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Thursday, August 17, 2017

(TPS) The Democratic Party remains “overwhelmingly” supportive of Israel, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) told reporters in Jerusalem Tuesday.

Speaking alongside House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), Hoyer pointed to the Congressional vote last month tightening sanctions against Iran as evidence that support for Israel is not declining among Democrats.

“This is about a consensus that Israel’s security is critical to the security of the United States of America,” Hoyer said, adding that the U.S.-Israel relationship is not dependent on the individual leaders of either country.

“Iran sanctions were expanded significantly by the Congress of the United States, and there were only three votes against it—none of them were Democrats,” Hoyer said.

Asked about anger in his party over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March 2015—at the invitation of then-Speaker of the House John Boehner, Netanyahu had slammed the Obama administration for efforts to close a deal with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, to the consternation of Congressional Democrats—the Minority Whip said that both parties had put the disagreement behind them.

“Most visits are done in a bipartisan fashion, and this was not done in a bipartisan fashion. Democrats were not happy about that, and we said that… [but] all of us together support Israel and there is no residual impact [from Netanyahu’s speech],” Hoyer added.

Hoyer and McCarthy met with the press during a two-day overlap for independent Congressional delegations for their respective parties, including 18 Democrats and 33 Republicans.

McCarthy added that both sides wanted to send a message that Israel continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in Washington.

“We’re here because the United States and Israel are partners for peace and partners for security,” he said.