Lindsey Graham: Congress Has Israel's Back

Sen. Lindsey Graham / AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said that the anchor of the U.S.-Israel relationship is Congress and that "when it comes to military assistance and economic assistance, "Congress is firmly in Israel's camp."

In a lengthy interview with Israel Hayom, Graham firmly stated that there is bipartisan support for the notion that sanctions were key to bringing Iran to the table and to the idea that sanctions must be reimposed if Iran walks away from the table or if they cheat on any deal.

Graham emphasized that congressional approval for any deal with Iran must not be bypassed by the White House.

"They seem to want our approval when it comes to operations in Syria and Iraq. We, the Congress, created the sanctions, and we should have a say on whether the deal justifies lifting the sanctions. I don't know how this will turn out, but I think there will be a strong bipartisan vote in favor of the idea that any deal between the P5+1 [and Iran] should come before Congress before the sanctions are lifted. I can't think of a more important decision that the world will make in 2015 than how to handle the nuclear ambitions of the ayatollahs in Iran.

"Islamic State and al-Qaida and radical Islam are a threat to our way of life. The Arab world is beginning to see radical Islam as a threat to their way of life as well. There is an opportunity here for the United States, Europe, the Israelis and Arab states to work together against two common enemies: radical Islam and the nuclear ambitions of the ayatollahs in Tehran."

Graham also disagreed that the decision to renew ties with Cuba locked up the 2016 election for Democrats, and stated that Cuba did not deserve normalized relations with the United States.

"The idea of normalized relations with Cuba? Sign me up. But the Castro brothers [former president Fidel and current president Raul] did nothing to deserve it. Iran is watching this administration and I worry about the signal we're sending. The Castro brothers got everything they wanted for decades, and democracy got very little in return. I think it was a bad deal. I don't mind one day normalizing relations with Cuba, but you have to show progress. If we're not for democracy, who will be? If we're not for freedom, who will be?

That's why the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is unique, because Israel is unique. There are no Arab democracies. We are going to be a friend to those who embrace tolerance and freedom and allow people to express themselves and reach their goals as individuals. If we're not a friend of that, who will be? When you abandon those who seek those freedoms, you will one day lose yours."

The full interview with Graham can be read at Israel Hayom.