“There was a reason why the Democratic Socialists Party of America earned a spot in Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Top 10 anti-Semites last year. Their brand of Socialism has no place for the Jewish State and they demonize anyone daring to support Israel.” –SWC
Foes of Israel consistently challenge U.S. military aid to Israel. For decades, they have used U.S. military assistance as a platform to castigate the Jewish state for “human rights abuses” against the Palestinians, ignoring Palestinian terrorism and rocket attacks aimed at the murder and maiming of Israeli civilians.
This anti-Israel campaign rose to new heights in recent months when a handful of Social Democrats of America (DSA), including Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan (also known as “the Squad”), moved to halt U.S. supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome.
In operation for the past ten years, the Iron Dome has been instrumental in saving countless civilian lives, by shooting down thousands of rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups. This past May, Hamas and Islamic Jihad shot over 4,369 rockets into Israel over a 12-day period, approximately as many as they launched during the 50-day conflict in 2014.
Over 1,500 directly targeted major population centers.
The Iron Dome was successful in preventing countless casualties, with more than 90 per cent of the rockets being shot down safely. Of the ten per cent that escaped the missile defense system, some tragically hit their target, causing twelve deaths.
The group of Israel-bashing progressives offered no meaningful argument against the Iron Dome funding other than that the vote was “too rushed” and didn’t allow for debate. The missile defense system has no offensive capabilities; its sole function is to eliminate rockets meant to kill innocent civilians, and therefore can’t by any stretch be defined as a “tool of the occupation” or other form of persecution.
The sole result of the left-wing opposition to the funding would be to give Hamas and Islamic Jihad a better chance to kill Israelis in the next war. The brutal reality is “that is what members in the House progressive caucus now stand for,” declared a NY Times op-ed.
The “Squad” succeeded, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s complicity, in stripping the $1 billion Iron Dome funding from a House Appropriations bill in September.
Although the House later overturned this act of malice by passing the bill in a different format with in an overwhelming bipartisan majority vote of 420-9, the actions of the Israel-hating congressmen left an impact.
“It would behoove Democrats in the honorable majority to start treating their Israel-hating members as the ill-intended bigots they well and truly are,” the NY Times op-ed wrote.
Perfidy In Democratic Socialist Ranks
In the meantime, an uproar broke out when it was revealed that one of the Squad’s members, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who unseated the long-running Rep. Eliot Engel last year, had switched his “no” vote to one supporting the Iron Dome funding.
For Bowman, whose district includes heavily Jewish Bronx and Jewish communities in Riverdale and Westchester, the move was no doubt about political expedience. But it drew outrage from his fellow DSA members who viewed it as an act of perfidy, particularly since they took credit for Bowman’s shocking victory over Engel. The former congressman was a 16-term liberal Democrat who been the powerful chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and one of Israel’s staunchest advocates.
In addition to voting for Iron Dome funding, Bowman did something even more unforgivable; he accepted an offer from J Street to accompany the group and five fellow congressmen on a trip to Israel, where they met Prime Minister Naftoli Bennet and other Israeli leaders, and toured parts of Judea and Samaria including Chevron.
Bowman took pictures with Palestinian children and gave statements to the media critical of Israel, demanding the “occupation” end.
J Street, which sponsored the whole extravaganza, is the far-left organization that poses as pro-Israel but foments anti-Israel passions on Capitol Hill and on American campuses. Its delegates speak effusively of their Jewish roots, and their love for Israel and desire to see Israel strong and secure. Behind this gas-lighting façade, however, the organization is engaged in promoting policies that endanger Israel’s existence and poison Americans against the Jewish state.
J Street lobbies for anti-Israel UN Security Council resolutions that condemn Israel, demand that Israel to retreat to indefensible pre-1967 “Auschwitz” lines, and seek to cut off the Jewish people from their holiest sites.
The organization supports UN resolutions that call for creating a Palestinian terrorist state that does not recognize Israel. J Street’s efforts to damage Israel – all under the guise of “peace efforts”—by wringing from the Jewish State ever more dangerous concessions to the Palestinians, has made it “one of the most virulent anti-Israel organizations in the history of Judaism,” noted renowned law professor Alan Dershowitz.
“J Street is an anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian lobby run by American Jews whose goal is to destroy the pro-Israel influence of the American Jewish community. . . . The tools it employs are demoralization and deceit,” wrote award-winning columnist Caroline Glick.
Former Prime Minister Netanyahu shunned the organization and its leaders. J Street’s meeting with Israeli leaders this month was its first such meeting in four years.
Meltdown Exposes DSA’s Anti-Israel Mania
J Street, for all its sinister activity, is not radical or anti-Israel enough for the Democratic Socialists of America. And Bowman’s statements to the media while in Israel, that “the occupation must end,” and later his harsh words about Israel’s “abuse of the right of Palestinian children,” did not go far enough for his fellow travelers in DSA.
One of the lynchpins of the DSA’s political platform is that its members must participate in a travel boycott of Israel. Other policies demand support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel; efforts to eliminate U.S. military aid to the Jewish State; and determination to fight the ‘normalization’ of relationships between the Israeli leadership and other governments.
Bowman’s violation of several of these fundamental rules triggered a meltdown in DSA’s headquarters. Shrill calls for “disciplining” him or punishing the congressman by withdrawing DSA endorsement in the next election, have come from DSA chapters in New York, Wisconsin, Portland and other cities.
The lurid accusations and unsparing retaliation expose the group’s fanaticism and detachment from reality.
The DSA’s Las Vegas chapter castigated Bowman for “directly supporting Israeli apartheid and endorsing Zionism” and condoning “the forced displacement, genocide, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.”
Portland’s chapter demanded disciplinary action. Madison, Wisconsin delegates demanded the organization’s leaders expel him.
“We dare them to do so;” wrote a Daily News op-ed. “It would expose the DSA as being motivated far more by animus toward the Jewish state than by its supposed mission of building ‘a more free, democratic and humane society.’”
Iron Dome Encounters Delays in Senate
Meanwhile, in a letter sent to the White House early this week, congressional Democrats and several Republicans call on President Joe Biden to push for the inclusion of $1 billion supplemental funding to help Israel replenish its Iron Dome stockpiles. The upcoming appropriations bill must be enacted before the end of the year.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J, led the effort to draft the letter and garnered signatures from 87 members of Congress. The letter warns of the fast-approaching appropriations deadline of Dec. 3. It also notes the launching of more than 4,000 missiles at civilian populations in Israel by the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization this past May.
“Although the attacks from Gaza may have halted for now, we remain clear-eyed about the threats Israel continues to face, not only from terrorists in Gaza but also from other terrorist organizations along its northern border,” the letter states. “We must ensure that the Iron Dome is equipped to protect Israel without the risk that it could be overwhelmed or its stockpile of interceptors depleted.”
The bill was blocked from passage in Senate by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who stated that he would not vote for the funding without its cost being offset by spending cuts elsewhere. He suggested re-appropriating foreign aid the Biden administration intends to provide to Afghanistan.
Five months ago, President Biden committed to helping to replace Iron Dome interceptors. But the funding, after passing the House, is currently stuck in the Senate. “This is a disturbing deviation in congressional support for Israel and portends greater future challenges,” writes The Hill.
When the House quickly passed a “stand-alone” Iron Dome funding bill, 420-9, many thought it proved the problem of opponents derailing the bill could be easily solved. But requiring a separate vote sets a dangerous precedent that delays the bill and risks derailing future Israel-related legislation, experts say.
“A stand-alone bill requires additional floor time, which is always in short supply and opens the door to amendments on unrelated policy issues by senators from both sides of the aisle. This further delays the process,” the article explained.
Folly of Trusting In the ‘Schumers’ of the World
The article noted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, has the responsibility and is uniquely positioned to navigate the legislative process to reach a successful outcome.
“To overcome Sen. Paul’s objections, Schumer – an Iron Dome supporter – could have held an immediate vote on this life-saving assistance. Instead, Schumer allowed the Senate to adjourn for 10 days,” the article noted. Why he failed to do so is unclear.
After Congress resumed sessions, Democrats proposed including Iron Dome funding in their 2022 defense appropriations bill, which will be taken up in the weeks to come. This bill may not pass quickly, or may not pass at all, leaving Iron Dome unfunded.
Military analysts say that more than 10,000 missiles likely remain in Gaza. Hezbollah’s 130,000 rockets and missiles are more powerful, precise, and long-range than those in Gaza and can be fired in much greater numbers.
“Large reserves of Iron Dome interceptors are needed to defend innocent Israelis against these threats. Their depletion in the recent fighting and the lack of timely replenishment could embolden Hamas, Hezbollah or even Iran as a vulnerability to exploit,” The Hill article pointed out.
Further delays in Congress or derailed funding of essential weapons systems as the Iron Dome and other military equipment already promised to Israel, could be disastrous, analysts say.
“Israel’s missile defense system saves not only Israeli but also Palestinian lives,” a New York Times op-ed noted. Without Iron Dome intercepting roughly 90 percent of incoming rockets and missiles, Israel would be forced to mount air and ground operations to stop rocket fire that would risk countless more Israeli and Palestinian lives.
Others have pointed out that after the recent Afghan disaster, which sowed doubt about America’s reliability to its partners and its standing as a global leader, it is ever more vital that Congress move expeditiously to uphold its commitment to a close ally and approve Iron Dome funding.
Firestorm Over Iron Dome
When Democratic Socialists in the House (the Squad) sought to cancel Iron Dome funding for Israel in September, several Republican congressmen accused Democratic party leaders of caving in to anti-Semitism. A number of Democratic congressman expressed disgust as well.
“This isn’t new funding, or unusual funding, or a precipitous increase in funding,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a (Jewish) Democrat from Michigan, noted after the move to block the aid to Israel. “So to target Iron Dome now isn’t a genuine concern over the system, but rather the desire to attack something – anything – related to the State of Israel.”
“Tragic. Dem leadership surrenders to the anti-Semitic Left,” wrote Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX.” They hate Israel so much that Dems are stripping $1 billion in funding for Iron Dome — a purely defensive system that protects countless innocent civilians from Hamas rockets. Will any Democrat have the courage to denounce?”
Congressman Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J, said that the system “protects innocent civilians in Israel from terrorist attacks and some of my colleagues have now blocked funding it. We must stand by our historic ally — the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-FL, said that the “Iron Dome is a defensive system used by one of our closest allies to save civilian lives. It needs to be replenished because thousands of rockets were fired by the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza. Consider this my pushing back against this decision.”
“Democrats just pulled funding from the Iron Dome — the missile defense system that has saved countless lives in Israel from Hamas’ rocket attacks,” House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, tweeted. “While Dems capitulate to the anti-Semitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.”
“The Iron Dome defends civilians from missiles,” commented Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-NY. “Only in a morally inverted universe would this be considered a ‘controversy.’”