Top Dem, GOP lawmakers cheer mutual ‘bond’ over Israel

A pair of top Democrat and Republican lawmakers insisted on Monday that Congress’s support for Israel was one of the few shining areas of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.

“There’s a bond there that breaks parties, that understands Israel is our strongest ally and if we are not united, where does that leave the world?” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House Majority Leader.

“The commitment to Israel, I think, is unique,” echoed Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.). “It bonds both Republicans and Democrats in common cause.

“It was true yesterday, it’s true today, and it will be true tomorrow.”

The No. 2 lawmakers in each party made their comments while sharing the stage at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual policy conference in Washington on Monday.

“The issue with Israel in America, it brings more bipartisan[ship] inside Congress,” said McCarthy. “So it’s only a helpful ability that we can work together, we can stand on the stage together, and we travel to Israel together.”

The two pledged their respective parties’ support for Israel’s security and called for a new memorandum of understanding to beef up the nation’s defenses.

“We need to make sure that Israel has what it needs to be able to defend itself, remain secure and sovereign,” Hoyer said.

The two lawmakers pointed to Iran as Israel’s top adversary.

“Iran is clearly the No. 1 threat that exists,” said Hoyer. "They clearly have a policy to impose hegemony on the region.”

Critics of the nuclear deal that Iran reached with the Obama administration and other world powers last year warn that the accord has only empowered Tehran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon. The agreement was strongly opposed by AIPAC and key Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as by Republicans in Congress. Hoyer eventually supported the agreement, despite serious reservations.

Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon “needs to be our No. 1 focus,” he said on Monday.