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Biden Trades $6 Billion to Iran for American Hostages

The New York Times reports today:

The United States and Iran have reached an agreement to win the freedom of five imprisoned Americans in exchange for several jailed Iranians and eventual access to about $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue, according to several people familiar with the deal.


… [P]eople familiar with the agreement said that when the Americans are allowed to return to the United States, the Biden administration will release a handful of Iranian nationals serving prison sentences for violating sanctions on Iran.


The United States will also transfer nearly $6 billion of Iran’s assets in South Korea, putting the funds into an account in the central bank of Qatar, according to the people familiar with the deal. The account will be controlled by the government of Qatar and regulated so Iran can gain access to the money only to pay vendors for humanitarian purchases such as medicine and food, they said.

Gabriel Noronha, who served as State Department advisor on Iran in the Trump administration, tweeted in response to this news: "NYT confirms Iran is getting $6-7 billion dollars for taking American hostages. That's as much as its entire military budget in 2021!"


Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation in Defense of Democracies and another expert on Iran, had this to say on social media:

1. It’s good news that American hostages, illegally seized by the regime in Iran, are coming home.

2. But paying $6 billion in ransom payments means the regime will only take more hostages. This has become a lucrative means of international extortion for Iran’s supreme leader.

3. The $6 billion will not only [be] used for humanitarian purposes. In the real world where cash is fungible, it will free up $6 billion to be used for terrorism, funding drones for Russia, domestic repression, and nuclear weapons expansion.

4. Only when the regime is severely punished for illegally seizing hostages, not rewarded with billions in ransom payments, will it put a stop to these humanitarian abuses.

Taxpayer Dollars Going to Taliban

Adam Kredo reports at the Washington Free Beacon:

The Biden administration has provided more than $2.35 billion in taxpayer dollars to Afghanistan since the Taliban retook control of the government in 2021 following a deadly US evacuation.


…With the Taliban exerting control over nearly every sector of the country’s infrastructure—including the NGO community—it is more than likely that a sizable portion of these funds will end up in the terror group’s coffers.

Auburn University basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

U of A and KSU Men’s Basketball Teams Head to Mideast

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports on the terrific efforts of RJC Leader Bruce Pearl, the Auburn University basketball coach, to bring American college athletes to the Middle East to learn about Israel. This year, the trip will include a visit the UAE:

Auburn University basketball coach Bruce Pearl… one of the more outspokenly Jewish and pro-Israel coaches in all of sports, will be accompanying the men’s basketball teams from the University of Arizona and Kansas State University — two of the nation’s best teams — on part of a 10-day trip to Israel and the United Arab Emirates.


Though his Auburn team is not part of this summer’s trip, Pearl said he felt strongly that he should be on the flight from Israel to the UAE, to "feel very much a part of the Abraham Accords," the series of normalization agreements between Israel and some of its neighboring Arab countries.


Organized by the nonprofit Athletes for Israel, the program is an expansion of the "Birthright for College Basketball" trip that Auburn experienced last summer. As its name suggests, the group works to bring athletes to Israel in an effort to combat antisemitism and "change the narrative about Israel," said founder Daniel Posner.


… "When we talked about the trip for this year, our dream was to do an Abraham Accords-like trip," Posner told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "We were able to make that happen this year, traveling to both Israel and the UAE, really showing that in today’s modern day and age, there can be peace in the Middle East. And we want to support that."

Remembering the Sbarro Pizza Attack

Jeff Dunetz reminds us that yesterday marked the 22nd anniversary of the Sbarro Pizza massacre. That afternoon, Palestinian terrorists blew up a pizza place in the heart of Jerusalem, killing 16. (One victim, Chana Nachenberg, was left in a coma and died recently, on June 2, 2023.) The Hamas attack killed seven children and a pregnant woman and wounded another 130 people. Dunetz writes:

Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi inspired, planned, and engineered the Sbarro attack and personally led the homicide bomber, Al Masri, to the target she had carefully selected at Jerusalem’s busiest intersection. She selected a pizza restaurant because it was located in the heart of Jerusalem on a hot summer vacation afternoon; therefore would be teeming with women and children. Tamimi instructed Al Masri to wait fifteen minutes before detonating the explosives to give her sufficient time to flee the scene safely. He followed her orders. [Tamimi now lives in Jordan. Some of her victims were Americans, including US-born teenager Malki Roth. Efforts to extradite Tamimi from Jordan to stand trial in the US have failed.]

Short Takes

Passing of Robert Beren

The RJC notes with great sadness the passing of RJC Chairman's Council member Robert M. Beren of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, father of RJC Vice Chairman's Council member Adam Beren. Robert Beren dedicated himself to improving the world around him. He served his country during World War II and later helped desegregate Wichita’s elementary schools as president of the Wichita school board. He supported Jewish education in the US and in Israel, as well as his alma mater, Harvard University. He raised children who are deeply involved in Jewish communal affairs. Our condolences go to Adam and the entire family. May his memory be a blessing.

Join the (Grand Old) Party!

Over the last 20 years, about four times as many Democratic state lawmakers have switched to the Republican Party as the other way around. Eighty-three Democratic legislators have joined the GOP since 1994, compared with only 23 Republicans who became Democrats, Politico reported Wednesday. Five of those blue-to-red switches happened just this year.

Find out who we are, what we do, and how YOU can get involved! Watch our new video and share it with your friends!






TX: Event with Rep. Morgan Luttrell (TX-08)
Join us for a conversation in Houston with Rep. Luttrell, a former US Navy officer serving his first term in Congress.



Click on the graphic below for more information and to register!

Click the graphic for more information and to register.


Contact information for our offices can be found on our website. Please visit us online for the latest RJC news, to see details of upcoming events, and to donate to the RJC. Read past editions of this newsletter here.

Republican Jewish Coalition
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