Dr Mike Evans

US Republicans blast Democrats over lack of Iron Dome support

The US House of Representatives strongly voted in favor of supporting funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defensive anti-missile system, but that didn’t stop conservative leaders from pointing out certain Democrats for seeking to cut funding.

Tennessee Republican Rep. Chuck Fleishmann spoke against Minnesota Democrat Rashida Tlaib’s remarks in his Thursday speech. “I grew up with Holocaust survivors,” Fleischmann noted. “I grew up with children of Holocaust survivors. Israel has been attacked and attacked and attacked since its inception.

“As Americans, I beseech you: I reach out to the majority and I say, condemn what we just heard on the floor. Condemn terrorism. This is a defensive weapons system. Stop playing your procedural games. I hear commit, recommit. It was a motion to recommit.

“You just saw something on this floor I thought I would never see,” Fleischmann asserted. “Not only as a member of this House, but as an American. Let us stand with Israel. Let’s combat antisemitism wherever it is in the world.”

Tlaib had spoken against support for the Iron Dome, saying the policy would “enable and support war crimes.” The congresswoman also referred to “apartheid Israel” and said, “We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and are dying from what Human Rights Watch has said are war crimes.”

Fleischmann’s words won out, as House Democrats later voted overwhelmingly in support of a separate bill funding Israel’s Iron Dome. It awaits approval from the Senate. The missile defense system has served as a critical tool to protect civilians from rocket attacks from Hamas and others targeting innocent human lives.

Despite the House’s positive vote, the conflict revealed a tiny but worrisome element within the Democratic Party that seeks to accuse Israel of “war crimes.” Though a small voice within Congress, the view of Tlaib and those with her highlight the ongoing need to oppose antisemitism even with the American government.

The vote passed 420-9, with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreeing to the legislation. Israel has received $1.65 billion for the Iron Dome through 2020. The additional $1 billion in funding was promised by President Joe Biden to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on the latter’s recent visit to the White House.

It is meant to replenish Israel’s stocks of defensive missile interceptors that were depleted during the May Hamas bombardments of Israeli civilians by more than 4,000 deadly rockets. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it will likely also pass. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already signaled he will support passage of the funding.

Israel and America remain strong allies, as the ongoing Iron Dome support shows. However, the support among governing leaders in the US is no longer unanimous, as Tlaib and certain other “progressive” Democrats have shown.