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Romney and Gingrich would start aid to Israel at zero

December 11, 2011 at


While both Romney and Gingrich claim they’d support and defend Israel, they’ve both advocated for starting foreign aid at zero, including Israel. And a fundraiser for Romney served as a lobbyist for the Arab Bank, which was investigated by the Treasury Department for funneling money to Palestinian terrorists.  Their records stand in stark contrast to President Obama, who has constantly demonstrated his unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and well-being, strengthening the unbreakable bond between our two nations. In both word and deed, the President has signaled to the world that the USIsrael relationship is stronger than ever. 


Romney: “I Agree With Governor Perry [On Foreign Aid]. Start Everything At Zero.” “The leading Republican candidates said Saturday night that they'd begin their foreign aid budget as zero, and declined to commit to continuing the United States' massive funding for Israel -- not to mention Egypt and other countries. ‘Every country would start at zero,’ said Perry, who introduced the crowd-pleasing proposal in response to an unrelated question, and fielded a follow-up from Twitter. ‘Obviously, Israel is a special ally, and my bet is that we would be funding them.’ ‘I agree with Governor Perry. Start everything at zero,’ Romney chimed in, in response to a question about Pakistan.” [Politico, 11/12/11]

  • Romney Agreed With Perry’s Proposal To Start All Foreign Aid – Including Israel’s – At Zero. “Speaking at the Republican presidential foreign policy debate over the weekend, Texas Governor Rick Perry said he would start all foreign aid – including Israel’s – at zero. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney agreed with Perry.” [Jerusalem Post, 11/16/11]
  • Romney’s Insistence That He Would Exempt Israel From His Zero Aid Proposal “Didn’t Do Much To Assuage Pro-Israel Concerns” As Pro-Israel Figures “Emphasized They Prefer To See Israel Wrapped Into An Overall Foreign Policy Package And Not Tweaked Apart.” “Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, signed on immediately. … Romney, who has made clear that he disagrees with Perry on much else, in this case said he welcomed the idea, saying ‘You start everything at zero.’ … In fact, immediately following the debate, Romney’s spokesmen said he would exempt Israel from the policy -- but that didn’t do much to assuage pro-Israel concerns. Pro-Israel figures for years have emphasized that they prefer to see Israel wrapped into an overall foreign policy package and not tweaked apart, as some Republicans have proposed.” [Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 11/15/11]


Romney Fundraiser, Patrick Cave Lobbied For Bank Accused Of Aiding Terrorists. “Mitt Romney is coming to D.C. for a $500-per-person fundraiser later this week — and one of the event’s hosts lobbied on behalf of the Arab Bank, which has been accused of aiding terrorists. Patrick Cave, founder of The Cypress Group, lobbied for several years on behalf of the Arab Bank while the bank was defending itself in a suit alleging it had helped facilitate the transfer of Saudi funds to Palestinian suicide bombers’ families.” [Smith, Politico, 11/28/11]

Arab Bank Paid A $24 Million Fine In A Settlement In The U.S. Treasury Department Over An Investigation Into The Banks Alleged Financing Of Terrorists.   “In 2004, relatives of Americans killed in suicide bomb attacks in Israel filed suit against Arab Bank, and the U.S. Treasury Department launched an investigation into the alleged financing of terrorists. Arab Bank and the Treasury Department settled, and the bank paid a $24 million fine.” [Smith, Politico, 11/28/11]

Cave Confirmed The Nature Of His Firm’s Lobbying Work For Arab Bank Was Primarily In Dealing With The Congressional Fallout Of The Lawsuits And Encouraged Bank To Settle With Treasury. “Cave confirmed the nature of his firm's lobbying work for Arab Bank to POLITICO, saying it was primarily in dealing with the congressional fallout of the lawsuits:  ‘We encouraged [Arab Bank] to settle with the Treasury Department and cooperate with the Treasury Department and we were successful in communicating to the Congress any concerns they may have about the business.’” [Smith, Politico, 11/28/11]

Lawsuits Against Arab Bank By The Families Of Victims Of Terrorists Attacks By Suicide Bombers Alleged To Have Received Transfers From The Bank Remain Ongoing.  JTA wrote of Romney donor, Patrick Cave’s association with Arab Bank: “The bank has faced lawsuits from families of victims of terrorist attacks. Among other things, the suits alleged that the bank facilitated the transfer of Saudi money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. According to this Jerusalem Post story from September of this year, the lawsuits are still very much alive.” [JTA, 12/1/11]


Gingrich Called Foreign Aid To Israel “One Of The Legacies Of The Carter Administration” And Said “We Ought To Have The Guts To Take On Some Of These Political Sacred Cows.” “House Republican Whip Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., alerted Israel to brace itself for a cut. ‘At a time when we squeeze (American) hospitals and schools, we ought to have the guts to take on some of these political sacred cows,’ he said Thursday. Gingrich offhandedly described aid to Israel ($3.7 billion in 1989) and Egypt ($2.1 billion) as ‘one of the legacies of the Carter administration.’ (President Carter used the aid packages as bait to persuade the two countries to sign the 1978 Camp David treaty.) Israel ought to further realize, Gingrich said, that democracy in Eastern Europe might bring greater benefits - in terms of trade and diplomatic relations - than the proposed 5 percent cut.” [Orlando Sentinel, 1/24/90]


Gingrich: "You Ought To Start Off At Zero." “Major Garrett: Congresswoman, thank you. Speaker Gingrich, you presided-- as speaker over several foreign aid budgets for the United States. And I remember covering in 1995 the intervention on behalf of the Mexican peso. You have seen, at times, the proper role of the United States through foreign aid and other interventions. I want to know if you agree with-- Governor Perry about starting at zero? Newt Gingrich: I'm absolute-- I mean, what he said made absolutely perfect sense. Why would you start every year-- and consider the alternative. You're giving some country $7 billion a year. So you start off-- or-- or in the case of Egypt, $3 billion a year. So you start off every year and say, 'Here's your $3 billion, now I'll start thinking'? You ought to start off at zero and say, 'Explain to me why I should give you a penny.'" [CBS/National Journal Debate, 11/13/11]

Former AIPAC Executive Director Tom Dine: Gingrich’s Pledge To “Zero Out” Foreign Aid “Would Be A Direct Assault On Our Security Relationship With Israel.” “The recent political pledge made by Republican presidential contenders Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney to ‘zero out’ foreign assistance appropriations and start over would be a direct assault on our security relationship with Israel. Anyone who has a clue about our relationship with Israel understands that a robust, wide-ranging foreign aid program is not only vital for Israel's security, but also greatly benefits our interests in the region and around the world.” [Tom Dine, Haaretz, 6/12/11]


President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have met eight times since Netanyahu took office. These meetings, together with frequent phone calls and extensive consultations, are a reflection of the extraordinary bonds between the two countries. [PBS, 05/20/2011]

When Asked About The Obama Administration, Defense Minister Barak Said He “Can Hardly Remember A Period Of Better Support.” [Fox News, 08/03/11]

President Peres Called President Obama “A Friend Of The Jewish People And The State Of Israel.” [President Shimon Peres, 08/03/11]

President Obama’s Ambassador To Israel Called The U.S.–Israel Relationship “The Most Important and Strongest We Have Anywhere In The World.” [Amb. Dan Shapiro, 08/03/11]

The Obama Administration Strongly Condemned The August 18 Attacks In Southern Israel.  [White House Statement, 08/18/11]

Prime Minister Netanyahu Said Israel Owed President Obama “A Special Measure Of Gratitude” For Working To Protect Israeli Citizens In Cairo.  [Prime Minister Netanyahu, 09/10/11]


President Obama Believes Our Commitment to Israel’s Security Is “Ironclad.”  [President Obama, 05/22/11]

President Obama Directed The Pentagon To Expand U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation.  [WSJ, 08/14/10]

In A Tough Economic Environment, President Obama Requested The Largest Security Assistance Package For Israel In U.S. History.  [Congressional Budget Justification, FY2012; Congressional Research Service, 09/16/10]

Secretary Gates Said “More Has Been Done In The Last Two Years” To Improve The U.S.-Israel Security Relationship Than At Any Other Time In His 45 Year Career.  [Congressional Testimony by Secretary of Defense Gates, 3/2/11]

President Obama Committed $205 Million Dollars To Assist Israel In Financing The “Iron Dome” System To Shield Israelis From Mortars And Rockets. [Congressional Research Service, 09/16/10]

Prime Minister Netanyahu Praised President Obama’s “Steadfast Commitment To Israel’s Security” As “Very Generous.” [Prime Minister Netanyahu, 05/24/11]


In Front Of The United Nations, President Obama Said That Peace Will Only Come Through Direct Negotiations Between Israel And The Palestinians. [President Obama, 09/21/11]

Prime Minister Netanyahu Called President Obama’s Support For Israel At The United Nations “A Badge Of Honor.” [JPost, 09/21/11]

President Obama Rejected Efforts To Chip Away At Israel’s Legitimacy, Calling The Slaughter Of Innocent Israelis “Injustice.” [President Obama, 09/23/10]

President Obama Opposes Palestinian Unilateral Action Through The United Nations.  [President Obama, 05/25/11]

The Obama Administration Has Pushed For Fair Treatment Of Israel At The United Nations.  [Ambassador Susan Rice, 04/07/11]

President Obama Used The First Security Council Veto Of His Presidency To Stop Condemnation Of Israeli Settlements.  [Washington Post, 02/18/11]

The Obama Administration Stood By Israel By Pushing Back On The Goldstone Report. [Secretary Clinton, 09/30/09]

President Obama Stood With Israel In Boycotting The 2009 Durbin Review Conference Over The Unfair Treatment Of Israel. [Washington Post, 02/27/09]

The Obama Administration Protects Israel’s Interests Through Its Influence At The United Nations. [Assistant Secretary Brimmer, 06/15/11]

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