On Tuesday, Majority Leader Hoyer attempted to slip this huge appropriation into the continuing resolution. After an outcry from progressive Representatives, the funding was taken out. AJP Action applauds the principled Representatives who led the charge against this opaque and extravagant additional funding for Israel. However, Majority Leader Hoyer pledged to bring a stand-alone version of the bill to the floor this week under suspension.
Here are some reasons why we hope that Representatives will vote no or present on additional weapons funding for Israel:
1. Israel already receives $3.8 billion in taxpayer-funded weapons each year, an amount greater than all other countries in the world combined. Already included in this funding is $500 million for missile defense systems like Iron Dome. This package of offensive and defensive weapons makes the United States complicit in Israel’s brutal apartheid and settler-colonial rule over the Palestinian people, a situation which would be exacerbated by additional weapons. In addition, prioritizing additional weapons funding to a human rights abusing regime instead of prioritizing human needs for health care, climate change, affordable housing, and other domestic priorities is an affront to peoples’ needs.
2. Some Members of Congress argue that Iron Dome batteries are solely defensive in nature. This is not true. While Iron Dome batteries are more than 90 percent successful in shooting down incoming rockets and missiles, they also further skew the military balance further in Israel’s direction and embolden Israel to conduct offensive operations. By providing effective cover for only one side–while Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have no similar system to protect themselves against the much more sophisticated and deadly arsenal of US missiles in Israel’s possession–US funding for Iron Dome further implicates the United States in the Israeli human rights abuses and war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip.
3. Rushing through an additional $1 billion in weapons for Israel would dramatize how Congress is concerned with Israeli lives only and unconcerned with Palestinian lives. This bill would be coming to the floor under suspension without any input from civil society or committee deliberation. Meanwhile, the Rules Committee ruled out of order an amendment to the NDAA which would have suspended the delivery to Israel of $735 million in Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). Israel used JDAMs to target civilian homes and kill dozens of Palestinian civilians in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City in May 2021. So while Congress provides Israel with an additional $1 billion in weapons, Members are simultaneously prevented from even debating the merits of providing a specific type of weapon to Israel implicated in the killing of Palestinian civilians in apparent violation of US laws. This double standard highlights the devaluation of Palestinian life in Congressional priorities.