Of the many reasons why I’m supporting Katie McGinty in the race to become Pennsylvania’s senator, her unwavering support of Israel is particularly important to me. McGinty is someone who understands to her core the importance of standing by our closest ally in the Middle East.
As this paper reported, McGinty grew up in the heart of the vibrant Jewish community in Philadelphia, where she learned firsthand the experiences and struggles faced by Jewish Americans. She values — from her work as a leader in clean energy and environmental innovation — the cutting-edge technologies that Israel has pioneered in the face of scarce resources and a hostile geography.
Protecting Israel is a key concern for McGinty. She understands, in her own words, that “our security is Israel’s security and Israel’s is ours.” McGinty recognizes Israel’s precarious position in the world and knows that there is no substitute for U.S. leadership in securing our allies and their national interests. As the globe’s great power, we are most effective when we build coalitions of partners to neutralize security threats. To McGinty’s credit, she believes our nation has no more important partner than Israel.
Crucially, McGinty’s support for Israel drives her desire to take all possible steps to prevent the existential danger of a nuclear Iran. And this is a key difference between McGinty and her opponent.
Instead of offering constructive solutions to defend the State of Israel, Sen. Pat Toomey offers the same tired hawkish rhetoric, and voted repeatedly against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, despite the fact that this landmark agreement has earned the support of numerous Israeli military leaders and security experts.
While Toomey claims to support Israel, his willingness to play politics with JCPOA jeopardizes America’s ability to defeat the potentially catastrophic consequences of an Iran with nuclear capabilities. It is widely acknowledged that before the agreement, Iran was dangerously close to developing a nuclear weapon — a risk we must never allow to become a reality.
In a statement from the fall, McGinty noted that “rigorous inspection and verification measures — along with snap back sanctions — are at the heart of this agreement.” A scientist by training, McGinty appreciates the value of the JCPOA evidence-based enforcement strategy. But she is clear-eyed and resolute about retaining actionable leverage in the form of sanctions and a credible threat of force to deter Iranian military belligerence and its state-sanctioned support for terrorist organizations.
While no international agreement is perfect, and some with genuine anxieties for Israel’s safety oppose JCPOA, I am glad that McGinty understands the tough, incremental progress diplomacy requires. Her views on foreign policy are sophisticated and reflective of the dynamic challenges America and her allies face.
At a time when our nation’s politics are defined by partisan rancor, we need to elect more people who share McGinty’s ideology: Foreign policymaking and the credibility of our commitment to Israel’s security cannot be caught up in the red-blue divide. In the Senate, she will be an advocate for smart, nuanced diplomacy that employs 21st-century resources and technologies to make our world safer and our allies more secure. She will work with anyone, of any party, to that end.
Meanwhile, Toomey has little interest in that approach. His presidential candidate of choice has frequently and cavalierly called into question our commitment to key strategic allies and longstanding friends around the world, ignoring the hostilities faced by both Israel and the United States today, and disregarding our need for careful diplomacy and international collaboration.
Many politicians can’t be trusted to stand by Israel’s side. McGinty is not one of them. She continues to support the United States’ strategic partnership with Israel, and will continue to support our two nations’ cooperation, through intelligence-sharing as well as foreign aid and military assistance to Israel.
McGinty’s commitment to the State of Israel is earnest and deeply personal. It stems from her profound respect for the courage and resilience that the Jewish people have demonstrated throughout history, and continue to demonstrate to this day. She appreciates the strong Jewish values of tolerance and equality, and recognizes that for many, Israel represents a beacon of justice and democracy in a frequently volatile region.
In the Senate, McGinty will be a strong ally for the Jewish community. She will stand with us at home and Jews around the world to defend Israel’s safety and security at every turn. She is the right choice for Pennsylvanians who understand that the American-Israeli alliance is fundamental to our nations’ protection and prosperity.
Robert Wexler, a former Democratic congressman from Florida, is president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, D.C.