A powerful Congressman with ties to a controversial donor has introduced a House version of S.1, the Senate bill that would give Israel $38 billion, etc.
By Alison Weir
On January 8th Republican Congressman Michael T. McCaul of Texas introduced H.R. 336, reported to be a companion bill to S.1, the Senate bill that would cement a $38 billion package to Israel, combat the movement to pressure Israel to adhere to international law known as BDS, and other measures.
The text of the bill is not yet publicly available since McCaul has not published it on his Congressional website, issued a press release about it, or informed his regional offices about the bill. The Congressional website also does not yet contain a summary or text almost a week after the bill was introduced. [UPDATE: the text is now available here.]
The bill has been referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs; the Judiciary; Financial Services; Science, Space, and Technology; and Armed Services.
Pro-Israel PACs & controversial donor
McCaul has a long record of supporting Israel and has received $90,000 from pro-Israel political action committees that give to both Republicans and Democrats.
In 2018 he was endorsed by “Citizens Organized,” a pro-Israel PAC located in Los Angeles (most of its contributors are from Beverly Hills) and NorPAC, headquartered in New Jersey, which says it is the largest pro-Israel advocacy organization in the country.
Kazmir, a major political donor, has been the focus of several controversies.
In 2014 Kazmir filed for bankruptcy protection, saying he was $16 million in debt, and defaulted on a $2.5 million government loan.
In the 1990s, according to NorthJersey.com, he was investigated by the state Division of Consumer Affairs for allegedly helping therapists working for one of his health care companies cheat on the national licensing examination.
In yet another controversy, in 1991 Kazmir was connected to a political donor accused of medicare fraud. And in 2014 the Daily Mail reported that a house Kazmir owned was being used as a brothel by Chinese sex traffickers, although Kazmir said he was unaware of the renters’ activities.
According to Kazmir’s website, he serves on the Board of Governors of the Republican Jewish Coalition, American Jewish Congress, Chabad House, Anti-Defamation League (ADL). He was also a former member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and former Chairman of the Board of the Middle East Media Research Institution (MEMRI).
Additional cosponsors of H.R.336
Other co-sponsors of the bill are Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC-10]) and Will Hurd (R-TX-23). Both also have strong pro-Israel records; McHenry has received over $102,000 from pro-Israel PACs.
The full title of the current bill is “H.R.336 – To make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to Israel, to reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other purposes.”
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.