long relationship so that both countries can continue to prosper together.