The United States Must Stand By Its Commitments To Assist Israel's Iron Dome
The recent furor in Congress over the allocation of funds to enable Israel to replenish and maintain its Iron Dome defense system is alarming and disturbing. Rather than stand by Israel, our ally and the only truly pluralistic nation in the Middle East, House leadership allowed themselves to be bullied by the radical Left in Congress into turning their backs on our longtime friend.
America’s longstanding commitment to Israeli security is a necessity – Israel is the only truly democratic nation in the Middle East. It guarantees freedom of religion and equality under the law for all its people. For this commitment, for its desire to foster a pluralistic society in the homeland of the Jewish people, Israel constantly finds itself under the threat of attack. We saw this most recently in the spring of 2021, when Israel was attacked by Palestinian terror groups, most notably Hamas, for more than two weeks. Hamas fired rockets at Israeli civilians, and those civilians were saved by Israel’s Iron Dome system, which shoots down missiles aimed at the Israeli people before they can wreak the intended devastation. The fully operational capabilities of the Iron Dome are essential to maintaining the safety of Israel and stability in the region. It was this defensive capability that Democrats voted against.
The United States plays a crucial part in this – our annual funding helps Israel maintain and replenish its Iron Dome supply. This keeps Israeli civilians safe and also keeps Palestinians safe by preventing conflicts, such as the one earlier this year, from escalating into full-on war. If the missiles launched by Palestinian terror groups back in May had found their intended targets, thousands of Israelis would be dead, a catastrophe demanding a severe military response from Israel. We likely would still be reading headlines today about the war that would have resulted. Instead, war did not come. Lives were saved.
That’s why it is irrational for Congress to have even considered removing funds intended for the Iron Dome from this year’s budget. On Tuesday, September 21, Democrats stripped from their government funding bill the $1 billion earmarked for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. This flies in the face of our commitments and unnecessarily hurts our relationship with Israel. And it signifies a severe shift within the Democrat party away from our most important ally in the Middle East.
This does not reflect a sudden embrace of fiscal responsibility by Democrats; you will recall that the size of the bill of which this funding was originally a part totaled $6 trillion. No, this reflects a growing antisemitism within the Democratic party, particularly that of its progressive wing. House leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reaffirmed after the outcry of cutting the aid that the funding would come later in a separate, stand-alone funding bill; and that did happen on Thursday, September 23, bringing liberal progressives, like AOC, literally to tears. But Pelosi and the rest of her party’s leadership caved to the radical progressive wing of their party on the subject. These progressives seemingly prefer to see Palestinian terror groups kill Israeli civilians with their rockets – to see the region devolve into chaos and war. They want to see the State of Israel as it exists today destroyed. We cannot allow such a calamity to occur – it’s why the Trump Administration’s commitment to Israel was always ironclad. That commitment fostered peace, not war, throughout the region.
Recently in a meeting with Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, President Biden reiterated the same security commitments which the Trump Administration had in place, saying that “I fully, fully, fully support replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome system.” But the actions of this past week signal the opposite and growing anti-Israel sentiment in the ranks of Biden’s own party. It is inexcusable for our President to make such a commitment, only to see Members of his own party in Congress erase that commitment and stab our ally in the back. It is inexcusable for the Left to condone the growing antisemitic attitudes within their party, and it should alarm us when they actually allow these attitudes to have an impact on vital policy decisions like this one. This is not a matter of whether the funding eventually was granted in a separate bill. This is about calling out an extremely troubling trend towards antisemitism within the Left. If the leaders of their party will not hold them accountable, then that responsibility must fall to the American people.
At the ACLJ, we are dedicated to defending Israel’s interests – on Capitol Hill, at the U.N., before the International Criminal Court, and through our office in Jerusalem, Israel. In fact, we recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Biden Administration over its violation of the Taylor Force Act and renewal of funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA) even as it continues its “Pay for Slay” blood money payments to terrorists. I detailed the shocking betrayal of both Israel and our own service members in a piece I co-wrote with one of the Act’s key architects and Stuart Force, the father of American veteran Taylor Force who was killed by Palestinian terrorists while the terrorist’s family received “Pay for Slay” payments from the PA. We must always defend our ally Israel and never capitulate to terrorists.