Democrats reintroduce measure to fund Israeli air defense 

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News



A day after removing it from a larger piece of legislation, Democrats on Wednesday introduced a stand-alone bill that would give $1 billion to Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the bill despite previous protestations from progressives in the House. The bulk of the money is intended to go toward replacing Israel’s interceptors, which are missiles Israel fires as a means of neutralizing inbound missiles.

“The United States’ commitment to the security of our friend and ally Israel is ironclad,” DeLauro said in a statement. “Replenishing interceptors used to protect Israel from attacks is our legal and moral responsibility.”

Over the summer, Israel became engaged in a particularly harsh conflict with Hamas, the militant fundamentalist group that currently holds a majority in the Palestinian parliament. 

The United States is pledged to provide at least $3.8 billion in defense funding to Israel annually. This arrangement was memorialized in a memorandum of understanding signed by then-President Barrack Obama in 2016. 

The Iron Dome funding was originally part of larger spending bill that was meant to avoid a government shutdown; however, it was removed at the insistence of progressives in the party before it passed through the House in a strict party-line vote.

This has led to infighting among moderate and progressive Democrats and a rebuke from Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt.

On Wednesday, Greenblatt wrote a series of tweets in which he blamed the removal of the funding on “the Squad” – a six-person group of Democratic congress members that includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.


Greenblatt also placed blame on more moderate Democrats and Republicans for delaying funding towards the crucial Israeli defense system:


Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) was less forceful that Greenblatt, but nonetheless expressed frustration that the Iron Dome funding had been removed. 

Sen. Omar turned expressed outrage that Hoyer would bring the stand-alone bill to the floor after it had been removed from the stop-gap bill. She turned heads by claiming that Israel was a human-rights abuser on Twitter, saying, “We sold $175 billion in weapons last year—more than anyone in the world—to some of the worst human right abusers in the world,.”

The initial spending bill, less the Iron Dome funding, passed on Tuesday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he will bring the Iron Dome bill to the House floor this week under suspension, which is a tactic that will limit debate and avoid mark-ups.