Middle East

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Mike Capuano is deeply committed to the state of Israel, a staunch ally of the United States and a country that shares our democratic values.

Mike shared the hopes that the “Arab Spring” would bring peace and democracy to the region. He knows, however, that revolutions do not always bring, in the short or long term, free institutions, rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities. He believes the United States should offer what assistance it can to promote democracy and economic and social development. He also believes we should take care not to exacerbate existing conflicts.

Mike recognizes that a nuclear armed Iran would pose a danger to vital U.S. interests, the state of Israel and peace in the world. He supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015. While far from perfect, Mike believes that the JCPOA is essential to preventing a nuclear armed Iran and reducing conflict.  

Mike believes Israel’s future and the future of all peoples in the Middle East are best protected by reducing tensions in that troubled region. Mike agrees with those in Israel who support a two-state solution as long as it assures Israel’s long term safety. He believes it is possible to achieve a negotiated settlement to end the long and bitter conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and that the United States has a role to play in encouraging parties to resolve their differences. His principle, as a Member of Congress, has been to cast votes that will enable the United States to serve as a credible partner in reaching that goal.

Mike has done more than just talk about supporting Israel. He strongly opposed ballot initiatives to compel the City of Somerville and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to divest from companies doing business in Israel. He said of those efforts at the time: I supported divestment in South Africa under apartheid, and I support divestment in Sudan now. Divestment can, under some circumstances, protect human rights and promote peace. Divestment in Israel would do neither. Mike is proud of the leadership role he played, in his home city of Somerville, to defeat this campaign.

When a group of British academics attempted to boycott their Israeli counterparts, he worked with concerned scholars here and introduced a resolution in the House condemning these outrageous efforts. He has been vigilant with regard to European anti-Semitism.

Mike realizes that his long-term effectiveness in helping Israel achieve a permanent peace would be compromised if he did not have the courage to be fair and pragmatic with both sides. Mike has consistently refused to support House resolutions and letters that he judged to be gratuitously offensive to Palestinians.

Mike has no illusions that this conflict will be easily resolved. He has supported Israel’s right to defend itself when attacked from South Lebanon and Gaza, both territories from which Israel withdrew troops and settlers in hopes of establishing peace with its neighbors. He is concerned about the sufferings of Israeli civilians who live in terror of indiscriminate attacks, rockets and tunnels from Gaza or knives in its streets. He also understands that peace is not possible without recognition of suffering on all sides and that Palestinians are also subject to violence. Mike has joined with others in the House to urge that humanitarian aid reach Gaza.  

Mike will continue doing all he can to make the shared dream of peace a reality. He will continue to express his opinions frankly, in the spirit of achieving the goal of peace.


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