Fred Thompson's Position on Israel
The United States is committed to the security of Israel and the safety of the Israeli people. The historical, familial and cultural ties of our peoples are the basis of this commitment. It is strengthened by the shared values and shared interests of our nations. Our mutual goal is an economically and militarily strong Israel at peace with its neighbors. We must exercise our traditional leadership role in the region and continue our longstanding support to Israel to achieve this vision.
Security Cooperation. Security assistance to Israel is a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy and provides a cost-effective way to ensure the security of one of America's closest allies. The new U.S.-Israel security agreement forms the basis of this relationship and will help both the United States and Israel counter common threats in the Middle East and advance mutual goals. Meanwhile, we must also continue comprehensive strategic dialogues, joint military training, and cooperation on development programs such as missile defense.
Iran. Iran remains the world's premier state sponsor of terrorism, has attempted to undermine regional stability, and has repeatedly threatened Israel. Iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons, longer-range missiles, and modern conventional forces. And it is led by a tyrant who has vowed to wipe Israel off the map. Iran also supports terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, such as Hamas and Hizballah, and is responsible for supplying weapons to extremists who are killing U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. A nuclear-armed Iran will not be tolerated. Its sponsorship of terrorism must end as well. We must work with the oppressed people of Iran to bring about regime change, while also working with other responsible democracies to isolate the regime and stop its illicit activities.
Syria. Syria is a state sponsor of terrorism and is determined to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction and advanced ballistic missiles as it builds up its military forces. Its active meddling in Lebanon's internal affairs, and its support of Hezbollah, are destabilizing and must also end. Belligerent public statements by Syrian officials toward Israel and the military build-up along the Golan Heights continue to undermine the possibility of peace talks between Syria and Israel. Serious and sustained international pressure is integral to bringing about change in Damascus.
Hizballah. As Iran's proxy against Israel and the West, Hizballah remains a terror network that poses a direct threat to Israel and U.S. interests in the region. Hizballah has continued to rearm in preparation for another fight with Israel despite its obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. The group's stranglehold over Southern Lebanon has increased and continues undermine Lebanese sovereignty. Hizballah is a terror organization that must be disarmed and disbanded.
Hamas. Hamas is another terrorist organization that must also be disarmed and disbanded. The United States should not recognize any Palestinian government run by Hamas, nor provide it financial assistance until Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist, renounces violence and terrorism, and adheres to all previous Palestinian agreements with Israel. The continued build-up of advanced weaponry by Hamas is a sign that the group does not desire peace and, though Israel should demonstrate restraint, it may be forced to take action against this growing threat.
Peace Process. Achieving the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security is the surest way to bring about an end to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is also essential to advancing the prosperity and security of both peoples. But to achieve this goal, Israel must have a reliable and credible partner in peace who will take serious steps to build trust and confidence, to include disbanding militias, ending terrorism, and cracking down on extremists. This will require the active support of other states in the region. Israel retains the right to take measures to defend itself, such as conducting counter-terrorist operations and completing its security barrier.
A Solid Record of Support
Fred Thompson's statements and Senate record demonstrate strong and clear support for Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Speaking Out Against Iran and Syria. "The terror masters in Tehran and Damascus make only the most minor distinction between America and Israel. They say that America is the Great Satan, and Israel is the Little Satan, and both must be destroyed. The US must make it clear that we will not allow Iran to become a nuclear threatâ€¦.In addition to pursuing sanctions and other traditional means, we need to take other steps to reach out to the Iranian people and help them get rid of their hated regime. Our goal is peace and freedom. The US must willingly accept its accustomed role of leadership in this effort." (Thompson Statement Before the Republican Jewish Coalition on 10/16/07)
Affirming U.S. Support of Israel. "During last night's debate in New Hampshire, I was appalled that none of the leading Democrats would stand up for Israel's right to defend itself against Iran--a country intent on acquiring nuclear weapons and whose leader has vowed to wipe Israel off the map. A Thompson Administration would stand by Israel and all of our friends in the region. We would not wait for U.N. permission to support an ally or defend our interests abroad. The U.N. has not shown sufficient resolve toward stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions." (Thompson Press Release, 9/27/07)
Defending Israel's Reaction To Missile Launches From Gaza. In defending Israel's military response to these attacks he stated, "Let me ask you a hypothetical question. What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, NY? I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel's restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza. We would use whatever means necessary to win the war." (Haaretz, 9/12/07)
Senate Record. Fred Thompson supports legislation that advances the United States' and Israel's security and interests. During his time in the U.S. Senate, Fred Thompson voted for a number of measures important to both countries, including-
Back in August, I reviewed Rudy's foreign policy piece that appeared in Foreign Affairs. I pointed out there that Rudy's position on the Palis and negotiations with Israel was really no different than the Bush position. Annapolis may alter that opinion, only time will tell. Well, now an official Fred position on the Israel has been published on the Fred'08 website. Fred's position also echoes the Bush position. Again, we see the terms: mutual respect, trust, respect, credible peace partner, disbanding militias, and ending terrorism, mostly the same catch words.
Fred is strong on Hezbollah and Hamas, while labeling Syria and Iran, state sponsors of terrorism, which is fightin' words. Overall a pretty good statement but nothing revolutionary. Fred's record though, unlike Rudy who has no "official" record, is there for the world to see in the official record of the US Senate.