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Group of 14 US senators denounce Biden administration for ‘antisemitic boycott of Israel’

Republican senators protest decision to unilaterally reverse policy, threaten to block confirmations

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 9, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Fourteen U.S. Republican senators are set to accuse the Biden administration of “an antisemitic boycott of Israel.”

This latest development comes as Washington recently made a decision to reimpose a ban on using U.S. taxpayer funding for research and development, as well as banning any funding for cooperative scientific projects with Israeli institutions located in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. 

The initial ban was put into effect with the approval of the Israeli government in 1967 when Israel took control over these areas following the Six-Day War. 

In October 2020, then-U.S. President Donald Trump rolled back the ban ahead of the presidential elections. 

According to the Axios news outlet, the U.S. State Department decided to reinstate the former policy at the beginning of Biden’s term, but only needed to notify Israel and other U.S. government institutions when one of the institutes located in the disputed territories applied for a grant. 

At that point, the Biden administration notified the Israeli government that it was returning to the previous policy. 

According to the State Department, “engaging in bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israel” in the disputed territories “is inconsistent with U.S. foreign policy.” 

The State Department also said that the Biden administration’s guidance “is simply reflective of the longstanding U.S. position.”

That position, Biden affirmed in his recent CNN interview, is to support a two-state solution. 

“The ultimate disposition of the geographic areas which came under the administration of Israel after June 5, 1967 is a final status matter and that we are working towards a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” according to the State Department.

In Israel, the recent announcement regarding the return to the previous policy is widely viewed as a direct response to the Israeli coalition's decision to expand Jewish settlements in the territories of Judea and Samaria. 

According to Jewish Insider, the 14 GOP senators are threatening to block the confirmation of Biden administration nominees over the policy reversal. 

In addition, the senators accused the Biden administration of making the change without the Israeli government’s agreement, alleging that this policy reversal “puts Americans’ safety, security, and prosperity at risk because it politicizes and undermines cooperation on science and technology, including in areas such as defense and medicine where also our Israeli allies have proven themselves critical partners.” 

Senator Ted Cruz (TX) led the initiative and the letter was signed by the following Republican senators: Marco Rubio (FL), John Cornyn (TX), Lindsey Graham (SC), Rick Scott (FL), Bill Hagerty (TN), Ted Budd (NC), Pete Ricketts (NE), Tim Scott (SC), Tom Cotton (AR), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun (IN), John Barrasso (WY), and Jim Risch (ID).

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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