According to JTA, the Israeli Embassy in Washington hosted the new Congressional Hellenic Caucus:
WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Israeli ambassador in Washington hosted the launching of a new congressional grouping dedicated to improving Israeli-Greek-Cypriot ties. Attending the launch Wednesday were the co-chairmen of the newly established Hellenic-Israel Caucus, Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), as well as lawmakers including Reps. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Greek-Cypriot-Israeli ties have become closer in recent years as tensions between all three nations and Turkey have intensified for varying reasons. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in his remarks at the dinner at his residence touted shared economic and strategic interests among Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
The reception comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s declaration that Zionism—and, by extension, the existence of the State of Israel—is a “crime against humanity.” In response to that statement, Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States (and a former Turkish ambassador to Israel) said… Nothing. Requests by journalists for his reaction were ignored.
As to the Congressional Turkey Caucus, chaired by Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Steven Cohen (D-TN), and Gerry Connolly (D-VA)? It has yet to issue any statement, although several members did enjoy a reception at the Turkish ambassador’s house. But there has apparently been no statement from the caucus about the recent actions of the Turkish government or the statements of its prime minister.
Congratulations to Representative Bilirakis and Deutch for starting this caucus. Realism requires the United States regularly assess its interests in the region and recognize that U.S. policy is ready for a recalibration. Neither caucus should be about a popularity contest between Greece and Cyprus on one hand, and Turkey on the other, but rather about how to strengthen U.S. national security. Let us hope, therefore, that the Hellenic Caucus will speak up should it ever need to react to provocations from Athens, in a way that the Turkey Caucus has never been willing to do.