Utah Governor: Maintaining Israel’s security should be a primary US goal
(September 12, 2022 / JNS) One of the primary goals of US foreign policy should be to ensure the security of the State of Israel, Utah Governor Spencer Cox told JNS in an exclusive interview during his first-ever visit in the Jewish state.
Cox, who won his state’s 2020 governor’s vote and was inaugurated on January 4, 2021, becoming the 18th person to hold the position, has been unable to travel to Israel so far due to the pandemic. of coronavirus.
He told JNS that he looked closely at which parts of the world might “be most important to us in improving economic relations and other issues, and Israel became a very clear and natural choice…because that we share so much in common and I just felt that was where we needed to be.
Cox began his political career in 2004, when he was elected as an alderman in Fairview, Utah. He was elected mayor of the city the following year and in 2008 was chosen to serve as Sanpete County Commissioner.
He was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012, before becoming the state’s lieutenant governor about 12 months later.
Hillel Newman, Israel’s consul general in the Southwest Pacific, who was instrumental in arranging Cox’s visit, told JNS the governor was leading a 66-person delegation focused on improving bilateral trade, humanitarian cooperation, advances in life sciences, and communication with U.S. governors. .
During his four-day trip, Cox met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and spoke with other senior officials, including from the Foreign Ministry.
Regarding the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, Cox pointed out that he had spoken with Herzog about the issue and alluded to conversations the Israeli president had had with his American counterpart Joe Biden.
“I know he [Herzog] met with Biden personally… and so it’s very important that these talks take place, and obviously we want to do everything we can to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear device and we’re certainly committed to that not happen,” Cox said.
“I hope whatever happens with the [nuclear] negotiations [in Vienna] that Israel is deeply involved and comfortable with how any potential deal unfolds,” he added.
Cox’s statements come amid reports that Israel is not considering signing a new nuclear deal between Iran and world powers before November’s midterm elections in the United States.
According Reuters, Jerusalem came to this conclusion in part thanks to the statement released Saturday by Britain, France and Germany. In the statement, the so-called E3 nations denounced Iran for failing to negotiate in good faith a revised deal to curb its nuclear program, which Tehran had continued to expand “far beyond any civilian justification.” plausible”.
Israel reportedly viewed the missive as evidence that Biden was reluctant to strike a new deal with Tehran ahead of the November vote, with some analysts saying formalizing a deal with the mullahs could hurt Democrats’ prospects at the polls.
Asked if he thinks bipartisan support for Israel in the United States remains strong, Cox, who is a member of the Republican Party, stressed that the welfare of the Jewish state remains a critical issue in Washington. .
“I don’t know if the bipartisan support for Israel is as strong as ever…but I believe it’s more important than ever, and certainly something I care about,” Cox said, adding, “I’m currently vice president of the National Governors Association, a bipartisan group, and at every opportunity I try to strengthen the bilateral relationship, regardless of party [affiliation].
“Support for Israel remains very strong in the United States,” he continued, “and while there may be extremes in both parties for which this is not true, I believe that among the vast majority of Americans and elected officials across the country, there is tremendous support for Israel.