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Government Relations: November 2011 Archives

APN Legislative Round-up: November 12-30, 2011

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters
2. Iran, Israel in FY12 Defense Authorization Bill (S. 1867)
3. Odds and Ends

Due to a combination of visitors, travel, and holidays, the Round-Up is once again off schedule (and will not be coming out this Friday). We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.

Alpher186x140.jpgIn light of recent developments in Egypt, Alpher assesses the wisdom of the Netanyahu government's decision to instruct Israeli diplomats to lobby for maintaining the status of Egypt's military rulers. 

APN Legislative Round-Up for the week ending November 11, 2011

1. Bills, Resolutions and Letters
2. Syria Hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
3. Some additional aid to the Palestinians released by Ros-Lehtinen
4. Odds and Ends

Why We Have Taken a Stand with the Supreme Court

On November 7, Israel's Haaretz newspaper published an article in Hebrew by APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee explaining why we chose to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court regarding the authority of the Executive Branch to determine policy on sensitive foreign policy issues such as the status of Jerusalem.

Following is an English translation of the article:

Why We Have Taken a Stand with the US Supreme Court

Supreme_Court_w_APNlines_186x140.jpgBy Debra DeLee

An important case, Zivotofsky v. Clinton, is about to come before the U.S. Supreme Court.  It relates to U.S. policy on Jerusalem, but isn't really about Jerusalem.  Rather, it is about longstanding efforts by the U.S. Congress to wrest foreign policy-making authority away from the executive branch.  How this case is decided will have far-reaching ramifications for America's policy, far beyond Jerusalem.

Hijacked by Legislative Anachronisms

As everybody who cares about foreign policy (and hasn't been living under a rock) knows by now, earlier this week the PLO was admitted as a full member by UNESCO, triggering pre-existing U.S. laws that mandate an immediate and 100% cut-off in U.S. funding to UNESCO.  These laws likewise mandate such a cut-off of funding to the UN, any specialized agency of the UN, or any affiliated organization of the UN who follows suit.  With the Palestinians reportedly planning to apply for membership in at least 16 more agencies, the specter of a far-reaching U.S. withdrawal from international agencies - including from agencies like the IAEA and WIPO, looms large.  And with it looms the specter of far-reaching consequences for U.S. international influence, leverage, and engagement, and for the U.S ability to protect and promote its interests across the whole spectrum of issues around the globe.

Absent from the reporting and debate around this issue is any real notice of the fact that the rationale that existed for passage of these laws in 1990 and 1994 no longer exists.  Objectively speaking, what we are seeing today is U.S. policy at the UN being hijacked by a pair of legislative anachronisms.

Earlier this week, members of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization), voted to admit the PLO as "the state of Palestine," with full member-state status in that organization.

This action triggers an existing U.S. law, first passed in 1991 and then strengthened in 1994, that compels the U.S. to cut off all funding to UNESCO.  With the Palestinians reportedly poised to seek membership in as many as 16 other UN member organizations, this law could mean the U.S. effective withdrawal from a wide range of international bodies.