Scott Presses President Biden’s Nominee for Israel Ambassador, Highlights Iran Threat, Hamas’ Attack on Israel
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) pressed Jack Lew, President Biden’s nominee to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel, on the growing threats Israel faces as she defends herself from Iranian-backed terrorism. The Senator expressed concern over the nominee’s role in supporting the dangerous 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal—during his time as Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration. He questioned whether Lew believed the current administration is trying to renegotiate another nuclear deal with Iran without submitting the deal to Congress—as is required under the Scott-backed Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015—and if the recent release of $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets is related to that effort, given that evidence suggests Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities slightly slowed in the preceding months.
Additionally, Senator Scott urged the United States to stand strong against Hamas-backed narratives—such as the distortions surrounding the recent Gaza hospital bombing—and called on members of Congress and the media to stop perpetuating misinformation, which jeopardizes the United States’ greatest ally in the Middle East.
“You’ve heard a number of my colleagues talk about your role in the Obama Administration and the impact that your role has had on resources being released through the JCPOA for Iran,” said Senator Scott. “Frankly, I think many of the questions are fair and your commentary is necessary. Iran policy is, without question, Israel policy. They are the greatest enemy that Israel faces, and, frankly, the greatest funders of terrorism—state funders of terrorism—anywhere in the world and we know that 90% of the funds that Hamas receives comes from Iran.”
Click here to watch Senator Scott’s remarks and questions.
Excerpts of Senator Scott’s remarks as delivered:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Lew, thank you for being here. Before I start asking questions of you, I do want to make it a point that, in many ways, Israel is now fighting a war on a different front in addition to the war with Hamas. It’s a war of misinformation. There’s now doubt in, unfortunately, the media carrying the false narrative regarding the hospital bombing, this narrative originated with Hamas—the same people who murdered women and children. The same people who burned babies, who beheaded little ones. And as a result of that lie carried by the New York Times, and others, the summit in Jordan was canceled. Other meetings that Biden had scheduled—canceled. Literally, protests around the globe at our embassies in an attempt, a very clear and specific attempt, to weaken Israel’s position. Rather than waiting for all the facts, they carried the Hamas narrative. That is dangerous and it could be more costly in lives than the current conflict. And the long-term impact of a misinformation campaign, frankly, a misinformation war, could be deadly to the efforts of Israel, deadly to the unified support coming from our nation, and something that we should all take very seriously as Americans, and we certainly do not need members of Congress from the Squad being a part of the propaganda machine coming out of Washington D.C. in support of Hamas. I think it’s very dangerous. In these times, we need the truth. The truth is incredibly important, and getting the facts should be necessary before reporting on this remarkable, frankly disgusting, war that we’re seeing perpetrated against Israel.
You’ve heard a number of my colleagues talk about your role in the previous – the Obama Administration and the impact that your role has had on resources being released through the JCPOA for Iran. Frankly, I think many of the questions are fair and your commentary is necessary. Iran policy is, without question, Israel policy. They are the greatest enemy that Israel faces, and, frankly, the greatest funders of terrorism—state funders of terrorism—anywhere in the world and we know that 90% of the funds that Hamas receives comes from Iran. One of the things that we have debated and will continue to debate, I’m sure, is the $6 Billion paid to Iran for hostages. When Obama paid $400 Million, I said then, several years ago, that that will only raise the price on an American’s head abroad and $6 Billion only makes it worse. I heard you say that the money can only be used for humanitarian aid, I would just say that Raisi, the President of Iran, said it very clearly that they will use the money in any way they want to use the money period. Beyond the fact that money is fungible, is really important as well. My question for you though, is that the administration insists that the $6 Billion transfer is in no way associated with any efforts to renegotiate the nuclear deal although those efforts have been going on secretly for months. And so, my question to you is: do you believe that there are any efforts going forward on the negotiation, and, if there are, would there be a need for that to be submitted to Congress?”