WASHINGTON – A familiar face was included on the agenda for the country’s largest gathering of pro-Israel activists this week — Atlanta Democratic U.S. Rep David Scott.
The seven-term congressman’s 13th District isn’t home to Atlanta’s traditional Jewish pockets, but Scott’s credentials on nuclear nonproliferation run deeper than many realize. And that’s what he discussed as part of a panel on the regional implications of the Iran deal at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference earlier this week.
A former member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Scott has long served as one of the U.S. Congress’ representatives to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, a coalition of lawmakers from the organization’s 28 member countries and other partner nations. He was head of the assembly’s subcommittee on science and technology for a time, and in that role spearheaded a report on Iran’s nuclear program in 2012 that raised alarms about the situation there.
Scott was also a vocal opponent of the Iran nuclear agreement that was rolled out in 2015 between Iran, the U.S. and four other nations.
While the media was barred from covering Scott’s panel by AIPAC organizers, the Atlanta congressman recounted in a subsequent interview that with the Iran nuclear agreement already on the books, the U.S. must now turn its attention to the 10-year commitment for military aid it provides to Israel that expires in 2018.
Scott is pushing for $7 billion in U.S. military aid to Israel annually for a decade, a substantial increase above the $30 billion over 10 years the U.S. pledged in 2007. He cited the changing political climate in the Middle East and the nuclear deal in particular as the reason for the boost, which he said would help maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over its enemies in the region. (The vast majority of that money must be spent on U.S. defense contractors.)
“This is very, very urgent for Israel and for us to send a message to Iran that now the United States is giving the people of Israel the top superior means of protecting and defending themselves and we are committed by law to get them the competitive edge,” he said.
Scott wasn’t the only member of Georgia’s delegation to meet with AIPAC members this week:
Read some of our other coverage from the conference: