Pro-Israel Democrats are pushing back after far-left members of the party successfully pushed to have $1 billion in funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system stripped from a spending bill last week.
After members of the so-called “Squad” of House members led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., successfully threatened to oppose the bill that was needed to prevent a government shutdown, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced a standalone bill to provide the money for the system that has prevented countless casualties in Israel since its introduction in 2011.
“The United States’ commitment to the security of our friend and ally Israel is ironclad. Replenishing interceptors used to protect Israel from attacks is our legal and moral responsibility,” DeLauro said in a statement.
“While this funding would ordinarily be included in a year-end spending package, we are advancing this legislation now to demonstrate Congress’ bipartisan commitment to Israel’s security as part of a Middle East with lasting peace,” DeLauro continued, referencing how members of her party prevented the inclusion of the money in the larger spending bill, while insisting that Democrats as a whole still support Israel.
DeLauro was far from the only Democrat to speak out regarding the need to continue supporting Israel and the Iron Dome. House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he would bring the bill to the floor for a vote, calling it “urgently needed.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., also said she would work to ensure Congress continues to fund the Iron Dome.
“The Iron Dome is critical to Israel’s national security and livelihood. It saves lives, defends the entire nation from terror attacks, and I will do everything in my power to ensure it stays funded,” Maloney tweeted.
Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., a progressive who is often at odds with the Squad due to their differences regarding Israel, had sharp words directed at those who would oppose the Iron Dome.
“A missile defense system (i.e. Iron Dome) defends civilians from missiles. Hence the name. Only in a morally inverted universe would this be considered a ‘controversy,'” he said.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., called the Iron Dome “critical” and said it was “unacceptable” to delay the funding.
“The Iron Dome is critical to Israel’s safety and security, and directly tied to our safety and security,” Demings tweeted Tuesday. “Delays in funding are unacceptable. It should not be removed from this week’s bill and we should pass it immediately.”
Not long after DeLauro announced the new bill, Tlaib tweeted that she plans to vote against it, stating that she would not support “human rights abuses and apartheid government.”
Tlaib’s fellow Michigan Democrat, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, noted in a Tuesday Twitter thread that the “Iron Dome is a purely *defensive* system” that “protects civilians when hundreds of rockets are shot at population centers.” She went on to discuss the history of cooperation between the U.S. and Israel on the Iron Dome and the funding that has been in place for years.
“All of this is publicly-available information. So to target Iron Dome now means the issue isn’t a genuine concern over the system, but rather the desire to attack something – anything – related to the State of Israel; it’s devoid of substance and irresponsible,” she said.