With only a few weeks until the 2018 elections, we are all inundated with ads supporting or opposing various candidates. When it comes to the race between Senator Ted Cruz and his challenger, Congressman Beto O’Rourke, we’ve all heard from the campaigns themselves and their partisan surrogates, as to which has a stronger record on the US-Israel relationship, with both campaigns making sure that their candidate is painted as “exceptional” or “excellent.”
First and foremost, we should all be grateful that the overwhelming majority of Congress is pro-Israel. Thankfully, there are very few true detractors in Congress who are actively advocating against Israel.
It is, of course, the nature of politics for partisan Democrats and partisan Republicans to support their party’s nominee and to use selective data points to validate their position.
As someone who is committed to, and who actively promotes bi-partisan support for the US-Israel relationship, I feel it’s important to share the facts and allow each of you to draw your own conclusions, as to each candidate’s record on this issue, without partisan labels.
So here are the facts:
Senator Ted Cruz
Since being elected to the Senate in 2012, Senator Cruz has consistently supported military aid to Israel, supported emergency funding for the Iron Dome and voted FOR overwhelmingly bipartisan pro-Israel positions on all significant legislation including, but not limited to:
- disapproving of the Senate Resolution on the Iran Nuclear Agreement,
- co-sponsoring resolutions objecting to anti-Israel resolutions at the UN,
- co-sponsoring the Opposing BDS and Israel Anti-Israel Boycott Act, and,
- was the lead sponsor on the Condemning the Use of Human Shields Act passed by the Senate.
Also, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he was responsible for securing more pro-Israel amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act than any other Senator in office other than the Chair.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke
Since being elected to the House in 2012, Rep. O’Rourke has voted FOR MOST foreign aid bills, as well as SOME, not all, legislation sanctioning Iran and Hezbollah.
Rep. O’Rourke has voted AGAINST overwhelmingly bipartisan pro-Israel positions on,
- Emergency Iron Dome Supplemental Funding during the Gaza War of 2014 (Protective Edge);
- the House Resolution of Disapproval on the Iran Nuclear Agreement,
- the House Resolution Condemning UNSCR 2334 (the Anti-Israel UNSC Resolution), and
- several Iran sanctions legislation.
To put this into context, out of 435 Members of the House of Representatives, he was:
- one of only 8 to vote against the emergency funding of Iron Dome,
- one of only 20 to vote against the Royce/Engel Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013,
- one of only 80 to vote against condemning the UNSCR 2334,
- one of only 162 to vote against the consensus pro-Israel position on the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and
- one of only 48 members of Congress to boycott the address of the Prime Minister of Israel to a joint session of Congress.
Factually, he has not demonstrated any leadership on this issue and has at best a mixed voting record which places him towards the bottom of the Members of Congress in terms of voting on the seminal issues impacting the US-Israel relationship.
As someone who supports pro-Israel candidates regardless of party, I clearly see, based on the above facts, that Senator Cruz understands Israel in his core. Sen. Cruz lives and breathes this issue, and he has demonstrated exceptional leadership.
Conversely, as a member of congress, Rep O’Rourke has demonstrated an ambiguous record of support. I certainly do applaud his support of foreign aid bills and some of his votes in favor of sanctioning Iran and Hezbollah, however, it troubles me the number of times that he has OPPOSED the consensus pro-Israel position on legislation brought to a vote – especially on the most critical issues..
Many times we hear reference to the candidates’ pro-Israel position papers. While positive statements in writing are wonderful, they are not a substitute for an actual voting record.
Given the objective facts of his well-documented voting record and the numerous pro-Israel statements on the issue over the past six-years, I have good reason to believe that Senator Cruz has been an unwavering friend, supporter, and leader who works tirelessly to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel and therefore he has EARNED our friendship, our support, and therefore, should earn our vote.