House overwhelmingly approves Iron Dome funding in 420-9 vote

This week House progressives were able to temporarily hold up an additional $1 billion to Israel that had been tacked onto the short-term government spending bill to replenish the country’s Iron Dome system.

The victory ended up being short-lived, as Iron Dome spending was split into a separate vote by pro-Israel Dems and passed easily in the House. The final vote was 420-9 with 2 present.

The funding’s removal had sparked widespread congressional backlash on both sides of the aisle. The vote seemed to catch progressive House members in disarray, as some of lawmakers associated with the funding’s initial removal ended up voting for the legislation.

The No votes belonged to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) , Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).

Not among the No votes: NY Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted present; while Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), all of whom have been critical of Israel, voted Yes.

The Israeli Prime Minister thanked the House shortly after the vote:

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, this evening: “Thank you, members of the US House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, for the overwhelming support for Israel and for the commitment to its security.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said that they support replenishing Iron Dome. Israel currently receives $3.8 billion in military aid from the U.S. every year.

Senator Kamala Harris visits an Iron Dome missile defense battery in Israel, November 2017. (Photo: Office of Kamala Harris)
Senator Kamala Harris visits an Iron Dome missile defense battery in Israel, November 2017. (Photo: Office of Kamala Harris)

“We cannot only be talking about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and our dying from what Human Rights Watch have said are war crimes,” said Rep. Tlaib in a speech on the House floor. “We should also be talking about the Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks. We must be consistent in our commitment to human life.”

Tlaib also said that Israel precipitated the Gaza conflict of last May when it attacked worshipers at Al Aqsa mosque.

The Israeli government is an apartheid regime. Not my words, the words of Human Rights Watch and Israel’s own human rights watch organization B’Tselem.

Ted Deutch of Florida rose to deny the charge. “I cannot allow a colleague… to label the Jewish Democratic state of Israel an apartheid state. I reject it.” He said such characterizations are “consistent with those who advocate for the dismantling of the one Jewish state in the world.. When there’s no place on the map for one Jewish state, that’s antisemitism.”

Brad Schneider of Illinois signalled the overwhelming support for the measure and promoted Israel:

America’s commitment to Iron Dome is rock solid. Today’s vote will make that clear—in spite of some on both sides of the aisle who seek to make Israel and our unyielding support of the U.S. Israel relationship a wedge issue. There are so many reasons for hope in the region. Israel has a new government with the broadest imaginable governing coalition including Arab parties. Israelis and Palestinians are talking to each other again.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries voted for the extra $1 billion for Israel and also voted on behalf of Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) in favor. Screenshot from CSPAN Sept. 23, 2021.

The young Jewish group IfNotNow responded angrily to Deutch’s speech:

This is a perfect example of anti-Palestinian racism in American politics. How dare Rep. Deutch tell a Palestinian woman what she is and isn’t allowed to call the oppression and dispossession that Palestinians have endured through Israeli policies. It’s apartheid.

Writes Jehad Abusalim of AFSC of the deliberations:

The level of dehumanization of Palestinians, of Gaza, by Democrats and Republicans alike, and the amount of misinformation and misrepresentation of reality is just mind-boggling. They talk about Gaza as if Gaza was this superpower that could eliminate a nuclear state with state-of-the-art military and surveillance technology. There’s no mention of how Gaza ended up in the place where it is today. Palestinians are constantly deprived of context. Gaza is treated as this mysterious place, full of darkness and violence, where terrorism reigns. There’s no mention of how the modern-day Gaza Strip was created in 1948 due to the Nakba. There was no mention of how 2.2 million Palestinians are trapped in a “Strip” of land because the majority of them were expelled by Israel in 1948. Palestinians in Gaza come from 50 towns and villages Israel destroyed in 1948.

So where are the Palestinian voices in mainstream media?

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