Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following analysis:
At his September 22, 202 Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing, Thomas Nides, nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel, stated both some positive positions and some troubling, harmful positions regarding a range of issues affecting U.S.-Israel relations and security.
In addition, the hearing revealed that we will need to watch how Nides handles the new Palestinian law that allows the Palestinian Authority (PA) to seize the assets of non-governmental organizations. The new PA law gives the PA another route for obtaining U.S. taxpayer funds, enabling the PA to continue to pay Arab terrorists for murdering Jews and Americans.
Nides’ Praiseworthy, Positive Positions Include:
- Acknowledging that “upholding Israel’s security serves America’s national security interests”;
- Supporting the $3.8 billion per year of security assistance to Israel under the U.S.-Israeli Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);
- Placing no conditions on security assistance to Israel;
- Committing to expanding U.S.-Israeli economic relationships;
- Hoping to work for Israel to join the U.S. Visa Waiver Program;
- Supporting the Abraham Accords and their expansion;
- Supporting resupplying Israel’s defensive Iron Dome;
- Acknowledging that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital; and
- Retaining the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Nides’ Deeply Troubling, Harmful Positions Include the Following:
- Creating a pathway to a Palestinian Arab state: This would be an Iranian-backed-Hamas-Fatah terror state that endangers Israel’s existence and places every Israeli in close rocket range;
- Sending U.S. taxpayer funds ($400 million this year) to the Palestinians: This frees up funds for the PA to continue its $375 million per year of “pay to slay” payments rewarding and incentivizing Arab terrorists for murdering Jews and Americans;
- “Wholeheartedly agreeing” with Senator Brian Schatz (D-HW)’s assertion that “we have a moral obligation to help the Palestinians”: In fact, it is immoral to provide aid that frees up funds for the PA to pay terrorists to murder Jews and Americans;
- Opposing so-called “unilateral action”: That’s a euphemism for opposing Israel exercising her long-overdue sovereignty over areas lawfully designated for the Jewish homeland in which 500,000 Jews live, and for building homes in Judea/Samaria;
- (Falsely) claiming that USAID’s use of “trusted partners” and auditing assures that U.S. taxpayer funds are going to the “Palestinian people,” and are not diverted to terrorism: In fact, past and recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits found that USAID did not ensure anti-terrorism compliance; JINSA explained: “That giant unaccountability loophole has allowed millions in U.S. taxpayer dollars to flow to terror-supporting sub-grantees, laundered through misleadingly benign-sounding NGOs such as the Palestinian Peace Coalition and Pal-Think for Strategic Studies.”;
- Declining to acknowledge that the Golan Heights is part of Israel, despite the previous administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan: Instead, Nides only supported Israel’s presence in the Golan for the time being. This undermines Israel’s security;
- Undermining Israel’s unified capital Jerusalem by promoting opening a Palestinian Arab consulate in Jerusalem: It would give the impression that the PA has a right to parts of Jerusalem as the PA Capitol. As Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) noted when questioning Nides, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman explained, a “Palestinian” consulate that engages in diplomacy with the Palestinians runs afoul of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995’s provisions that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city” and is Israel’s capital. Such a consulate also would violate the Oslo accords, which prohibit the PA from engaging in diplomacy;
- Misleadingly claiming that a consulate [for Palestinian Arabs] “has existed in one form or another for almost 130 years”: In fact, as former Ambassador David Friedman wrote, “The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem . . . was established by American Christian Zionists in 1844. . . to facilitate the return of Jewish people to Jerusalem.”; and
- Avoiding confronting the Biden administration’s efforts to re-enter the catastrophic Iran deal: The deal paves Iran’s way to a nuclear bomb and gives Iran billions of dollars that it uses to fund its terror proxies; Nides merely restated that the Biden administration was committed to diplomacy and not allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb.
Important Issue to Watch – New PA Law Nationalizing NGOs and Seizing NGO Assets:
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) questioned Nides about a recently enacted PA law that enables the PA to effectively nationalize “non-governmental” Palestinian entities, and seize their assets. Nides said that he was unfamiliar with this and promised to look into this matter. ZOA hopes that Nides will keep his word to look into this matter; and reach the only logical, lawful conclusion―that the U.S. must stop funding Palestinian entities that are effectively nationalized by, or whose assets may be seized by, the PA.