Engel supports recognizing Israeli control of Golan

Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) discussed his new role as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh after a fundraiser hosted by NORPAC at the home of Helene and Robert Rothenberg in Woodmere, New York on Sunday.

“There has to be a way where Congress authorizes the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to the president so the president just doesn’t have the blank check to do whatever he wants,” Engel said about Congress serving as a check to the Executive Branch on foreign policy. “After September 11, 2001, we voted for an AUMF to go after the terrorists. Each president since then has used that same AUMF. I think that that’s wrong, and that has to change.”

Engel on Israel requesting U.S. recognition of its sovereignty over the Golan Heights: “Yes, I support it. I think that Golan Heights is part of Israel and should remain part of Israel for strategic purposes. I also think that because of the situation it would be good for the United States, too. Whoever may take over Syria may try to recapture the Golan Heights. That’s certainly not something we want to see. It is also an important message to send that the close cooperation between the United States and Israel is still there, and still strong.”

Engel said he will talk with freshman members — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Ilhan Omar (MN) — regarding U.S. support for Israel. “I will talk to them,” he said. “I’ve already spoken to one of them. I will speak to all three of them. They may not agree with me at the end, but I’ll at least want them to hear the other point of view. You never know —sometimes when you talk to people you can convince them.”

“Look, it might not be in the past where you had 99 percent of everybody agreeing with Israel and maybe 90 percent or whatever,” the senior Democrat continued. “But it’s still gonna be an overwhelming majority of both parties agreeing that U.S. support of Israel is important. So, I’m not too worried. But we can’t sit back on our laurels. I will speak with anyone, including with any of the new freshmen, to give them my point of view about the Middle East and hopefully, they’ll agree and change their minds.”

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