The Friends Committee on National Legislation welcomes the congressional letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting assurances that the Leahy law restrictions on assistance to foreign security forces are being applied to Israel and Egypt. The letter, led by Representative Hank Johnson and signed by nine other representatives and Senator Patrick Leahy, calls on the Department of State to investigate reports of human rights violations by Israeli and Egyptian forces, and to determine what action should be taken under the Leahy law.
“The Leahy law must be uniformly applied to every country in the world” said FCNL’s Legislative Representative on Middle East Policy Kate Gould. “Given that three quarters of foreign military financing goes to Israel and Egypt, U.S. lawmakers have a particular responsibility to guard against U.S. taxpayer dollars financing human rights abuses by Israeli and Egyptian security forces. The Middle East should not be an ‘accountability free zone’ for U.S. military assistance.”
In their letter to Secretary Kerry, the members of Congress express concern that U.S. military aid to military units in Israel and Egypt has not been subjected to the same rigorous tracking mechanisms that U.S. military aid is subjected to elsewhere in the world. This type of congressional oversight is absolutely essential to the success of our democratic system.