By BRADLEY BYRNE, Congressman, Alabama’s 1st District
There is no greater friend to the United States than Israel. I completely understand the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with our greatest ally in the Middle East, which is why I am again traveling to Israel to reaffirm our commitment to the bond between our two countries.
Thankfully, under President Trump’s leadership, our relationship with Israel has thrived: the American embassy has been moved from Tel Aviv to the rightful capital of Jerusalem, trade between our countries has strengthened, Judea and Samaria are no longer chastised by the U.S. government, and President Trump has pulled the United States out of the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. After eight years of the Obama Administration’s attempts to erode our longstanding, close relationship with Israel, it is encouraging to have a President who is proud to stand hand-in-hand with Israel.
Although this is welcome news, the U.S.-Israel relationship now faces another challenge and, this time, it is not coming from the West Wing. AOC, Ilhan Omar, and their “Squad,” have become the leaders of the Democrat Party, and they have unleashed a direct attack against Israel calling for a boycott of the country, tweeting anti-Semitic attacks, and pushing to undermine our longstanding relationship with the Israeli people. This is yet another sign of their direct attack on the fundamental values that have defined us as a country.
As a Christian and someone who has spent so much time studying the Word of God, Israel has such a special meaning to me personally, as it does to many Christians in Alabama. One of the most powerful moments in my spiritual journey occurred during a visit to Israel when my wife, Rebecca, and I renewed our baptismal covenant in the River Jordan. Words can not express how deeply powerful that moment was for us.
I’ll also never forget sharing the Sabbath ceremony and dinner with a family in Jerusalem, and especially when they laid their hands on their son, a member of the Israeli Defense Force. That moment will forever define Israel for me: the ancient ceremony, the devout family, the surprising still and quietness of this large city at sundown, and these parents’ love and pride in their son, fulfilling the commitment all young Israelis, male and female alike, make to defend their always threatened nation.
To see folks like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and “the Squad” attack and demean Israel is deeply troubling to me. So, I’m proud to be traveling with other leaders from our state and country to show our steadfast support for Israel. I want to make clear to the Israeli people that the anti-Semitic attacks and absurd support for the radical boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement do not truly reflect how the American people feel about our friends in Israel.
I believe it is critical — now more than ever — to show “The Squad” that America stands with Israel. While this will not be my first-time visiting Israel and hopefully not my last, this trip bears special importance as a direct response to those who continue to vilify our closest ally in the Middle East.
Alabama was the first state in the nation to officially call for the establishment of the Jewish state back in 1943, and our state has always held a special bond with Israel. So, at a time when some radical voices in our country are trying to create division between the United States and Israel, I will stand alongside President Trump in never backing away from the Israeli people.
The people of Alabama – and the people of America – stand with our allies in Israel, and I pledge to do my part to make our partnership even stronger.
Bradley Byrne is a Republican representing Alabama’s First Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. He is currently running for the US Senate seat held by Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).