BIRTHDAY PRESENT: Landslide victory for Israel in US House of Representatives

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, the resolution encouraged deeper bilateral ties and more nations joining the Abraham Accords, clearing 401-19.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a pro-Israel resolution 401-19 Tuesday specifically in honor of the country’s 75th birthday, whose celebration started that night.

The resolution, formulated by Ann Wagner (R-MO), encourages deeper bilateral ties, mentioning the already “close cooperation” in such areas as defense, diplomacy, energy, cybersecurity, agriculture, science, and space. It also pushes for the expansion of the Abraham Accords to other countries and expresses “continued support for security assistance to Israel … to ensure that Israel can defend itself by itself.”

Unlike past resolutions marking the founding of the Jewish state, it does not mention anything about the peace process or a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. According to a report in Haaretz, Republicans rejected the request of Democratic leadership for such language to be inserted this time.

Although he was one of two Democratic cosponsors of the resolution, Brad Schneider of Illinois joined a statement of colleagues that criticizes the breaking of “the longstanding bipartisan tradition of acknowledging the importance of achieving a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.” Future opportunities, they added, “would be well served to uphold and jointly affirm U.S. policy,” which backs this formula for peace.

The signatories still voted for HR 311, saying, “it was an important opportunity for the House to formally express our support for Israel as we have on similar occasions in the past.”

Schneider tried to partially correct the omission in his speech on the House floor prior to the vote. Lauding the “75 years of partnership” between Israel and the U.S., as well as Israeli scientific, medical and technological achievements, he added that he “knew in his heart” that “peace could be established with the Palestinians with a negotiated, two-state solution that would give us a Jewish, democratic Israel and a demilitarized, democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace, security and prosperity.”

While the voting numbers showed that Israel still enjoys tremendous bipartisan support in Congress, the negative ballots were much higher than in previous symbolic resolutions. A dozen other Democrats joined the so-called “Squad” of progressive Democrats who have almost always spoken aggressively and voted against Israel since they were elected – Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman and Ayanna Pressley.

One Republican, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, joined them in saying “no” to Res. 311. Massie also voted last year against providing Israel with more funding for its Iron Dome anti-missile system after its rocket supply was depleted while defending the country from Hamas rocket attacks that evolved into Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021. He has also opposed funding for Holocaust education and a resolution condemning boycotts of Israel.

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In a statement after the vote, Wagner said that the “bipartisan passage of this resolution reaffirms our commitment to the people of Israel and promotes vital security assistance so they can defend themselves in the face of an increasingly aggressive Iran.”