Democrats cave to anti-Israel radicals, strip funding for Iron Dome defense system

The Squad succeeded in erasing $1 billion in Iron Dome funds from spending bill.

By Alana Goodman, Washington Free Beacon

House Democratic leadership stripped funding for Israel’s missile defense system from its government spending and debt ceiling hike bill on Tuesday, after a group of progressive members threatened to block the legislation unless the aid was withdrawn.

The decision to remove the $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome interception system—which is estimated to have saved thousands of Israeli civilian lives from terrorist rocket attacks—signals House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) willingness to cave to the increasingly anti-Israel views of her progressive members.

A spending bill must be passed by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government funded through the beginning of December. Failure to pass a budget would force a government shutdown. Republicans oppose the spending bill because it raises the U.S. debt ceiling — the maximum amount of money the government can cumulatively borrow through the issuing of bonds.

It’s widely believed, however, that Iron Dome funds will be approved at a later time.

The group protesting the $1 billion in Iron Dome funding included Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) and other members who signed onto unsuccessful legislation to block arms sales to Israel in May, according to a Politico reporter. At least 15 members sponsored or cosponsored that bill, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). Their offices did not respond to a request for comment.

Ocasio-Cortez introduced the amendment to block the funding on Friday, then announced it in a tweet that angered Israel’s supporters because it legitimized Hamas.

The news that they would block funding sent the House Rules Committee into recess on Tuesday, according to reports. Democratic leadership tied the debt ceiling increase to a continuing resolution to fund the government on Monday, in an attempt to pressure Senate Republicans into backing the bill or taking the blame for a government shutdown.

An Israeli diplomatic source told the Jerusalem Post that Israel doesn’t want to be used in a domestic political altercation between Democrats and Republicans.

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which was developed with funding from the Obama administration, intercepted thousands of rockets fired at Israeli residential areas by Hamas terrorists last spring. During Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s recent visit to Washington, President Joe Biden committed himself to replenish Israel’s stock of interceptor rockets.

The White House on Tuesday declined to clarify its position on the Iron Dome funding.

The House is expected to vote on the bill as early as this week.

World Israel News staff contributed to this report.