Portman, Booker Applaud Senate Committee Passage of S.1061, the Israel Relations Normalization Act

June 24, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded the passage of the Israel Relations Normalization Act out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The bill builds upon the Abraham Accords, the peace and normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, by stating that U.S. policy is to strengthen and expand these normalization agreements. The bill was introduced earlier this year by Senator Portman, co-sponsored by Senators Booker, Jim Risch (R-ID), Todd Young (R-IN), and Ben Cardin (D-MD). This bill has overwhelming bipartisan support with over 50 of their Senate colleagues serving as co-sponsors.

“I am pleased that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed this important bipartisan legislation. In my visits to the Middle East, I’ve seen the deep and abiding friendships that exist, and the potential for long-term peace and stability,” said Senator Portman. “This bill will encourage normalization of relations between Israel and other countries in the region, which will help build on the success of the Abraham Accords, support our ally Israel, and enshrine the longstanding U.S. policy that encourages Arab League states to normalize relations with Israel. Finally, Congress has an opportunity to act in a bipartisan way with this bill, sending an important signal of unity and solidarity to the international community, which is more vital than ever given the ongoing aggression of Iran and other malign actors.”

“Today, I applaud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for advancing this bipartisan legislation out of committee. Building on the Abraham Accords to strengthen the relationship between Israel and its neighbors is not only a vital U.S. security interest but is also important for peace and economic prosperity in the region,” said Senator Booker. “Our bipartisan bill leverages American diplomacy to foster momentum to enable the Abraham Accords to reach their full potential, while reaffirming U.S. policy to support a two state solution. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues across the aisle to continue the strong bipartisan commitment to Israel’s long term security and look forward to a larger vote on the Senate floor.”

Specifically, the Israel Relations Normalization Act would:

  • Require the State Department to provide a strategy to strengthen and expand the Abraham Accords and other related normalization agreements with Israel through:

    • An assessment regarding the future staffing and resourcing requirements of entities across the interagency for expanding and strengthening normalization agreements.

    • An assessment of areas of cooperation in economic, social, cultural, scientific, technical, educational, and health fields, as well as identification of potential roadblocks in these sectors to increased cooperation among states.

    • A detailed description of how the U.S. Government will encourage normalization, economic development, and people-to-people programming.

    • Recommendations to improve State cooperation and coordination, particularly between the Special Envoy to Monitor Anti-Semitism and the Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the Office of International Religious Freedom, to combat racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism, which hinder improvement of relations between Israel, Arab states, and other relevant countries and regions.

    • Identification of existing investment funds that support Israel-Arab state cooperation and recommendations for how such funds could be used to support normalization and increase prosperity for all relevant stakeholders.

    • A proposal for how the U.S. Government and others can utilize the scholars and Arabic language resources of the U.S. Holocaust Museum to counter Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.

    • An assessment on the value and feasibility of interagency support for inter-parliamentary exchange programs for Members of Congress, Knesset, and parliamentarians from Arab and other relevant countries and regions, including through existing federal programs that support such exchanges.

 

  • Require the State Department to report on the status of anti-normalization laws in Arab League states.

    • Including instances of prosecution of citizens or residents of Arab countries for calling for peace with Israel, visiting the state of Israel, or engaging Israeli citizens in any way.

    • Instances of extrajudicial retribution by Arab governments or government-controlled institutions against citizens or residents of Arab countries. 

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