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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has criticized the Biden administration for restricting cooperation in the Judea and Samaria region of Israel—calling it part of the government’s “anti-Semitic discrimination.”
President Joe Biden and “Biden administration officials are pathologically obsessed with undermining Israel. Since day one of their administration they have launched campaigns against our Israeli allies that are granular, whole of government, and done in secret,” Cruz said, according to a June 25 press release. “The State Department is telling the entire U.S. government not to cooperate with Jews in Judea and Samaria. And of course it was sent to Congress in secret, and only revealed because reporters found out.”
Cruz vowed to do “everything possible” to reverse the administration’s decision, and to ensure that such “anti-Semitic discrimination” by Washington does not happen in the future.
In a June 24 post on Twitter, Hiba Nasr, a senior correspondent at the Washington Bureau of Saudi Arabia-based Asharq News, revealed that the U.S. State Department informed Congress on June 16 about “providing guidance to U.S. [Government] agencies that it would not be consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives to support cooperation with #Israel in areas beyond the green line.”
The Green Line refers to the line of demarcation that separated Israeli, Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces at the conclusion of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
It served as Israel’s de-facto border until the 1967 Six-Day War during which the country increased its territory, bringing under control the regions of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and the Sinai Peninsula.
The Judea and Samaria region is an administrative division in Israel that encompasses the entire West Bank area.
In his press release, Cruz pointed out that the Biden administration “defends funding scientific research in Wuhan with the Chinese Communist Party, but they’re discriminating against and banning cooperation with Jews based on where they live.”
Trump Policy Shift
Before the Trump administration came into power, U.S.-Israel development projects, including the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (BARD), the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), and the Binational Science Foundation (BSF), could not be conducted in regions that came under the Israeli government after the 1967 war.
In October 2020, Trump lifted such restrictions and signed bilateral agreements with Israel to further boost cooperation in science, agriculture, and industrial research.
“Upon entry of force of the Protocol signed here in Judea and Samaria, more Israeli partners will be eligible to receive funding for scientific collaboration in a wide variety of fields,” the then U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said at the time.
“The U.S.–Israel Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement will further strengthen our deep science and technology ties and help promote economic security for both our countries.”
Biden’s latest policy reverses the Trump administration’s decision. The policy shift came before Washington had criticized Israel for deciding to build new homes in Judea and Samaria following a series of terror attacks by Palestine.
In a June 26 statement, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) slammed the Biden administration for cutting scientific and technological cooperation in Judea and Samaria, calling the “shortsighted policy” a “new low.”
By returning to the Obama-era policy, Biden is “clumsily re-politicizing” the issue, it said, while warning that the decision will negatively affect millions of Jews and Arabs. RJC called the Biden administration’s policy another example of its adherence to Obama’s “anti-Israel Mideast policy.”
“Whether it is pleading with terrorists in Tehran for a bad nuclear deal, ceding diplomatic ground in the Middle East to China, or releasing anti-Semitism policy that undermines efforts to codify a clear and comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism, the Biden administration continues to be a delight for far-left radicals and a deep disappointment to mainstream pro-Israel supporters.”
The Trump administration had taken several steps to boost relations with Israel, including recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital and also mediating the Abraham Accords which normalized relations between Israel and some Arab nations.