We are rapidly approaching the mid-term elections. Across the United States, people will be heading to the polls to elect Members of Congress. Looking at the current state of our country, this could very well be the most import election cycle we’ve ever had. Not only for our country but the Jewish community.
Simply looking at the news, you cannot help but notice the number of articles that seek to marginalize the Jewish community and the State of Israel. Nor can you miss the number of anti-Semitic acts within the United States, as they are on the rise. What we need, what we must have is a strong ally, in Congress, who is going to stand tall for Israel, and the American Jewish Community.
“We need strong relations,” said Becky Campos, when I asked her if the United States should support Israel. “We need that continued tie with Israel. We need to give that support to Israel. No one wants to make that happen. We must support Israel! This is a God-given command for us to support His people.”
For us, coming out of Texas’s 16th Congressional District, that man is Rick Seeberger.
When I asked Mr Seeberger why he was running for Congress, hoping to get an idea of where he is coming from as a candidate, he gave me an answer I was not expecting.
“First of all, my focus is on our children and grandchildren. I believe that change is necessary. I believe we are heading in the right direction in areas relating to economic development, but also in the rule of law. I think one of the key things our nation is suffering from is that we are becoming like some of the forty-three nations I’ve worked in,” was Mr Seeberger’s answer.
Over the years, speaking with different politicians, I’ve received a host of answers that have run the gamut. Many of them mentioned the children and their future. Mr Seeberger is looking beyond that, to our grandchildren and their future.
“The relationship that we’ve had with Israel, over all these years, to me, has a spiritual foundation first and foremost. So, for my perspective, that is the first reason we should support Israel,” began Mr Seeberger. “We have common values. Our Judeo-Christian heritage, as a nation, aligns with the values of Israel. I believe Israel has been an excellent ally over the years.”
The United States does share many of the same values as Israel. There is also the thought, among many Christians, that support Israel and the Jewish people is a Biblical precept that cannot be ignored.
The relationship between the United States and Israel is one that can be termed as unique. Within the United Nations, the United States fights to support Israel when the world seemingly wants the destruction against Israel.
How does Rick Seeberger plan to work with Israel, and straighten that relationship? Mr Seeberger provided me part of his Contract with El Paso, which includes what he will do for Israel and the Jewish people.
“I believe Israel has the right to determine its own future,” shares Mr Seeberger. That, sharing that, saying that, is a brave statement. “I believe in the mission of the AIPAC to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.”
Unlike many, Mr Seeberger recognises that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, as well the only stabilising force to be found within a region that seeks the destruction of not only Israel but the whole of the Western World. For me, for many, it is imperative that our government do all it can to strengthen the foundation of democracy within the Middle East. Israel is the only way, in my opinion, to go about that.
Mr Seeberger promises, and he puts this in writing and signs it for everyone he meets, to support Israel, AIPC. He promises to be a student of U.S./Israel relations. He also promises to use his office to further peace for both countries.
Mr Seeberger plans to take firm action to fix the flaws in, and there are many, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “To ensure that Iran can never obtain nuclear weapons,” he says.
Another aspect of Iran and its aggression he plans to address by working to cosponsor the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Economic Exclusion Act (IRGC, or H.R. 5132).
The IRGC seeks to amend the Iran Threats Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, by allowing the President to sanction entities in which the Revolutionary Guard has less than 50% ownership it. And that’s a big change that needs to happen.
When the first bill became law in 2012, the President could only sanction a business, or other such entity, if the IRGC held a stake that was larger than fifty percent. That was problematic. What kept the Revolutionary Guard from divesting itself of enough equity in any holding so that it was lower than the fifty-one percent threshold? Nothing. H.R. 5132 will cure that imbalance and allow greater pressure to be applied to Iran, as needed.
“I believe, in 2016, the United States failed to veto a one-sided, anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations Security Council,” says Mr Seeberger. “The resolution hinders the peace process by seeking to impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians.”
That is true. The United Nations is a very one-sided entity when it comes to dealing with Israel. Time and again the UN has sought to undermine any progress the Israeli government might make by decrying it as totalitarian.
“I will,” says Rick Seeberger, “support an agreement reached through direct, bilateral negations.”
Then there is Hezbollah and the payments given by them, and the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families.
During many of the recent acts of aggression towards Israel’s borders, it was no secret that Hezbollah was paying individuals to come out and “protest.” Of those who participated, it was for the money. Nothing more.
“I believe Hezbollah, as a Lebanon-based, Iranian-backed terrorist organisation which poses a direct threat to American interests and Israel,” says Mr Seeberger, “props up the Assad regime in Syria, and dominates the Lebanese government.”
Mr Seeberger will back bipartisan legislation that would impose more sanctions against terrorist organisations and those that support them.
“I want people to understand that values I aspire to align with Judeo-Christian values,” says Rick Seeberger. “My focus is going to Washington DC to raise the standard for our country, our community, and to represent those values. I will fight for those.”
“I would like people to understand that I’ve worked in forty-three nations,” says Mr Seeberger, “I’ve lead leadership and strategic initiatives. I understand a lot of these issues from outside a US perspective.”
Understanding is important, and it seems that Mr Seeberger has that understanding.
As an aside, I want to mention how, as a journalist, I’ve viewed voting in any local election: I don’t vote at all. The reason for this is that it allows me to the ability to remain transparent in my work, and not lend credibility to one side or the other. I also want to mention that though I live in El Paso, I am not in the 16th district.
If I were living on the Westside of El Paso, in Rick Seeberger’s district, I can tell you, I would vote for him.