Sen. Graham, Amb. Dermer Urge Ratification of a Narrow U.S.-Israel Mutual Defense Treaty


Press Release – For Immediate Release
November 25, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the treaty would be the biggest deterrent to war advanced “in a long time” in remarks at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) Annual Awards Dinner.

Washington, D.C.— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday told a packed room that included Members of Congress, federal officials, and an Israeli ambassador, that he would like to see the U.S. Senate ratify a narrow U.S.-Israel mutual defense treaty in 2020.

 “JINSA…you hit above your weight. Michael [Makovsky], this agreement that you drafted…It was well written and if we can pull this off, I think it will be the biggest advancement in a long time regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship, and I think it will be the biggest deterrent to a big war in a very long time,” Graham said. He made his remarks at JINSA’s 37th Annual Awards Dinner on November 20, where he was presented with the Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award for his commitment to advancing U.S.-Israeli security cooperation. 

“My hope is that we can draft a mutual defense agreement that is consistent with Israel’s ability to defend herself, consistent with the United States’ strategic interest, which is to make sure that our number one ally in the region doesn’t go by the wayside,” Graham added. “If we can pull this off, I think it would be one of the most important things we’ve ever done to solidify this relationship. I think it will have a calming effect on a region that needs some calm.”

“I greatly appreciate Senator Graham’s championing of a narrow U.S.-Israel mutual defense pact, as proposed by JINSA, which would advance U.S. interests and regional stability by adding a layer of deterrence to Israel’s posture and/or help mitigate the intensity of a major war should one break out,” JINSA President and CEO Dr. Michael Makovsky said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. weighed in on the defense pact for the first time publicly at JINSA’s National Leadership Conference the next day, on Thursday, November 21, saying, “That’s something that I strongly support. It’s something that has the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, of Israel’s sitting chief of staff Aviv Kochavi, [and] of our current national security advisor. And I have spoken to all three of those people directly about it and they are all positively inclined.”

Dermer explained, “The treaty would do three things. First, it would give a powerful expression to the alliance between America and Israel. The second thing it would provide a layer of deterrence against the most extreme threats that Israel faces, thereby enhancing both security and stability. And third, it would give a platform to dramatically upgrade the alliance between our two countries.”

About JINSA: The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) is dedicated to educating Congressional, military and civilian national security decision-makers on American defense and strategic interests, primarily in the Middle East, the cornerstone of which is a robust U.S.-Israeli security cooperation. JINSA believes that a strong American military and national security posture is the best guarantor of peace and the survival of our values and civilization.

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