The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 America Rabbis – applauds the United States House of Representatives for its landslide approval of a stand-alone bill to provide Israel with $1 billion for replenishing the Iron Dome missile-defense system. The House of Representatives approved the funding for Iron Dome by a landslide. This approval followed two days of contentious debate within the Democratic Party. The vote passed with an overwhelming 420-9 majority, with two Democrats – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Hank Johnson – effectively abstaining by voting “present.” Eight Democrats — Reps. Rashid Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Andre Carson, Marie Newman, Jesus Garcia, Raul Grivalva — and one Republican, Rep. Tom Massie, voted against. The bill is now headed to the Senate, which will need to approve it as well.
On Tuesday, the Democratic leadership had to remove the $1 billion provision from a continuing resolution amid pushback from Progressives. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that he would bring a suspension bill, which requires support from two-third of members, to approve the provision with support of members from both parties.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the bill on the House floor. “I rise in support of the Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act,” she said. “In May, during the latest period of increased violence between Israel and Hamas, more than 4,000 rockets were launched from Gaza. Using radar technology and missiles to track and destroy incoming rockets, the Iron Dome intercepted over 90% of the rockets that would have landed in civilian populated areas. This system, with help from Congress’s funding, saved thousands of lives in that month alone.”
“This funding is critical and time-sensitive,” said Kay Granger (R-Texas), the Appropriations Committee ranking member. “We must ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself in the face of real and growing threats,” she said. “Providing this funding sends an important message to Israel and those who wish them harm that the United States stands with Israel and against terrorists. We must reassure our allies that America will never turn its back on the great State of Israel.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “Iron Dome is a purely defensive system designed to safeguard all civilians living in Israel.”
Rep. Rashid Tlaib (D-Michigan) called the Israeli government an “apartheid regime,” and announced she would oppose the bill. “I will not support an effort to enable and support war crimes, human rights abuses and violence. We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system,” she said.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tennessee) strongly denounced Tlaib’s remarks. “We heard right now from my colleague across the aisle a shocking statement. She opposes this because they have a vocal minority in the majority party that is anti-Israel. That is antisemitic, and as Americans, we can never stand for that.
“I reach out to the majority and I say, condemn what we just heard on the floor, condemn terrorism. This is a defensive weapon system. Stop playing your procedural games,” Fleischmann added.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida) rejected Tlaib’s comments, as well. “I cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish democratic state of Israel an apartheid state. I reject it,” he said. “Today, the House of Representatives will overwhelmingly stand with our ally, the State of Israel, in replenishing this defensive system. If you believe in human rights, if you believe in saving lives, Israeli lives and Palestinian lives, I say to my colleague who just besmirched our ally, then you will support this legislation.
“We could have an opportunity to debate lots of issues on the House floor, but to falsely characterize the State of Israel is consistent with those who advocate for the dismantling of the one Jewish state in the world. And when there is no place on the map for one Jewish state, that’s the antisemitism. And I reject that,” Deutch continued. “I stand in support of this important legislation.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America (RAA) stated, “the RAA applauds this important bi-partisan, declaration that the safety and security of Israel is sacred to the United States of America and that the American-Israeli friendship remains strong. This crucial emergency funding is essential. Israel needs the Iron Dome to defend against terrorists whose sole agenda is the elimination of Israel. Without this funding, Israel would be forced to take military action to stop the constant missile attacks against civilians. This military action would result in tragic loss of life. With the approval of this bill, the House of Representatives has stood up for innocent civilians against terrorism.
“It is particularly troubling that some members of Congress are giving voice to anti-Semitism by falsely identifying Israel as an apartheid state. Such inaccurate, blatant falsehoods are irresponsible. They not only dangerously miscategorize and demonize Israel, and not only hurt chances for peace in the Middle East and around the world, they place the safety of Jewish civilians around the world in jeopardy. While the RAA applauds and appreciates the overwhelming support for Israel’s security needs among members of the United States House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle, the RAA calls upon Speaker Pelosi to take all necessary measures to reign in these renegade members of Congress who spread anti-Semitic lies. If need be, Speaker Pelosi should remove them from their committee assignments to send a clear and resounding message that irresponsible and dangerous comments which place Jewish Americans in harm’s way will not be tolerated. The path to lasting peace in the Middle East does not lie with tolerance of anti-Semitism among U.S. legislators. It is high time that corrective measures are taken.”