UNESCO (Again) Passes Anti-Israel Measure

UNESCO passed another anti-Israel resolution. Maybe it's not news that UNESCO passed an anti-Israel resolution, but this happened--no coincidence--on Israel's Independence Day (President Barack Obama eliminated U.S. funding of UNESCO in 2011).  

Trump offered his congratulations to Israel on Yom Ha'atzmaut.

When will Sebastian Gorka leave? Some reports indicated that Gorka might be on his way out, but he's still employed by the White House. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) helped lead the effort to urge Trump to dismiss Gorka. Not one Republican was willing to call for Gorka's dismissal --keep that in mind before voting Republican.

Trump will visit Israel. It's always good when the president visits Israel. President Donald Trump will be there later this month

David Horowitz writes that Trump's welcome for Palestinian President Abbas last week was so warm that he might have been talking to an Israeli leader. 

Trump said there is "no reason" Israel doesn't have peace with the Palestinians. If Trump can forge a two-state solution, then we'll all applaud. But like other things, it might not be as easy as Trump thinks.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defended Israel on Al Jazeera. So much for the argument that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is anti-Israel. Sanders "defended Israel's right to exist, rejected [boycott, divestment and sanctions] as a tactic and assailed the United Nations for singling out the country for condemnation." If you were trying to persuade left-wing college students to oppose BDS, who would be a more credible messenger (and whose message would more likely resonate): Bernie Sanders or Alan Dershowitz?

Congress must be careful about Iran sanctions. Yes, we must punish Iran for its nefarious activities. Yes, the Iran deal permits us to sanction Iran for its nonnuclear activities. But as the Los Angeles Times observes,

the U.S. can take steps to discourage Iranian adventurism without calling into question the viability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or seeking to undermine it. Indeed, in February the Trump administration reacted to Iran's testing of a medium-range ballistic missile by imposing new sanctions on 13 individuals and 12 other entities linked to the missile program.

The problem is that some in the administration, and in Congress, would like Trump to go further and punish Iran in ways that would violate the nuclear arms agreement. Perhaps Trump thinks that by floating the possibility that he will abandon the nuclear agreement he will induce Iran to alter its behavior on other fronts; if that's his strategy, it's a dangerous and divisive one. He needs to make it clear that, so long as Iran abides by the letter of the nuclear agreement, so will the United States.

The House sanctions bill, H.R. 1698, is a good example of how to sanction Iran and remain in compliance with the Iran deal. But the Senate bill, S. 722, risks putting us in noncompliance. Further, as several foreign policy experts recently wrote, "Any marginal benefit of this legislation is outweighed by the risk of giving an impulsive president license to take steps that could undermine a deal that is working, isolate the United States, and put U.S. troops at risk."

For our sake and Israel's, the Senate should either reject or satisfactorily amend S. 722.

Jewish groups across the spectrum condemned the Republican health care bill. JTA reported that "Among those that criticized the passage were the Reform movement, the Jewish Federations of North America, B'nai B'rith International, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and Jewish Women International. However, the Republican Jewish Coalition praised the bill as 'an important legislative victory for President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.'" 

Paul Waldman wrote that the Republican health care bill "is not just wrong, or misguided, or problematic or foolish. It is an abomination. If there has been a piece of legislation in our lifetimes that boiled over with as much malice and indifference to human suffering, I can't recall what it might have been. And every member of the House who voted for it must be held accountable." This shouldn't be surprise, considering that Trump's 100-day speech was one of the most hate-filled in American history.

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