Kirsten Gillibrand on Foreign Policy
Democratic Senator (NY); Democratic Candidate for President (withdrawn)
Israel went in wrong direction barring Congressional visit
Q: What about foreign aid to Israel and others in the Middle East?
GILLIBRAND: Congress has a duty to make decisions about whether we give aid, how we protect allies such as Israel with qualitative military edge.
I don't know why Netanyahu would want to deny members of Congress to come to Israel if they expect us to be that never-ending partner and friend.
Q: They talk about the BDS movement
("Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions" directed against Israel)..
GILLIBRAND: In this country, we don't deny people the right to participate in conversations about their views and their values. Unfortunately,
Netanyahu has allowed a law that says if you support the BDS movement they can prevent you. Any time you are undermining basic free speech rights and human rights you're going in the wrong direction.
Source: ABC This Week interview for Democratic 2020 Veepstakes
, Aug 18, 2019
Opposes boycotts of businesses in Israel
Gillibrand criticized the call from the UN Human Rights Council's special rapporteur for a boycott of companies in settlements (and called for his removal), criticized a food-labeling measure by the EU that mandated that products made
in the settlements be labeled as such, and worked with Schumer to rebuke the UN Security Council's condemnation of the settlements early this year.
Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2018 New York Senate race
, May 9, 2017
1995: Inspired by women's rights as human rights
On September 5, 1995, at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Hillary said her line about women's rights being human rights, a line I've repeated almost once a week for the past ten years. Her words were so simple, brave, and
powerful, and when I heard them, something woke up in me. I cared about China. I'd majored in Asian studies, and spent a semester there in college, devastated by the poverty and pollution but inspired by the culture and the strength of its people.
I even spoke passable Mandarin. With her words, Hillary put me back in touch with my childhood dream. I needed to alter the course of my life and get involved in politics. That was who I was and who I had always wanted to be.
It was time to embrace what mattered to me most and overcome my fear that others would disapprove of my ambition or view me as presumptuous or entitled.
Source: Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand, p. 28
, Sep 9, 2014
Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.
Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:
- Approves the US-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
- Declares that it is US policy to prevent the transfer to India of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology from other participating governments in the Nuclear Suppliers Group or from any other source; and
- any nuclear power reactor fuel reserve provided to India for use in safeguarded civilian nuclear facilities should be commensurate with reasonable reactor operating requirements.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement;
; vote number 2008-H662
on Sep 27, 2008
Rated +2 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.
Gillibrand scores +2 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012
- S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
- S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
- S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
- S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a
negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
- S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
- S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
- S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
- S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
- S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
- S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Integrate gender into diplomatic and foreign aid processes.
Gillibrand co-sponsored Women, Peace, and Security Act
Expresses the sense of Congress that:
- implementation of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security (NAP) is paramount in improving the lives of women around the world and increasing global stability and prosperity;
- It is US policy to implement NAP;
- The US Agency for International Development (USAID) should integrate gender into diplomatic and strategic and planning processes;
- federal agencies shall ensure that the tenets of NAP are incorporated into programs for conflict prevention, humanitarian and disaster response, peacekeeping, and democracy promotion;
- Federal agencies facilitate partner government efforts to improve women's inclusion in peace and security processes, conflict prevention, peace-building and decision-making institutions in conflict-affected environments.
White House Summary of NAP, December 2011:The goal of this National Action Plan is as simple as it is profound: to empower half the world's population
as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity. Deadly conflicts can be more effectively avoided, and peace can be best forged and sustained, when women become equal partners. The National Action Plan is guided by the following five principles:
Source: H6255/S3477 12-S3477 on Aug 1, 2012
- the engagement and protection of women as agents of peace and stability
- building on goals for gender integration, gender equality, and women's empowerment
- guided by the principle of inclusion, seeking out the views and participation of a wide variety of stakeholders--women and girls, men and boys, and members of marginalized groups
- coordinate among all relevant departments and agencies of the US government, integrated into relevant United States foreign policy initiatives, and enhanced by engagement with international partners
- be accountable for the implementation of the policies and initiatives endorsed in this Plan.
Sponsored supporting State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.
Gillibrand sponsored Resolution for Israeli Self-Defense
RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:
- Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;
- Whereas Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
- Whereas terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year, an increase from roughly 675 attacks in 2011 and 350 in 2010;
- Whereas Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self defense in the face of terrorist attacks:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress:
Source: SR599/HR813 12-SRes599 on Nov 16, 2012
- expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the
State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
- reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
- urges the UN Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
- encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Sponsored funding and supplying the Syrian rebels.
Gillibrand co-sponsored Free Syria Act
- Authorizes assistance for humanitarian activities taking place in and outside Syria, including post-transition efforts.
- Authorizes assistance to the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) and Free Syrian Army (FSA), including non-lethal equipment and training to vetted members of the FSA.
- Urges the US to develop a plan for securing conventional and unconventional weapons in Syria and preventing their illicit sale or transfer out of Syria.
Proponent's argument for bill:(by United Free Syria organization): House of Representatives: Free Syria Act (HR.1327):
- Provides funding & other assistance for a peaceful, stable, and organized political transition to a democratic, inclusive government structure, as well as robust economic aid for rebuilding.
- Permits securing and destroying chemical & biological weapons in Syria.
- Increases humanitarian aid dramatically, and also provides for conditional, limited arming
of moderate vetted opposition forces
Senate: Syria Democratic Transition Act (S.617):The House bill would set up a framework under which the Obama administration could deploy anti-aircraft systems to help the rebels fight off the Syrian regime's attacks from above, and assist a post-Assad transition by using sanctions relief and loans from international financial institutions to support a new transitional government. "We believe there are credible options at your disposal, including limited military options, that would require neither putting US troops on the ground nor acting unilaterally," Sens. Levin and McCain wrote. "First, we urge you to lead an effort, together with our friends and allies, to degrade the Assad regime's airpower and to support Turkey if they are willing to establish a safe zone inside of Syria's northern border."
Source: S.617 / H.R.1327 13-S617 on Mar 21, 2013
- Provides funding and humanitarian aid, and also provides for increased non-lethal aid to the Etilaf.
- Increases refugee aid funding
Disallow Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel.
Gillibrand signed disallowing Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel
Excerpts from Letter from 73 Senators to Secretary of State Kerry We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), because the Palestinian Authority is not a state and its express intent is to use this process to threaten Israel.
Pres. Abbas' effort contravene the spirit of earlier agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and erodes the prospect for peace. Therefore, the US must make clear that joining the ICC is not a legitimate or viable path for Palestinians.
Israel is a major strategic partner of the US and is facing increasing pressure from those who seek to delegitimize its very existence. The only realistic and sustainable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, "U.S. Should Not Join the ICC," Aug. 18, 2009):
The ICC prosecutor is exploring a request by the Palestinian National Authority to prosecute Israeli commanders for alleged war crimes committed during the recent actions in Gaza. Palestinian lawyers maintain that the Palestinian National Authority can request ICC jurisdiction as the de facto sovereign even though it is not an internationally recognized state. By countenancing Palestine's claims, the ICC prosecutor has enabled pressure to be applied to Israel over alleged war crimes, while ignoring Hamas's incitement of the military action and its commission of war crimes against Israeli civilians. Furthermore, by seemingly recognizing Palestine as a sovereign entity, the prosecutor's action has created a pathway for Palestinian statehood without first reaching a comprehensive peace deal with Israel. This determination is an inherently political issue beyond the ICC's authority.
Source: Palestinian Bid to ICC 14LTR-ICC on Jan 29, 2015
Two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank.
Gillibrand signed two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank
Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.
- Calls for such resolution to be repealed or fundamentally altered and allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties.
- Notes that granting membership and statehood standing to the Palestinians at the UN, its specialized agencies, and other international institutions outside of the context of a bilateral peace agreement with Israel would cause severe harm to the peace process.
- Urges upholding the U.S. practice of vetoing all Security Council resolutions that recognize unilateral Palestinian actions or dictate terms and a time line for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Reaffirms that it is U.S. policy to seek a sustainable, just, and secure two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.
Source: S.Res.6 & H.Res.11 17-SRes6 on Jan 3, 2017
Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.
Gillibrand co-sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s
Sen. DURBIN: The definition of "genocide" is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Scholars agree that what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 to 1917 fits the definition of genocide. To date, 19 countries and 37 US states recognize the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is wrong. It is evil. It is evil whether its victims are Armenians, Sudanese, Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or European Jews. Not to acknowledge genocide for what it is denigrates the memory of its victims. Recognition of genocide is part of the healing process. Official recognition will reaffirm our tradition of protecting the vulnerable and inspire us to not stand by and watch as genocide occurs in our time.
Source: Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.RES.106/H.RES.106) 2007-SR106 on Mar 14, 2007
- WHEREAS the Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, and which succeeded in the elimination of more than 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland;
- WHEREAS, on May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers issued the joint statement of England, France, and Russia that explicitly charged, for the first time ever, another government of committing "a crime against humanity";
- WHEREAS, despite the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides:
- NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Senate calls on the President, in the
President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide, to accurately characterize the systematic annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of US intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.
Afghan laws violate women's human rights on sex & divorce.
Gillibrand signed Shi'ite Personal Status Law
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION: Expressing the sense of Congress that the Shi'ite Personal Status Law in Afghanistan violates the fundamental human rights of women and should be repealed.
Source: SCR.19&HCR.108 2009-SCR19 on Apr 23, 2009
- Whereas in March 2009, the Shi'ite Personal Status Law was approved by the parliament of Afghanistan and signed by President Hamid Karzai;
- Whereas according to the United Nations, the law legalizes marital rape by mandating that a wife cannot refuse sex to her husband unless she is ill;
- Whereas the law also weakens mothers' rights in the event of a divorce and prohibits a woman from leaving her home unless her husband determines it is for a 'legitimate purpose';
- Whereas President Barack Obama has called the law 'abhorrent' and stated that 'there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle';
Whereas Afghanistan acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, entered into force September 3, 1981 (CEDAW), which condemns discrimination against women in all its forms and reaffirms the equal rights and responsibilities of men and women during marriage and at its dissolution;
- Whereas the provisions in the Shi'ite Personal Status Law that restrict women's rights are diametrically opposed to those goals:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved that Congress--
- urges the Government of Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai to declare the provisions of the Shi'ite Personal Status Law on marital rape and restrictions on women's freedom of movement unconstitutional;
- encourages the Government of Afghanistan to solicit information and advice from governmental and women-led nongovernmental organizations to ensure that legislation uphold the equal rights of women.
Page last updated: Jun 02, 2020