NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC applauded a group of Democratic Senators who authored a letter to leading House Republicans stressing the critical importance of continued aid to Israel. The letter, addressed to Rep. Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, urged them to reject the call by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky that the U.S. "halt all foreign aid, including its financial aid to Israel."
"We are thankful to the Senators for their initiative and we are confident of a positive reception on the Republican side of the House, where the unique friendship between the United States and Israel is equally understood and valued," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Ending aid to Israel would deliver a massive blow to the strategic interests of our country. If the current political upheaval in the Arab world demonstrates anything, it is that Israel is the only country in the Middle East guaranteed to remain a staunch ally of America, regardless of who is in power."
In their February 1 letter, the Senators stated: "Israel is the only democratic nation in the Middle East and one of our most trusted allies. A stable and secure Israel is strongly in our national security interest and has been a cornerstone of our foreign policy for over half-a-century. Using Congress' bipartisan commitment to reining in government spending as a reason to abandon Israel is unacceptable and should be immediately rejected."
The letter was signed by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, Senators Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
Senator Menendez received AJC's Congressional Leadership Award at the global advocacy organization's 2010 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. In a powerful speech addressing the vital friendship between the U.S. and Israel, Menendez declared: "What Israel needs to know is that the United States of America will be standing with it shoulder to shoulder without a ray of sunlight between us when it comes to safeguarding its people, its security and its right to exist in peace."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee