Iron Dome Vote Rammed Down Throats of House Democrats After Pressure from Israeli Foreign Minister
It remains something of a mystery to me why Alexandria Ocasio Cortez changed her vote on $1-billion Iron Dome funding from No to Present at the last minute (only nine stalwart members bucked the tide to vote No). Even after reading her message to constituents apologizing for it, I remain confused. She does, in this statement, recount that she received threats and “hateful targeting” and implies that this was at least part of her consideration. But The Squad routinely faces this sort of vitriol. Not that this is acceptable or excusable. But using it as a reason for betraying your principles, seems unpersuasive.
Others have speculated on social media that she is considering a run for Senate and her vote was meant to mollify New York’s pro-Israel Jewish constituency. But again, I don’t see how this vote switch reduces the hostility she will face from them when and if she does run. When you are an unabashed progressive it’s impossible to run away from your commitments. Unless you’re prepared to morph into a centrist as Barack Obama did in the course of his presidency. I sincerely hope AOC doesn’t pursue that route.
Another tweet suggested that NY State Democrats who control Congressional redistricting are contemplating adding a heavily Jewish district to her current one, which would make it much more competitive for a Lobby-supported challenger.
NYC is redistricting and they’re trying to put Ridgewood (I think?), a highly Jewish neighborhood in her district. It seems like AIPAC is cracking the whip on the NY state house. I mean it’s shitty she gave in but I feel bad for her crying because her arm is being twisted.
— balls on SWOLE (@PANTHER_CLAWS) September 24, 2021
There is a hint of the pressure exerted on her and her supporters by the Lobby in this passage from her apology statement:
The damage of this careless process created very real spillover effects into our community. It created a real sense of panic and horror among those in our community who otherwise engage thoughtfully in these discussions, and fueled the discussion to devolve to a point where it became clear that this vote would risk a severe devolution of the good faith community fabric that allows us to responsibly join in a struggle for human rights and dignity everywhere – from Palestine to The Bronx and Queens. In short, the rush of this vote into a matter of hours was threatening to tear our community apart, and permanently close the doors that we desperately need open in order to progress.
I’m guessing that not only did AOC herself face pressure, but that the Lobby got to some of her key supporters, donors and constituents, who themselves threatened to withhold support from her. The key italicized phrase notes that her No vote would have somehow damaged the intersectional struggle for justice that bonded Palestine with the South Bronx. I interpret this as pressure brought to bear against her by the Lobby in the form of threats from within the Bronx’s largely Hispanic community.
Here she also alludes to the tens of thousands of messages supporting the Israeli funding measure almost certainly ginned up by the Lobby:
To those who asked me to quell the volatility of this moment in our community, which constituted the majority of constituent feedback our office received – I hope we can take this moment and opportunity to more deeply engage in and grow a true, substantive movement of community support for human rights around the world – which includes cherishing and respecting the human rights of Palestinian people.
I wrote a recent post documenting thousands of e mails flooding the offices of the Burlington city council opposing a BDS resolution. They were generated by the Israeli American Council and follow the same scenario.
Though her apology is what led this NY Times article, it was another nugget buried near the end which was equally important. Though AOC begged leadership to delay a vote, Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi’s capo di tutti, refused. Why? Because Israeli foreign minister, Yair Lapid, got on the phone and pressured him to hold an immediate vote to restore funding:
His maneuver appeared to be intended to calm Israeli officials, who had watched the dispute with alarm.
Hoyer apparently told a big fib to the Israeli official in order to remove some of the sting related to the progressive-Democratic committee revolt, which defeated the Iron Dome funding:
שוחחתי הערב עם סטני הוייר, מנהיג הרוב בבית הנבחרים ביחס לסיוע האמריקאי למערכת כיפת ברזל.
בשיחה עלה כי מדובר בדחייה טכנית שנבעה מהויכוח בקונגרס סביב תקרת הגירעון בתקציב האמריקאי.
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid🟠 (@yairlapid) September 21, 2021
Lapid’s tweet reads:
I spoke this evening with Steny Hoyer…concerning the American funding for Iron Dome. He assured me the defeat [in committee] arose from an argument in Congress about the budget ceiling.
‘Budget ceiling’ my a*!
Though the article does not mention this, pressure also would have been mustered not only by Aipac, but also by its wealthiest Democratic Jewish donors. They would have pulled out all the stops to rectify the embarrassing (for them) committee vote which had rejected the Iron Dome allocation.
That vote marked the first time that any Congressional body had rejected a military aid package for Israel. Had it not been reversed, it would have been a debacle for the Israel Lobby, which prides itself on its invulnerability.
But the major news here is that Israel intervened in US domestic political affairs to cajole, wheedle and threaten Democratic leaders on its own behalf. This proves once again that Democrats are creatures of the Lobby. They are beholden to it and take marching orders from it. They are frightened of their own shadow when it comes to standing up to it. Similarly, it shows that Israel’s agents in this country, including Aipac and all other Israel Lobby groups, are agents of a foreign power and should be forced to register as such.
The “Iron Dome Saves Lives” Hasbara Hoax
A few words on Iron Dome itself. Supporters argue it is purely a defensive weapon. That’s a misnomer. In reality, Iron Dome facilitates Israeli military adventurism. Khaled Elgindy argues:
…A strong case can be made that by minimizing Israeli casualties and economic disruption, Iron Dome essentially provides Israel a “cushion” that enables it to keep on bombing until its leaders are satisfied they’ve achieved their military objectives — the highly subjective and ever-elusive aim of “restoring its deterrent.” Simply put, the less cost Israel pays, whether in human, material, or political terms, the less incentive it has to hold back militarily or to “sue for peace” via diplomacy.
Netanyahu knew when he provoked Palestinian worshippers at Haram al Sharif during a Muslim holy festival by beating them as they left prayers, that there could be no consequences. When Hamas threatened to launch an attack in response to the Israeli anti-Muslim violence, Bibi knew the missiles would be useless because of Iron Dome. It allowed him to tell Israeli police to riot among the Palestinian population. It, in effect, provoked the war that resulted in May in which 250 Palestinians were murdered. So don’t tell me Iron Dome is defensive. It’s part and parcel of the Israeli war machine. Without it, to stifle Palestinian rocket attacks Israel would have to conduct a ground invasion to root out the missile launchers. With it, it can sit back and let them fly because it knows most will be destroyed before doing any damage.
Iron Dome encourages Israel to refuse to compromise on a peace agreement. It insulates it from consequences of its rejectionism and promotes the rancid status quo in which Israelis and Palestinians will continue to die indefinitely. Elgindy again:
…This raises a more fundamental question of whether an ostensibly defensive weapon like Iron Dome–when used in the service of maintaining Israel’s occupation or its ongoing blockade of Gaza, or simply to allow Israeli leaders to indefinitely defer a political settlement–still qualifies as defensive. In the end, regardless of where one stands on the current controversy, there is simply no evidence to support the claim that Iron Dome saves Palestinian lives or even mitigates violence. In reality, it is more likely to have cost Palestinian lives by deepening an already vastly asymmetrical conflict and extending Israel’s ability to defer a political settlement indefinitely.
Let’s conduct a thought experiment: if the US truly wanted peace between Israel and Palestine in addition to Iron Dome it would furnish defensive weapons to the Palestinians so they could defend themselves as well from Israeli attack. The fact that we only defend one side speaks volumes about our true values. We militarize Israel and promote its worst impulses while leaving Palestinians naked and vulnerable to the worst Israel has to offer, which includes our own weapons.
31 thoughts on “Iron Dome Vote Rammed Down Throats of House Democrats After Pressure from Israeli Foreign Minister – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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No mystery to me. AOC is emotionally fragile, and probably unfit to hold office.
And how to describe the rest of ‘The Squad’, those national leaders who’d deny Israel, America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East, a strictly defensive weapon system like Iron Dome?
I’d describe them as unreliable, myopic and blinded by hate.
@ Sonic: That’s misogynist bullshit. No misogyny here. Watch your step.
Iron Dome is not “defensive.” In fact, it protects Israel from its own excesses and military adventurism. If it had no Iron Dome it would have to suffer extensive losses every time it tried to stop a missile. It would not be able to treat Gaza like a punching bag. Iron Dome promotes war, it doesn’t prevent it.
I absolutely reject your hate smear. You will not use my comment threads to propagate your disgusting lies. Opposing $30-billion in unnecessary military aid to Israel is not “hate.” It is adherence to progressive values. It is a rejection of perpetual war in the Middle East. It is an embrace of justice for Palestine.
Your comment disgusted me. You are now moderated. If you want to peddle misogyny and racism against The Squad, you’ll do it elsewhere.
I said that AOC is ’emotionally fragile’, and you call me a misogynist! ROFL!
You’re the misogynist for equating frail emotions to women, something I didn’t do.
Time you woke up to your deep and longstanding prejudices.
I did not lie about The Squad. I expressed my opinion, which you’ve now banned. Banning expressions of opinion is the antithesis of ‘progressive’.
The Squad’s effort to strip away Israel’s only defense against terrorist rockets and missiles, would only endanger Palestinians in the long run as Israel would have to employ more lethal means to halt terrorist attacks. Iron Dome has not and cannot be used to hurt Palestinians and the Squad’s inability to see this shows how ill informed and short-sighted they are.
I have now problem with a Congressman or Congresswoman voting down Israeli military aid because the United States budget can’t afford it right now.
I do have a problem when Congressmen or Congresswomen want to deny vital aid to Israel, while at the same time, fully supporting boycotting Israel out of existence. The Squad’s animus towards Israel is unreasonable, contrary to America’s interests and suggests an irrational hate of Israel as well.
And BTW, Richard, you are one of the most hate-filled people I’ve ever come across, and hate is ugly.
@ Sonic: Criticizing a woman for crying is a misogynist “tell,” and what you did. Women have been accused of hysteria (the word derives from the Greek word for “womb”) and emotional fragility for ages. It’s yet another misogynist trope. Yes, you are a misogynist. Though I suppose you may have more sympathy for Israeli women, since they’re part of your own tribe. But you probably hold similarly demeaning views fo them too.
You certainly did associate “women” with emotional fragility. AOC is a woman, hence you used a tired misogynist trope to demean her. News flash: you don’t have to equate all women with emotional fragility to be a misogynist. It’s a nasty habit you won’t get away with here.
Exactly right, & 2 things would happen: hundreds of IDF soldiers would be killed due to ground invasion of Gaza. And if Israel engaged in mass slaughter in Gaza, then it would earn the opprobrium of the world & bring the day closer for global sanctions and a forced peace agreement.
As for Israel’s “only defense” against rockets: it has a perfect defense: a peace agreement, which it refuses to negotiate. And if it refuses this, it still could stop engaging in deliberate provocation of Palestinians as it did before May’s attacks on Gaza. Iron Dome prevents Israel from suffering any consequences for its aggressive behavior. It promotes war and death on both sides, but especially on the Palestinian side.
The US has enormous problems that need address. Offering Israel $30 billion in military aid only makes death and slaughter in the Middle East worse, and prevents us from addressing a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a thousand other criticial issues. We can’t afford and should not fuel the Israeli perpetual war machine.
The Squad doesn’t “hate” Israel. This is an offensive calumny. And its criticism of Israel is by no means “irrational.” It is well-founded. Even shared by 25% of American Jews who declare that Israel is an “apartheid state.” I suppose all 25% of us “hate Israel” too? 1.5-million American Jews hate Israel, right? This is yet another attempt to smear critics by claiming hysteria and mental imbalance.
You have again violated the comment rules by offering lies and insults. You are now banned.
I don’t hate Israel you ass. I hate injustice and mass murder. To that I plead “guilty.”
@Richard – “forced peace agreement” don’t work – see the end of WW1 with a forced capitulation and “peace” agreement extracted from Germany.
@ Alex: Sure they do. NATO forced a peace agreement on Serbia to end its genocide. The Rwandan genocide was ended by force. Israel was founded by force. The US was founded by force. WWII was ended by force which defeated Japan and Germany, who are now among the most successful countries in the world. South African apartheid ended because whites were forced to accept its end. The same with the white regime in then-Rhodesia. You have a highly selective view of history.
“only democratic ally in the Middle East” …?? laugh. that’s extreme disinfo right there. Israel not even a democracy for Jews.
Oh, and BTW, regarding redistricting AOC’s Congressional District, Ridgewood, Queens has no Jews and never did.
Were there any Jews living there, Ridgewood doesn’t even share a border with the 14th C.D.
Anyone is welcome to fact check me.
@ Sonic: AOC’s district borders Williamsburg with hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents.
More wrong information for failure to fact check.
AOC’s borders Greenpoint, not Williamsburg.
When did you live in New York City?
@ Sonic: I carefully checked her district map and East Williamsburg borders her district (see map below):
There are 0ver 60,000 Jews living in Greenpoint (which also borders her district) and Williamsburg. That’s 10% of the size of her current district population and would entail a massive change in the demographic composition of the district. Also, according to census figures, 4% of the population of Ridgewood is Jewish. So much for your claim there are no Jews in Ridgewood and never have been.
I was born in NYC, lived there for the first 2 yrs of my life and went to college for 5 yrs in NYC. Also worked for UJA Federation of NY for 3 yrs. Stop being an idiot.
Funding the Iron Dome translates into the US supporting the occupation which is not static. Whatever is said here and there with regard to the conflict regarding ending it with two states, or whatever, means absolutely nothing because bupkis is happening, has been happening, and we can guess, will not happen.The resistance is legitimate here and in Israel/Palestine. The Dome helps creeping facts on the ground, Israeli impunity, and quiet (“normalcy”) internally. All Israeli’s seem to want is quiet. But when there is quiet (and presumably less justification for the occupation according to international law), Palestinians still lose.
You previously wrote a post stating that the iron dome is actually ineffective and the alleged success is propoganda of Israeli hasbara – so is it or isn’t it effective in preventing missiles from damaging?
@ Shai: MIT’s Prof. Ted Postol said that Iron Dome had a success rate much lower than what the iDF claimed. That was eight years ago. I assume that given eight years the IDF improved the targeting and success rate of Iron Dome.
I remind you that there were even instances since 2014 in which Iron Dome failed and missiles struck Israeli targets. Whatever its success rate, it fails. And Hamas has found ways to time a flurry of rockets which also causes Iron Dome to fail. So don’t get too much of a swelled head over this.
True also of the S-series and Pantsir defenses versus IAF aggression (Israel’s war) in Syria. Due to Russia’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel — which I write about in an upcoming article — Russia has prevented the S200, S300 and S400 air defenses from targeting US iF35 + other Israeli warplanes since July 2018. However, the S-series air defense versus Israeli missiles and drones is much improved since 2015… to the point where Israel’s air aggression v Syria has recently been forced to decline. (Especially after the loss of Daraa where AMAN Unit 8200 had a “secret” listening base there, now thankfully gone.) Likewise Syria will deploy S-series air defenses closer to the illegally occupied Golan, illegally annexed by the militant extremist regime since 1982. Ooops…! 1982 was the year of Israel’s invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon — Golan was illegally annexed by Nile-to-Euphrates extremists in 1981.
Why should USA be paying still billions for Israel to replenish and develop a rather poorly functioning and expensive short range missile defence system. Pentagon did not want to buy more of these Iron Dome systems, because Israel did not give enough details to integrate this system with other missile defence systems. It is laughable that Israelis demand USA to pay lion share of this system development, but do not allow Americans to fully use something they are paying.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries have tried to sell the system to numerous countries for many years. With a miserable success. If Iron Dome would be such a super weapon system Israelis portray it to be, many armies to which it has been presented and offered would have bought it, because there is real need for such “systems”. Not even Pentagon wants more and is planing to give those it has to Ukraine.
Using $100,000–150,000 per interception when the cost of the target is $1,000 or under it is not very “clever”. Only if stupid Americans pay it for Israeli companies (with a wealthy profit margin) it makes sense (and earnings) for Israelis.
I’m currently one of AOC’s constituents, living in the Bronx for six months as a Fulbright Scholar. Like you (and as a supporter of the Palestinian cause) I was also mystified by her vote. Your post has helped me understand it a bit more, so thanks for that. But there are still two things troubling me. First, why didn’t she, or anyone else I’ve seen comment on the issue, raise the I would have thought obvious point, that if the US wants to provide Israel with a “defensive” shield, while claiming to be sympathetic to Palestine/want peace etc. why does it not also provide Gaza with the dome? But I suppose the harder question is where you/re heading as a politician if you’re prepared to compromise your principles on something like this? I have had a lot of respect for AOC and like you, I hope this is not a slippery slope. But in truth, there are far bigger challenges ahead (including this week with the various infrastructure packages) and I’m worried that if she caves on this, she’ll cave again. I hope I’m wrong.
@Glyn: I added a section to the post about offering Palestine defensive weapons to balance the so-called defensive weapons the US offers Israel. We were thinking along the same lines.
AOC has stumbled during interviews on Israel-Palestine. While she knows in her heart what is the right progressive view, she tries to balance that against what she fears the wider public is willing/able to hear. She can’t navigate this chasm well and it showed in her decision on the vote.
I don’t think you have to worry about how she will vote on any other issue. On most domestic issues the majority of Americans agree with her progressive appraoh. But on Israel-Palestine, the public hasn’t yet adopted a fully progressive stance. So she’s ahead of the public. There are ways to approach this without totally alienating the public. But she hasn’t gotten that down yet. I hope she will.
iron dome is a defensive weapon, and it actually saves Palestinian lives. Picture a situation where there is no iron dome and Hamas or Hizbollah shoot thousands of rockets into Israel and kill hundreds of people, destroy infrastructure, industry, creating havoc. The Israeli government would be forced to retaliate in force with many Arab casualties. Since Israel is hiding behind the iron dome, the government can usually respond with lukewarm measures, shooting some sand dunes and not really harming the shooters.
@ David Allon: Read the friggin’ post for God’s sake. I spent 500 words re butting precisely this argument. And you either never bothered tor read it or deliberately ignored it. If you want to comment here, I demand the respect of you reading the post BEFORE you comment.
Hamas has never killed or even injured hundreds of Israelis via rocket strikes. It’s rockets are not guided and are primitive. Your hypothetical is based on entirely false, invented premises. Without Iron Dome, Israel would have to launch ground invasions every time it wished to stop rockets. This would cause hundreds of IDF casualties. That in turn would caution Israel from its wildest, most aggressive military behavior. It would suppress military activity, not increase it as you claim.
“Lukewarm measures” like killing 250 Gazans during the May war? Or like the 2,300 murdered by Israel in 2014, when you had Iron Dome? How cheap are Palestinian Lives to you? That cheap that 3,000 dead over 6 yrs is a “lukewarm” response by Israel?
You are appalling, cold, cruel and heartless–and a typical Israeli I’m sorry to say.
I have read your post, and my comment was exactly a comment on the section you refer to in your reply to my comment.
Shooting a few simple rockets causes little damage and few causalities. Even with the iron dome in the last conflict Israel suffered dead and damage. In this conflict about 4000 rockets were fired. Imagine 10 times the number of rockets and no iron dome. That is the scenario i am talking about.
@ David: In 20+ yrs of rockets less than only about 50 Israelis have been killed by rockets, compared to thousands of Palestinian civilians murdered by Israel. The rockets with or without Iron Dome would cause minimal damage. Excuse me for caring more about the thousands of dead Palestinians who suffer infinitely more than Israelis.
Israel will be asking for another $Billion for Iron Dome replenishment after the next Gaza war. When will Americans get tired of paying for the Israel’s Occupation, Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing, and War on Terror that has cost the USA over $8 Trillion so far.
“Hamas used massive barrages of rockets in a new way, apparently designed to test or attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome systems.”
I wish someone would speak to the fact that she keeps mentioning that there was no discussion. No debate about human rights. 10 to 420? No way this was going to be stopped, but the debate was the MOST important part of this process. And AOC says it in every “apology”. She appears to be protesting the aipax lean to rush the vote. She’s pretty damn smart. I doubt she thought they could win. What needs to be done is to get the truth out. For 72 + years the Zionist lobby has written the script. Told the story of who are the good guys and who are bad. The LAST thing the israel lobby wants is for progressives to have a public voice. For AOC to mention that palestinians deserve human rights. For folks to know that they don’t get those rights. That, in fact, Israel is a democracy the same way American Jim Crow was called a democracy. A “no” vote by AOC meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. A “present” vote is historically known as THE protest vote. The vote that say ‘I’m here. I see what you’re doing. I do not wish to participate in this charade”. She should be applauded. If she was bending to the lobby, she needed to vote “yes”. Also, I see adding Westchester to her district as a strategy to get her out. Progressices are so busy bullying and shunning people, they miss the strategy and nuance of dealing in any world, much less the world of politics
Could be something to do with this: https://www.bitchute.com/video/Gxe14fHBpDvG/
Preventing casualties on the Israeli side allows Israel to refrain from military reactions to those terroristic launches from Gaza.
@ Alex: First I apologize for deleting your comment. I saved a small part of it. But if you see this, can you edit that comment and reconstruct it?
David Allon posted virtually the same comment as you in this thread. Please read other comments in the thread before posting your own so you don’t repeat the same argument and I don’t have to address it twice.
But as Khaled Elgindy pointed out in the article to which I linked (which you clearly didn’t read) that’s not how it’s worked in reality. Israel has attacked Gaza repeatedly and mercilessly since Iron Dome was first deployed. It’s killed 3,000 Palestinians in the past 7 years. It launched a ground invasion in 2014 and a massive air war last May. Israel has “refrained” from nothing with or without Iron Dome. This weeapons systems encourages Israel’s worst most aggressive instincts. It is NOT a defensive system.
[comment deleted: your comment was insulting and offensive. It was racist and misogynist as well.]
[comment deleted: I don’t entertain complaints about my editorial control of the comments section. You’d know that if you’d read the comment rules. ]
[comment deleted: Anti-Semit’n arois!]