Democratic Congressman co-chairs caucus to defeat Palestinian ‘enemy’

WASHINGTON – The Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVS) convened on Wednesday afternoon with Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA) joining as a co-chair of the organization. Explaining the caucus’ ideology, Daniel Pipes, who initiated the group noted, “Victory means imposing your will on your enemy and the Palestinians give up.”

Vargas was one of only six House Democrats who declined to sign a letter in March endorsing the two state solution. The California lawmaker also introduced the anti-Israel Boycott Act along with Rep. Peter Roskam (D-IL) to combat the BDS movement.

Joined by members of Knesset Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) and Avraham Neguise (Likud), the CIVS held its session on Capitol Hill. “Judea and Samaria are some of the most historic Jewish lands going back thousands of years,” asserted Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who earlier this month convened a Congressional hearing urging the Trump administration to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

The Florida lawmaker also urged for a change in longstanding US policy towards Israel. “We don’t want to be pressuring Israel: ‘you’ve got to do this, it’s your fault.’” In October, the Trump administration announced its opposition to an Israeli bill that would annex Jewish settlements around Jerusalem, causing the Israeli government to stall the legislation. “It’s fair to say that the US is discouraging actions that it believes will unduly distract the principals from focusing on the advancement of peace negotiations. The Jerusalem expansion bill was considered by the administration to be one of those actions,” a US official said.

According to the principles of the caucus, “Israel should be encouraged to use all diplomatic, economic, and military tools to end the conflict” while also noting that Israeli territorial concessions have not led to peace.

Dmitry Shiglik, president of the American forum for Russian speaking Jewry, spoke at the event and emphasized, “Historically — always — (the) winner dictates what to do to (the) loser.”

In April, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) appeared dismissive towards the CIVS. “Getting the Palestinians to accept a two-state solution that’s consistent with Israeli security is hard enough. Asking them to say ‘we’re a bunch of losers’ is an unnecessary concession,” he told Al-Monitor.

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