Mark Ambrose Position on Israel

The strong relationship between Israel and the U.S. is beneficial for both countries. The U.S. benefits from intelligence cooperation and a military alliance that shares a common fight against terrorist regimes and groups. This is especially important now that our military footprint in the region is shrinking but the threat level is not. It should be a bipartisan imperative for the United States to support the Jewish state of Israel and her right to exist and defend herself.

The United States must always stand alongside a democracy that protects minorities and gives them representation within the legislature. Israel is precisely that type of an ally, a parliamentary democracy within a region of the world that is not known for its tolerance. Israel remains under threat of attack from Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iranian proxies in Syria. I am unequivocal in my support to provide Israel the military and technological assistance that it needs to defend its people and to serve as a source of stability within the Middle East. Advances in missile technology by terrorist adversaries make it imperative that we do not delay.

My wife and I visited Israel in February 2014. It was not part of an organized tour. We hired drivers to travel from city to city and explore the country. During our trip, we stayed in the predominantly Israeli Arab town of Akko, less than 15 miles from Lebanese border. We also visited the Israeli Arab town of Nazareth. The people of Akko and Nazareth are full citizens of the state of Israel, enjoying all the rights and freedoms of the country. They have representation in the Knesset. The Israeli Arabs we spoke with had no interest in relocating to either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, where the government is chaotic and notoriously corrupt.

That was a moving and remarkable trip, but it came just a few months prior to one of the worst spasms of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in decades. By the end of the year, 2,251 Palestinians had died, as well as 73 Israelis.

Hamas had used international aid to build a network of reinforced, concrete tunnels in Gaza that served as a means to attack civilian targets in Southern Israel and to kidnap Israelis. Hamas had also gained Iran’s assistance to build an arsenal of rockets that would be used to terrorize Israeli civilians. Fortunately, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted the majority of Hamas missiles. The reprisals from the Israeli military would devastate Gaza, as Hamas cynically stored war materiel in civilian areas.

Returning to a cycle of violence serves nobody’s interests, except those of Iran. To help stabilize the region and ensure lasting peace, I support two initiatives by the United States:

1) Expand on the success of the Abraham accords that normalized relations between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors. Normalized relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel should be the goal on which our State Department is relentlessly focused.

2) A two-state solution that allows for a secure Israel, alongside a safe and democratic Palestinian State that must recognize the right of its neighbors to live in peace. The U.S. (and all other countries) should not dictate the terms of any two-state solution peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, we should support and encourage them in any way possible. Until that two-state solution can be achieved, we should acknowledge that Iran is a looming threat for Israel and for the broader Middle East.

Iran cannot be allowed to become a nuclear power. Reentering the “Iran Deal” (the 2015 JCPOA) will embolden and strengthen the terror regime in Iran, destabilize the region, and weaken our allies. As part of any future negotiation with Iran, we must demand a permanent and verifiable end to Iran’s nuclear program. We must also realize the ongoing danger from missiles supplied by Iran and launched from Gaza.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is uninformed and ill-advised. One of the BDS goals is to prevent our replenishment of the Iron Dome, which would result in Israeli deaths. We must support and replenish the Iron Dome anti-missile system that has saved so many Israeli civilians.

The current administration recently announced the opening of the “U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs” in Jerusalem, separate from the U.S. embassy. The new office removes all affiliations with the embassy to Israel and will report directly to the State Department’s Near East Affairs Bureau (NEA) in Washington. If it is to exist at all, this office should be located in Ramallah. Placing it in Jerusalem clearly undermines the 1995 U.S. Jerusalem Embassy act. In no other country does the State Department have an office in a capital city of one country with a mission to independently serve the people of another.

We must stand with democracies that protect all their citizens and give them equal representation, regardless of ethnic or religious group. The U.S. should condemn and stand firm against terrorist organizations and terror attacks on civilians.

As the next Congressman for Michigan’s 11th District, I will do everything in my power to support our critical ally, Israel. Terrorist groups, like Hamas in Gaza, are not legitimate governments. They must disavow terrorism and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist in order to be eligible for any type of support from the United States.

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Meet Mark – Birmingham Precinct Delegates – July 13