Strengthening Israel’s Security
and Bolstering the US-Israel Special Relationship
John Kerry has been at the forefront of the fight for Israel’s security during his nineteen years in the US Senate. His pro-Israel voting record is second to none.
John Kerry did not wait until he was running for president of the United States to visit Israel - he has been there on numerous occasions throughout his public life. Through his meetings with Israeli political and military leaders – and especially his interaction with ordinary Israelis – he has experienced the everyday security threat that Israelis face and this has deepened his understanding of Israel’s security needs. In short, John Kerry will never do anything to compromise that security.
John Kerry believes that particularly in uncertain times like these we must reaffirm and indeed strengthen our special relationship with Israel, our most steadfast friend and ally in the region. His commitment to a safe, secure, democratic Jewish state of Israel is unwavering. It comes from a personal belief that Israel’s cause must be America’s cause.
John Kerry understands that anti-Semitism masked in anti-Israel rhetoric is a dangerous trend threatening both Israel and Jewish communities around the world. John Kerry has always fought against anti-Semitism and as president, he will take governments around the world to task for failing to address this escalating threat.
Israel’s Right to Respond to Terrorism: Kerry supports Israel’s right of self defense to eliminate threats to its citizens, including actions taken by Israel against Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in Gaza. In spring 2002, when Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield to root out Palestinian terrorists and dismantle the Palestinian infrastructure, Kerry co-sponsored a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel and called for continued assistance in strengthening Israel's homeland defenses.
Supporting Israel’s Plan to Withdraw from Gaza: John Kerry expressed support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unprecedented plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. He recognizes that in any final settlement for Israel to remain a Jewish State, Palestinians must settle in a future Palestinian State rather than in Israel, and that in light of demographic realities, a number of settlement blocks will likely become a part of Israel.
Fighting Against Saudi Government Anti-Semitism: John Kerry has forcefully spoken out against anti-Semitic statements by Saudi government officials, saying it calls into question their commitment to combating terrorism and pledging that as president, he will never permit these kinds of attacks to go unanswered.
Israel’s Security Fence Is A Legitimate Right of Self Defense: John Kerry supports the construction of Israel’s security fence to stop terrorists from entering Israel. The security fence is a legitimate act of self defense erected in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israeli citizens. He believes the security fence is not a matter for the International Court of Justice.
New Palestinian Leadership: John Kerry believes that Yasser Arafat is a failed leader and unfit partner for peace and therefore has supported his total isolation. He has demanded a new, responsible Palestinian leadership, committed to ending the violence and fighting terror – in word and in deed – and will work tirelessly to ensure that this new leadership emerges.
Foreign Aid to Israel: John Kerry has always voted to maintain critical foreign aid to our ally Israel, resisting any attempts to cut it over his years in the Senate. In the early 1990s, he fought President Bush when his administration restricted aid to Israel through the loan guarantees program.
The UN and other International Organizations: John Kerry has always believed the US must stand solidly behind Israel at the UN and other international organizations. He recognizes the UN must establish more credibility on Arab-Israeli matters and would never hesitate to wield a US veto on the Security Council in the face of anti-Israel/Anti-Zionist resolutions.
Fighting to Move the American Embassy to Jerusalem: John Kerry has long advocated moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s indisputable capital. In 1999, he signed a letter taking President Clinton to task for not moving the embassy.
Maintaining Israel’s Military Superiority: John Kerry understands that America must guarantee Israel’s military superiority and supports carefully restricting arms sales to Arab countries in the region. He opposed the sale of Maverick missiles and F-15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia.
Financing Terror: Kerry will demand accountability and action from Arab and European countries to eliminate sources of funds that flow freely to terrorist organizations. Kerry strongly believes the US must “end the sweetheart relationship with a bunch of Arab countries that still allow money to move to Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Aqsa Brigade.”
Isolating and Punishing Regimes of Terror: Kerry co-sponsored the Syria Accountability Act, which includes a ban on the export of military and dual use items to Syria. He believes that “we must ensure that Syria does not acquire and distribute additional weapons thereby exasperating tensions in the Middle East, raising potential threats to Israel, and undermining arms control.”
Preventing a Nuclear Armed Iran: John Kerry understands that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable. He believes the failure of the Bush Administration to thwart Iran’s efforts to amass nuclear weapons poses a real threat to the safety and security of Israel, the US and the rest of the free world.
Guiding Principles for John Kerry on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:
• As President, John Kerry will never force Israel to make concessions that compromise its security.
• As President, John Kerry would not expect Israel to negotiate without a credible Palestinian partner for peace - something that unfortunately does not exist today.
• As President, John Kerry would work to ensure and embrace strong bi-partisan support for matters concerning the security of the State of Israel.
• As President, John Kerry will provide the political and military support for Israel to fight terrorism. He understands that just as Israel has stood with the US in our fight against terrorism and Al-Qaeda, the US must stand firmly with Israel as it fights against terrorism and terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah. We must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder against terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism.
• As President, John Kerry will work to strengthen the economy of Israel, an economy that has suffered dramatically over the last few years during the latest violence in the region. In particular, he will act to jump start the high tech sector working to adapt many of the innovative “technologies” Israel has invented to combat terrorism. He will work to strengthen the US homeland while simultaneously strengthening the Israeli economy.
• As President, John Kerry will strengthen the working relationship and cooperation between the US Department of Homeland Security and the Israeli security establishment to share technology and lessons learned. In addition, he will establish a commission to see what the US can learn to strengthen the security of our homeland from Israel’s experience and success on matters such as airline and port security, nuclear plants and chemical storage facilities.
• As President, John Kerry will implement measures and programs to improve the social, economic, and political conditions throughout the Middle East as part of a comprehensive multilateral effort to move the region forward towards democracy and freedom and away from Islamic fundamentalism, including a wide-ranging Middle East trade agenda.