Members of House Democratic Caucus
United States House of Representatives
Dear Members of the House Democratic Caucus:
We are pro-Israel organizations writing to urge you to select a House Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson for the 117th Congress whose foreign policy views are aligned with those of the solid majority of Jewish Americans and other supporters of Israel. We believe the committee’s next chair, among other qualifications, should demonstrate a clear record of support for and a firm commitment to the following principles:
1. The primacy of a diplomacy-first foreign policy:
The committee’s chair must be an ardent, consistent champion of diplomacy over coercive or military approaches to furthering US interests on the world stage. They will need to serve as a key driver of rehabilitating a rules-based international system and revitalizing a State Department that the current administration has sought to defund, delegitimize and disempower. A record of strong support for diplomatic initiatives like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran is essential, as is opposition to belligerent policies like broad punitive sanctions and the use of force, except as a last resort.
2. Israel’s existence as a secure, democratic homeland of the Jewish people:
The committee’s chair should act as a responsible steward of the US-Israel Special Relationship, advancing legislation and policies that enhance rather than undermine the foundational elements of that relationship, including our shared security interests and the democratic values to which both countries aspire. The chair should uphold US security aid commitments made to Israel to help it counter terrorism and regional threats. At the same time, they should promote measures to ensure that such assistance is actually used as intended – and not for purposes which harm rather than enhance Israel’s security and American interests. The chair should support bold US moves to help ensure – and highlight challenges to – Israel’s future as a pluralistic liberal democracy and homeland for the Jewish people, including the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians and the occupation of Palestinian territory. They should be an advocate for Israel’s legitimacy and insist on it being held to the same standards as other countries in international fora.
3. The rights of the Palestinian people, including to statehood:
The next chair of the committee should not merely recognize, but actively defend the rights of the Palestinian people – including their human rights and right to a sovereign, viable state. They should oppose de facto and de jure unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory, settlement expansion and ongoing occupation – and support appropriate, proportional consequences in response to such actions. The chair should be an advocate for robust humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, as well as insist on adherence by Palestinian leaders to their international commitments, including with respect to incitement. They must fight against, and under no circumstances engage in, the demonization of the Palestinian people.
We look forward to continuing to consult with you in the months ahead on this critically important choice.
Americans for Peace Now
Partners for Progressive Israel