November 2, 2023
Republicans Who Stay Home Elect Democrats
By: Idaho Senator Mike Crapo
The October 7, 2023, Hamas attacks on civilians commands a forceful response. The world has watched with grief the accounts of the injuries, tortures, slaughters and takings of thousands of people, including Americans. The United States stands firmly with our ally Israel and backs its right to defend itself.
- I co-sponsored, and the Senate unanimously passed, a bipartisan resolution introduced by fellow Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) expressing solidarity with Israel in the wake of the Hamas attacks and ongoing operations to safeguard Israeli citizens.
- We also need to take concrete steps to address Iran’s support of terrorism. I co-sponsored two pieces of legislation that would re-freeze the $6 billion of Iranian assets and block Iran from accessing them. The legislation follows an August letter to the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury demanding answers from the Biden Administration regarding the release of funds to Iran in exchange for American prisoners. We wrote, “The release of such a significant sum to the Iranian regime . . . will only serve to encourage additional hostage taking for financial or political gain.” Additionally, I joined calls for a Senate investigation into the release of $6 billion to Iran. It has since been reported that the Biden Administration has agreed to stop Iran from accessing the $6 billion account, which is a positive step to ensure no fungible funds are used to perpetrate terrorist acts.
- It is also time to finally stop funding the anti-Israel United Nations (UN) Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA has a long history of using textbooks antagonistic to Israel, and Hamas uses UNRWA schools to store its weapons used to attack Israel. For these reasons, I recently co-sponsored the U.N. Anti-Terrorism Accountability Act, which prohibits the U.S. from making any financial contributions to UNRWA. Previously, I co-sponsored Senator Risch’s UNRWA Accountability and Transparency Act, which outlines a comprehensive approach to cease U.S. contributions to the UNRWA.
- Finally, the antisemitism we have seen in our own country is unacceptable and must be condemned. In response to the hateful rhetoric and displays on college campuses around the country, my colleagues and I sent a letter to Harvard University President demanding that the university condemn the statement issued by student groups supporting Hamas’ attack on Israel. Further, we also sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Cardona urging a swift response to the increase in violent activities against Jewish students.
We share the loss of the Israelis, and we stand with them now unequivocally in word in deed. My continued prayers are with the victims and families of those killed in the senseless October 7 terrorist attacks, as well as the over 200 individuals still held hostage. I pray for their safe return.
You can read my full column on these efforts by visiting my website: https://www.crapo.senate.gov/news/in-the-news/weekly-column-backing-israel-in-both-word-and-deed