Candidates for House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Oppose Funneling US Taxpayer Dollars to Settlements

October 30, 2020

J Street welcomes statements from all three candidates to become the next Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) opposing the Trump administration’s removal of a decades-old restriction that prevented US-Israel scientific research cooperation agreements from including Israeli institutions located in occupied territory beyond the Green Line.

This move – which would allow US taxpayer dollars to fund projects conducted in Israeli settlements – was lauded by Israel’s right wing who see it as tantamount to recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank. It is the latest move by the Trump administration to undermine the long-standing US goal of achieving a peace between Israelis and Palestinians through a two-state solution that would ensure Israel’s future as a democratic state and a national home for the Jewish people, while fulfilling legitimate demands for Palestinian self-determination.

Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) stated: “Israeli settlements violate international law and their expansion is a serious impediment to peace. The Trump administration’s decision to fund investments there breaks decades of bipartisan consensus, undermining America’s ability to be a fair arbiter for a two-state solution.”

Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-30) wrote: “As the author of the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Program, whose projects are administered by the Binational Industrial Research & Development (BIRD) Foundation, I oppose expanding the scientific cooperation agreements to include Israeli settlements… The Trump administration’s action is transparently political. It will undermine efforts to fund cooperative scientific research, which has wide bipartisan support, by linking it to highly controversial settlement policies.”

Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-5) concurred: “My colleagues Joaquin Castro and Brad Sherman are absolutely correct. Trump continues to deteriorate America’s ability to be an honest broker. I look forward to a Biden administration that can repair that credibility.”

Like the candidates for the next Chair of HFAC, we look forward to a new administration that will reverse the destructive course of four years under President Trump, including its attempts to legitimate settlements and frustrate the potential for achieving the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

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