Sen. Cruz on the Senate Floor: Colin Kahl Views the World Through a Cracked Lens, Judgment is Irreparably Marred by Obsessive Animosity Toward Israel
Hes demonstrated a willingness to endanger Israeli lives and American lives to advance that hostility
April 27, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to vote against President Biden's nominee for Under Secretary for Defense for Policy, Colin Kahl, for his history of conspiracy theories, virulent opposition to Israel, and allegations of weaponizing leaks against opponents. Sen. Cruz also called on President Biden to fire Special Envoy John Kerry if recent reports are verified that he leaked intelligence about Israeli operations to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. Read his full remarks below.
WATCH: Colin Kahl Would be the ‘Most Virulently Anti-Israel Nominee' in the Biden Administration
"I rise today to speak about Colin Kahl, the president's nominee to be Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. The most basic responsibility of our government and our military is to protect the national security of the American people, which requires helping our allies and constraining our enemies. The Pentagon's policy chief is responsible for those evaluations. Unfortunately, I have come to believe that Colin Kahl's judgment is irreparably marred by obsessive animosity towards Israel. I can think of no other way to explain his years of consistently wrong views regarding the Middle East. And not just wrong, but impulsive and reckless. He has repeatedly spilled out his conspiracy theories and attacks on Twitter and other public venues. He views the world through a cracked lens. And I challenge my Democratic colleagues to explain one simple thing: What other explanation, other than animosity to the world's only Jewish state, could possibly account for all of these staggeringly wrong judgments?
"I'd like to begin with a topic the Senate has been united on - our opposition to anti-Semitism and to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In 2019, this body came together unanimously to pass a resolution that I authored, along with Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, condemning anti-Semitism as a unique form of bigotry that distorts people's judgments.
"Recently, a top adviser to the Ayatollah Khomeini acknowledged what the world long knew, that in 2018, in an operation right out of a Hollywood action movie, Israel seized Iran's National Nuclear Archive. The archive proved that Iran had been keeping nuclear weapons, blueprints, and materials on the shelf. The nuclear deal, of which Kahl was a principle architect, had been flawed from the start. Kahl responded to the news of the raid by suggesting on Twitter the archive was fabricated by Israel with the aim of dragging American boys and girls into another Middle East war. This was a pernicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. A blood libel. Not just pernicious, but wrong.
"That was not the only time call level troubling conspiracy theories about Israel and Iran. He suggested on Twitter that Trump's policies regarding the Iran deal and Jerusalem were linked to donations from Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson. This is not the judgment of anyone who should be anywhere near power or policy.
"Another decision the Trump administration made was to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. There was an active debate within the Trump administration. I leaned in vigorously with the president and the president agree with agreed with the view I articulated. That we should say to our friends and our enemies that we stand unshakably with the nation of Israel. Kahl spent years fighting against that move, fighting against moving our embassy. According to reports from 2012, Kahl was personally responsible for trying to remove language from the Democratic Party platform, embracing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is a long, abiding passion of his. And when President Trump recognized Jerusalem, Kahl predicted it would isolate the United States and Israel and even potentially trigger a third Intifada. He was wrong.
"Just like he was wrong about supporting Israel, he was wrong about opposing Iran. In 2017, Congress passed legislation mandating that the president declare Iran's IRGC a terrorist organization. Kahl said we were playing politics so that we could show we were tough on Iran. And again, he predicted disaster again, he was wrong. Kahl has even attacked Democrats on this issue, for instance, he has repeatedly attacked Chairman Menendez for trying to, ‘Kill and use poison pills to block appeasement of the Iranian regime.'
"Turning to current topics, the Obama-Biden team shamefully, repeatedly, recklessly used leaks to leak secrets about Israeli operations against Iranian terrorists and forces. Now, there are new reports on a taped phone call that then Secretary of State Kerry may have leaked Israeli attacks to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, with whom he has personally close. If verified, these reports would mean he maliciously endangered not just Israeli national security, but American lives. If these reports are true, John Kerry should resign. And if he doesn't resign, President Biden should fire him.
"Colin Kahl was prominent in shaping Obama-Biden policies on Israel and Iran, and he has been credibly accused of weaponizing and leaking classified information. I recently joined 17 other senators in a letter to FBI Director Ray requesting that the FBI immediately investigate whether he did so. But we're not going to have the answer before we vote today, and I don't see how he can be principally advanced without it.
"Mr. President, on issues of foreign policy, this body is often united. When standing up against our enemies and standing for our friends. This nominee, I believe, is the most virulently anti-Israel nominee who would serve in the entire Biden administration. Many of our friends on the Democratic aisle like to say they support the nation of Israel - well, this is a chance to demonstrate you mean it. Because you cannot vote to confirm a rabid anti-Israel conspiracy theory tweeting radical to the number three position in the Department of Defense and then claim you're a reliable friend of Israel. Colin Kahl's record is extreme, fringe and radical. He has a lifelong obsession with and antipathy to the state of Israel, and he's demonstrated a willingness to endanger Israeli lives and American lives to advance that hostility. I urge our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to oppose this nomination."