Upon introduction of the DEFEND Act, Israel and Jewish advocacy organizations announce their support for the framework
Earlier today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), alongside her colleagues on the Abraham Accords Caucus in the Senate and the House, unveiled the DEFEND (Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses) Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to develop a strategic approach among countries included in the Abraham Accords, aimed at combatting Iranian aggression in the Middle East.
Upon the introduction of the legislation, a group of Israel and Jewish advocacy organizations announced their support for the framework: Abraham Accords Peace Institute; ADL; AFPI; AIPAC; AJC; American Jewish Congress; CUFI Action; FDD Action; Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; JFNA; JINSA; RJC; USIEA; and Senior Middle East scholars who support this bill at the Atlantic Council.
What They Are Saying About Sen. Ernst’s DEFEND Act:
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
“The DEFEND Act advances the opportunities established by the Abraham Accords, and it underscores the essential role of Congress in supporting a new future for the Middle East. By directing a strategic approach to cooperative missile defense and counter-UAV coordination, this legislation strengthens the U.S.-Israel partnership as it enhances regional cooperation against common security threats.”
Abraham Accords Peace Institute
"AAPI applauds the introduction of the DEFEND Act as a vital step to establishing a foundation for peace and to help realize the historic opportunity created by the Accords. The alignment of U.S. regional partners and allies in the economic, security, and cultural domains advances the interests of the United States and its allies. Steps toward a strategic approach among Abraham Accords countries provides an opportunity to safeguard a strengthening economic and cultural foundation for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region."
American Jewish Committee (AJC)
“The Abraham Accords opened new lines of collaboration, allowing governments new resources and new allies to address regional challenges, from Iran's aggression and nuclear ambitions to religious extremism, incitement, and political unrest,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer. “A U.S. strategy outlining potential cooperation on military acquisition, missile defense, and countering UAVs can give key allies and emerging partners the incentives and tools to address these challenges together.”
American Jewish Congress
"The DEFEND Act presents a needed vision for a new security architecture in the Middle East – one that proactively builds on the remarkable diplomatic developments that we have seen between Israel and Arab partners,” said Jack Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress. “By promoting the integration of defense capabilities among our Middle Eastern allies and partners, the United States can further encourage these stunning cooperative efforts. This bill contributes to our national security priorities, safeguards Israel, and defends our crucial allies in the region. More importantly, it combats the rising military threat posed by Iran, at its source. We are grateful for the leadership of Sens. Ernst, Rosen, Booker, Lankford, and Reps. McMorris Rodgers, Schneider, Bacon, Panetta, Trone, and Wagner who are working to make this legislation a reality. Moreover, we urge all of Congress to give the DEFEND Act the swift, fair, and necessary passage it deserves.”
Christians United For Israel (CUFI) Action
"Iran is the central threat to not only Israel, but to all countries in the region who oppose the malign goals of Tehran’s radical regime,” said Sandra Parker, Chairwoman of the CUFI Action Fund. “Taking necessary steps towards a regional missile defense plan is critical to countering Iran and is yet another blow against those who oppose normalization with Israel.
Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Action
“FDD Action supports the policy goals included in the Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act. The legislation will provide the U.S. and allies in the Middle East a coordinated strategy to counter-unmanned aircraft systems technologies. As part of the extension of the Abraham Accords, the U.S. should continue to initiate, develop and enhance military to military relationships between the U.S, Israel and other U.S. allies and partners in the region. Integrated defense against the threat of unmanned aircraft systems should be jointly pursued and this legislation would begin to establish that as U.S. policy.”
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America
“U.S. support for Israel’s defense is critical for building peace and prosperity in the Middle East,” said Rhoda Smolow, President of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. “Hadassah applauds Senators Ernst, Rosen, Lankford, and Booker and Representatives Trone, Wagner, Bacon, Panetta, McMorris, and Schneider for introducing the DEFEND Act, which will strengthen cooperative defense across strategic allies in the Middle East to protect Israel and its neighbors against growing threats from Iran and its proxies.”
Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)
“The Abraham Accords are the most significant advancement towards peace between the nations of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf in decades, and deserve the United States’ strongest possible support. The Jewish Federations of North America are deeply appreciative of the Congressional Abraham Accords Caucus's bipartisan leadership and strongly support its effort to expand and fortify the meaningful relationships between Israel and her neighbors. We look forward to the valuable recommendations this legislation will produce to expand those relationships beyond the realm of economic cooperation and into both shared threats and U.S. strategic interests in the region.”
Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA)
“The United States has a fundamental interest in strengthening the Abraham Accords, one of the greatest developments in the Middle East in decades,” said Michael Makovsky, President and CEO of JINSA. “As JINSA recommended earlier this year, one way this can be done is by increasing the capacity of America’s most capable Middle East partners to work together to defend against shared threats in the air domain, especially the growing missile and drone threat posed by Iran and its terrorist proxies. We applaud the House and Senate Abraham Accords Caucuses for their leadership in introducing the DEFEND Act, which will be a major step in ensuring that the accords achieve their full potential.”
Senior Middle East scholars who support this bill at the Atlantic Council
“The Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act of 2022 represents a critical bipartisan initiative, spearheaded by the Senate and House Abraham Accords Caucuses, to foster and deepen regional cooperative missile and air defense coordination among key US allies and partners in the Middle East,” said Will Wechsler, Senior Director of the Rafik Hariri Center & Middle East Programs and Daniel Shapiro, Distinguished Fellow in the Atlantic Council's Middle East Programs, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel. “The bill underscores the continued imperative for and prioritization of US engagement in the region, and moreover showcases the growing capacity of the normalization process to transform regional relations and security integration.”