February 12, 2015 - Issue: Vol. 161, No. 24 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 1st Session
SENATE RESOLUTION 76--WELCOMING THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL TO THE UNITED STATES FOR HIS ADDRESS TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 24
(Senate - February 12, 2015)
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[Pages S1007-S1008] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] SENATE RESOLUTION 76--WELCOMING THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL TO THE UNITED STATES FOR HIS ADDRESS TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS Mr. CORNYN (for himself, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Wicker, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Lee, Mr. Heller, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Rounds, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Moran, Mr. Thune, Mr. Tillis, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Grassley, Ms. Collins, Mrs. Fischer, Mr. Vitter, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Lankford, Mr. Risch, Mr. Daines, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Cochran, Mrs. Capito, Mrs. Ernst, Mr. McCain, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Sasse, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Portman, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Cassidy, Mr. Burr, Mr. Crapo, Mr. Toomey, Mr. Hoeven, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Gardner, Mr. Perdue, Ms. Ayotte, Mr. Coats, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Scott, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Paul, and Ms. Murkowski) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations: S. Res. 76 Whereas, since its founding in 1948, Israel has been a strong and steadfast ally to the United States in the Middle East, a region characterized by instability and violence; Whereas the United States-Israel relationship is built on mutual respect for common values, including a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, free-market principles, and ethnic and religious diversity; Whereas the strong cultural, religious, and political ties shared by the United States and Israel help form a bond between our countries that should never be broken; Whereas Israel continues to serve as a shining model of democratic values by regularly holding free and fair elections, promoting the free exchange of ideas, and vigorously exercising a form of democratic government that is fully representative of its citizens; Whereas nations such as Iran and Syria, as well as designated foreign terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, continually call for its destruction, and have repeatedly attacked Israel either directly or through proxies; Whereas, in particular, the Government of Iran's ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat both to the United States and Israel; Whereas the negotiations between the so-called P5+1 countries and Iran over its illicit nuclear weapons program are entering a key phase, and Congress has heard the perspectives, both publicly and privately, of a number of close allies involved in the negotiations; and Whereas the United States is committed to ensuring that Israel, as a strong and trusted ally, maintains its qualitative military edge: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) warmly welcomes the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his visit to the United States, which provides a timely opportunity to reinforce the United States-Israel relationship; (2) eagerly awaits the address of Prime Minister Netanyahu before a joint session of the United States Congress; (3) reaffirms its commitment to stand with Israel during times of uncertainty; (4) continues to strongly support Israel's right to defend itself from threats to its very survival; and (5) reaffirms its unequivocal and bipartisan support for the friendship between the people and Governments of the United States and Israel. Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I want to speak on another matter, and that is an event that should be a historic and momentous event that is scheduled to take place on the other side of the Capitol early next month. For the third time since he has been Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking to a joint session of Congress. In his invitation, the Speaker of the House indicated that the reason for the invitation is because of the grave threats radical Islam and the Iranian regime pose to our security and our way of life. I cannot think of a more timely or a more critical subject for the American people to hear about from one of the world's great leaders. For some reason, some people are trying to turn this into a public controversy, but to me and I imagine to many others, it is mystifying and somewhat disappointing. The reasons for supporting and defending the nation of Israel are obvious: Both of our countries are pluralistic democracies with a staunch commitment to liberty, equality, and human rights; both of our countries are threatened by radical Islam; and both of our countries have responded to that threat while remaining free and open societies. Those are the reasons why most Americans stand with Israel and why U.S. aid to Israel enjoys such overwhelming support among Members of both parties here in Congress. Indeed, we have no closer Middle Eastern ally than Israel and I would argue no bigger Middle Eastern adversary than the country of Iran. I would also argue that we have no bigger foreign policy challenges than stopping the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons and keeping those weapons out of the hands of terrorists. A nuclear Iran would make this world a far more dangerous place. For starters, it would dramatically increase Iranian leverage, Iranian power, and Iranian aggression in the Middle East. We must remember that this is the same regime that has continued to violently target the United States since 1979. It is the same regime that has been on the State Department's terrorism blacklist since 1984. It is the same regime that not too long ago was plotting to blow up a restaurant right here in Washington, DC. I was reminded that 1983, with the bombing of our Embassy in Beirut-- a largely forgotten historical moment--was the beginning of America's deadly encounter with the political Islamist movement. It was also the birth of the Shiite political entity we know today by the name of Hezbollah, supported by Iran. Perhaps most poignantly, the Government of Iran refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, has continually called for its destruction, and has repeatedly attacked Israel either directly or through proxies. Make no mistake--Iran's ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat to the United States and to our ally Israel. Given the very clear and present danger to the nation of Israel and the dangers they face on a perpetual basis from their neighbors in the region--Iran--the U.S.-Israel alliance has never been more important than it is today. Israel is a shining model of democratic values for nations around the world. It is a great example for others to follow in the Middle East. The strong cultural, religious, and political ties shared by the United States and Israel have helped form a bond between our countries that should never be broken. Now more than ever, the people of Israel need reassurance that we remain committed to seeing that their nation, as a strong and trusted ally, maintain its qualitative military edge in the face of ongoing threats from nations such as Iran and Syria and terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. That is why today we have filed a resolution here in the Senate welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he addresses a joint session of Congress next month. This resolution reaffirms the Senate's commitment to stand with Israel during times of uncertainty. It reaffirms this body's strong support for Israel's right to defend itself from threats to its very survival. And it reaffirms the Senate's unequivocal support for the friendship between the governments of our two nations. As of this morning a majority of the Senate has signed on as a cosponsor to [[Page S1008]] this resolution, and this afternoon we are signing a ``Dear Colleague'' letter, which, as the Presiding Officer knows, invites all 100 Senators to join in support of this resolution. I hope the rest of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in welcoming the Prime Minister to Washington so we can continue to work together as he articulates in graphic detail, as no one else can, the threat of a nuclear Iran. During this time of such great instability and danger in the Middle East, the United States cannot afford to waver in our commitment to one of our closest and most important allies. ____________________