Sen. Rick Scott
July 14, 2023
Earlier this month, I was in Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, government, and business leaders in these nations and members of the U.S. military to see the impacts of the Abraham Accords. The takeaway from all of my meetings was simple: Israel matters, Iran is a menace, and we must stand together to defend Israel and our allies in the face of so much adversity in the Middle East and across the globe.
What’s striking is that while these positive conversations were occurring, we were reminded of the threats Israel faces every day. During my visit, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had to once again go into the West Bank to clear out a refugee camp that had become a base of ISIS terror killing Israeli civilians. In a disgusting act of terror, these killers captured the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, and kept them hostage. Even in the face of this evil, Israel acted meticulously in response and killed these terrorists so carefully that not one civilian has been reported killed. Unfortunately, these terror attacks against Israeli citizens aren’t the only thing confronting Israel.
Back in Washington, Israel remains under attack of a different kind by the radical left as they routinely spread lies about our great ally. This disgusting rhetoric on the left is common in Washington and across the country, but it ignores the facts. Anti-Semitism is on the rise across our country, and we as a nation must stand up with one voice for Israel and the Jewish people.
We must defeat these attacks and be clear to the American people, and the world, that Israel matters. Israel is the only democratic country in the region, which is hugely important to the national security of the United States. Israel is also the only nation in the Middle East that has demonstrated shared values of human rights, democracy, respect for sovereignty, and fair trade among countries. Israel is America’s most important partner in the Middle East.
For decades, the United States has known the power of Israel’s diversity and sought to bring Israel and its Arab neighbors together in a peace that expands this way of life. Under President Donald Trump, we finally achieved that goal. Seeing the Abraham Accords in action on my trip was truly inspiring. These agreements spur economic growth, innovation, sharing of technology, and trade among former rivals and I saw nothing but hope and progress for the future of the relationships. It shows what America can accomplish when we lead on the world stage – something that is missing under President Joe Biden’s weak administration.
That’s why Biden must position the United States as the world leader and continue our work with leaders in the region who have done the wise and noble thing in embracing Israel. Our national security interests depend upon it and we must put our security first. America must demand that those who join us in the Abraham Accords and similar initiatives do not also jeopardize our national security by engaging in dangerous partnerships with our enemies.
It’s time for the United States to make clear to the world, and especially our allies, that we will never put our own security at risk with partnerships that also engage Communist China, Iran or Russia. Our allies need to understand this clearly. Working with America must mean adopting behaviors that align with the shared national security interests of the United States and our allies. There can be no ambiguity in this policy.
The Abraham Accords increase peace and stability across the Middle East, creating safer and more reliable trade among America’s allies and partners. The Accords increase defense cooperation among partners that deters America’s enemies, like Iran, and will help us defeat them if necessary. Additionally, the Accords make it harder for enemies like Russia and Communist China to build military alliances or become favored arms suppliers to our partners in the Gulf, which would undermine the shared security interests of America and our allies in the region.
Perhaps most importantly, the Abraham Accords have finally defeated the false narrative that Israel was the cause of instability or conflict in the region. It has always been the case that instability in the Middle East, and hatred for Israel was driven by Iran, Syria, and terrorist groups determined to destroy Israel and attack and undermine any country that accepts the legitimacy of the State of Israel.
We can never forget that Israel is a shining example of diversity in the region. Across Israel, Jews, Christians and Muslims work and live side by side. It’s easy to misunderstand this when you watch news reports in the U.S. that paint Israel as a place where Jews take center stage and all others, especially Muslims, are pushed to the edges of society. That’s simply not true, and President Biden needs to do more to push back on this and those in his party who spread these anti-Israel lies.
In fact, it’s Israel’s diversity of culture and religions that make it such a target for terror from religious extremists like those in Hamas. These killers want to destroy Israel because it represents a modern world where Jews, Christians, and Muslims live together, enjoy each other’s cultures and work hand-in-hand to advance their society.
The Abraham Accords are a testimony to the power of American strength and leadership and broaden an acceptance that has long existed in Israel beyond its borders and across the Middle East. Expanding the important progress made through these agreements will benefit our partners, allies and freedom-loving people around the globe and continue to deal devastating blows to the terror organizations that wish to see this progress turned back.