WASHINGTON (Oct. 2)
The upcoming presidential election will center around many important issues. While a candidate’s stance on the priorities of our nation — controlling crime, promoting education and strengthening our economy — are a top concern for all Americans, the American Jewish community has a unique perspective.
Without question, the way in which a presidential candidate addresses foreign policy, defense and the issues that affect Israel and the Middle East is an important criterion for Jewish voters. A careful examination of Bob Dole’s 35- year record demonstrates that he is a strong, principled and consistent supporter of Israel, as well as a champion of the issues that are important to the Jewish community.
Bob Dole understands the importance of the U.S.-Israel alliance and is committed to continued aid and assistance to Israel. As a member of the Senate, Bob Dole demonstrated a solid record of support. He has supported economic aid and assistance to Israel and remains a strong proponent of strengthening the strategic relationship that has defined the U.S.-Israel alliance.
Throughout his career Bob Dole’s record of support for foreign aid has been strong. Some have claimed that Bob Dole is against foreign aid to Israel. That is nothing more than hollow election-year rhetoric. In fact, every time legislation was introduced to cut aid specifically to Israel, Bob Dole voted “NO!”
On repeated occasions, Sen. Dole led efforts to increase aid to Israel, including last year’s vital anti-terrorist assistance package.
Bob Dole believes that like America, Israel’s security depends on her strength. As a senator, Bob Dole was a vocal advocate of the missile defense programs that if necessary, would be vital in defending Israel from ballistic missiles armed with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.
With reports confirming that Israel’s neighbors possess weapons of mass destruction, it is incomprehensible that a “friend of Israel” would not support the continued development and deployment of a strong missile defense program. Yet, the defense programs that President Bill Clinton sought to eliminate and called “not urgent” are the same missile defense programs that would be used to help Israel defend herself in case of attack. Bob Dole understands that a strong missile defense program for America and for Israel must remain a top priority.
Bob Dole’s support for Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel is unmatched, and he is committed to ensuring that Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel. While President Clinton has hinted to Palestinian leaders that Jerusalem’s status “will be the subject of future negotiations,” Bob Dole has clearly stated that Jerusalem “is not on the table in the peace process” and that Jerusalem must remain the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.
It was Sen. Dole who introduced legislation, that has since become law, to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 1999.
As a candidate, Bill Clinton promised his support for moving the embassy. However, as president, Bill Clinton flip-flopped and refused to sign the Dole legislation, and still refuses to implement it, even though it became law. Bob Dole understands that to deny the status of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel is to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel.
This only sends dangerous signals to Israel’s enemies.
The bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City demonstrates that American soil is not immune to the threat of Islamic extremists. Sen. Dole understands this threat and has taken a practical approach to solving a very real problem. Last year, Sen. Dole introduced the Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act. This landmark legislation, which has since become law, provides U.S. law enforcement officials with enhanced tools to combat domestic and international terrorism.
President Clinton supported the Dole legislation and likes to portray himself as tough on terrorism. Yet, to this date, the president has failed to implement many of its key provisions, such as designating terrorist groups, which is a necessary step to deport or exclude terrorists like Hamas and to halt their fund raising in the United States.
Sen. Dole believes that more must be done to control the threat posed by rogue nations. In the Congress, Sen. Dole supported my legislation to control the threat of rogue nations such as Iran. The legislation, which has become law, imposes sanctions on foreign companies or individuals that invest in Iran’s petroleum or energy sectors.
Sen. Dole understands the direct link between Iran’s petroleum industry and its ability to finance terrorism and acquire weapons of mass destruction. President Clinton’s Middle East “dual containment” policy has failed and our nation must now take a different approach. With Bob Dole as our commander in chief, terrorist nations that seek to destroy the foundation of our society would be punished, not invited to the negotiation table.
I have had the distinct honor to work with Bob Dole on many of the issues that are important to the Jewish community. In fact, it was Bob Dole who spearheaded Senate efforts to assist Soviet Jews who were being persecuted and denied the right to emigrate.
Bob Dole was instrumental in passing legislation that allowed increased levels of emigration for Soviet Jews and, in an effort to obtain increased information on human rights violations in Eastern Europe, Bob Dole established an advisory council of leading ethnic Americans to study this very serious problem.
The list of Soviet Jews who were aided by Bob Dole is long and includes well- known former “refuseniks” such as Natan Sharansky and Evgeny Yakir. Bob Dole also assisted countless others who wanted nothing more than to be able to live as free Jews.
I have known Bob Dole for years. Together, he and I have worked on legislation that has been critical to the Jewish community.
Bob Dole has demonstrated clear and decisive leadership. He understands that for Israel, peace without security ultimately means no peace at all. The Jewish community will have no better friend in the White House than Bob Dole.