USIEA Calls on Biden Administration to Reverse Politicized Ban of West Bank Scientific Innovation
Birmingham, AL, June 29, 2023 –
The U.S. Israel Education Association (USIEA) is raising awareness of the Biden Administration’s recent reimposition of a ban prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funds from going toward joint research between U.S. universities and Israeli institutions located in the West Bank. The funding has allowed these institutions to conduct valuable science and technology research projects that directly benefit the United States.
“USIEA is calling on Congress to reverse this unfortunate politicization of science and to embrace the technological and medical innovation that these Israeli institutions in the West Bank offer to Americans,” said Heather Johnston, founder and CEO of USIEA.
“The Biden Administration’s ban reverses an October 2020 decision by the Trump Administration that USIEA helped secure to remove geographic restrictions,” continued Johnston. “The next steps are for U.S. lawmakers to codify the 2020 policy prohibiting the discrimination of funding for research and development and cooperative scientific research in certain areas of the West Bank.”
USIEA, a non-partisan Birmingham-based nonprofit that educates members of Congress about the benefits of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, was directly responsible for raising awareness for and educating on this matter three years ago, ultimately leading to the Trump administration’s decision to lift the research boycott in 2020.
USIEA has also led seven Congressional delegations to Israel, giving bipartisan members of Congress firsthand experiences in the West Bank and at Ariel University, to better inform their policy decisions regarding U.S. foreign aid to Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Collaborative research between Ariel University and various American entities has led to cutting-edge medical equipment, pharmaceutical supplies, life-saving drugs, and a vast array of other scientific breakthroughs. Ariel University has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University on groundbreaking artificial intelligence research which programs a Siri-like interface to learn speaker commands. This technology has been used in popular restaurant apps nationwide.
Ariel University has also worked with Stony Brook University on increasing our understanding of the nature of Black Holes, and it is one of Israel's leading universities in autonomous vehicle research. The Intel corporation recently moved its entire autonomous research center to Israel.
Since the ban was lifted in 2020, an influx of binational-funded projects emerged primarily targeted toward cancer drugs and solutions.
In 2021, 18 proposals were sent to binational funds, seven of which were granted funding. In 2022, 32 proposals were sent, and responses are expected in July 2023. So far this year, more than 60 proposals are being prepared. It’s not yet clear whether the ban will retroactively affect last year’s funding.
“This ban also raises questions about the use of funds established under the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA),” said Ari Sacher, senior policy advisor at USIEA. “While the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is under no restrictions based on the legislation, this policy change implies that U.S. dollars will also be prohibited from going to Israeli entities in the West Bank.”
U.S. Israel Education Association (USIEA) advances important dialogue and cooperation between bipartisan senior government leaders in the United States and Israel by filling existing information gaps and enhancing understanding of issues critical to a mutually beneficial partnership. Founded in 2011, USIEA empowers U.S. leaders with innovative initiatives on the path to Middle East peace, connects Members of Congress with direct access to West Bank visits, and educates as thought leaders in the media and through strategic global partnerships. To learn more about USIEA’s work, visit usieducation.org.