Republican lawmakers are slamming Democrats after House leadership moved to defund Israel’s Iron Dome on Tuesday — calling out the move as Democrats “[capitulating] to the antisemitic influence of their radical members.”
Spearheaded by the “Squad” of far-left lawmakers, which includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the House moved to cut $1 billion in funding for Israel’s missile defense system from a short-term government funding bill.
Republicans in the House and Senate immediately blasted the decision, suggesting the defunding was a betrayal of Israel.
“President Biden proclaimed to our allies that ‘America is back,’ but since then he has abandoned Americans & allies in Afghanistan, weakened our relationship with France, and now his Party has let down Israel — our closest ally in the Middle East.” Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) tweeted.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed his sentiments, promising Republicans would stand with the Middle Eastern country.
“While Dems capitulate to the antisemitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.” McCarthy wrote.
The House Republicans’ official twitter account shared McCarthy’s tweet and emphasized that promise saying “House Democrats choose radical Islamic terrorists over our ally Israel.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that he was “appalled” by the Democrats’ move.
“Just a few months ago, Israel was attacked by over 4,000 rockets launched by Hamas,” he said. “The Iron Dome saved lives and helped limit civilian casualties during this terrifying escalation. There is strong bipartisan support to supply our friend and ally Israel with the tools to defend itself against future threats and I would urge Democrat leaders to reconsider this dangerous decision.”
In the Senate, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) said the progressives’ push to remove the funding disregards Israel’s “right to defend itself against Hamas terrorists.”
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fl) called out Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib specifically, saying the move “will put Israel in danger & will further embolden countries that wish to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth.” Donalds also called on his supporters and Twitter users to stand with Israel.
The decision to remove the funding came the same day as President Biden’s promise to the UN that the US would commit to strengthening relationships with their allies, particularly with Israel.
“We must seek a future of greater peace and security for all the people of the Middle East,” Biden said during the UN General Assembly. “The commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is without question. And a support — our support for an independent, Jewish state is unequivocal.”
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga) pointed to the inconsistency between the president’s vow and the Democrats’ move.
“President Biden today: ‘The commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is without question…’ Speaker Pelosi JUST caved to the socialists and yanked funding for Israel’s Iron Dome from the government funding CR bill. Dems can’t even keep a promise for 24 hours.”
Democrats have also been met with backlash from within their own party, particularly among moderate members, who have slammed their progressive colleagues and their anti-Israel stance. Some pointed out that the Iron Dome is not an offensive weapon but rather a defense mechanism meant to shield civilians from rocket attacks by Islamist militant groups.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has worked at the Pentagon and the CIA, tweeted that removing the funding language from the legislation was “devoid of substance and irresponsible.”
“Iron Dome is a purely *defensive* system — it protects civilians when hundreds of rockets are shot at population centers,” she wrote. “Whatever your views on the Israeli-Pal[estinian] conflict, using a system that just saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives as a political chit is problematic.”
Slotkin pointed out that the $1 billion removed wasn’t new or unusual funding.
“All of this is publicly-available information,” she added. “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.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), a leading centrist, echoed Slotkin’s sentiments.
“The Iron Dome protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it,” Gottheimer tweeted. “We must stand by our historic ally — the only democracy in the Middle East.”