CONGRESSMAN SANFORD BISHOP STATEMENT ON U.S. COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (GA-02) issued the following statement regarding his support for Israel and his commitment to a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
“Throughout my twenty-four years in Congress, I have been a stalwart supporter of our closest ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel. I am especially committed to Israel’s prosperity and security, and I have long supported security assistance and other protective measures for the nation, including the recent ten-year, $38 billion security aid agreement.
“I am also a cosponsor of the Price-Engel-Connolly Resolution, which acknowledges the special relationship between the United States and Israel and our shared values of democracy and rule of law. This resolution notes the United States’ long-standing support for a negotiated two state solution, and condemns boycotts and other campaigns that target Israel.
“I am disappointed, however, that the Price-Engel-Connolly resolution was not brought to the full U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. Instead, the House voted on House Resolution 11 (H.Res. 11), which includes inaccurate assertions that the administration’s abstention on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 departed from longstanding U.S. policy. Although reasonable minds may disagree, I could not in good conscience support H.Res. 11 due to these inflammatory inaccuracies and the resolution’s potential to undermine the longstanding goal of a negotiated two-state solution.
“The U.S. and Israel, like any close allies, have from time-to-time had differences of opinion on a number of discrete policy issues. As my colleague Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has noted, these policy differences have often played out in the U.N. through U.S. abstentions, contrary to the claims made in H.Res. 11. President George W. Bush’s administration abstained six times on U.N. votes concerning Israel. President Clinton’s administration abstained three times. Going further back, President George H.W. Bush had nine abstentions, President Reagan had twenty-one, President Carter had fourteen, and President Nixon had fifteen. Like the current administration’s abstention on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, a number of these past abstentions addressed settlement building, a lightning rod issue that has long been a barrier to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I stand steadfast in my support for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that allows these two peoples to live side-by-side in peace. The U.S. House of Representatives should be on record supporting this effort – not further enflaming tensions and providing both sides with cause to retreat from the negotiating table. I am hopeful that going forward I can work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on more productive measures that enhance Israel’s security and promote peace in the region.”