A House floor debate over a funding bill for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system devolved into a shouting match, with multiple members accusing Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib of anti-Semitism.
After left-wing Democrats successfully removed $1 billion for the Iron Dome from a continuing resolution to fund the U.S. government, Democratic Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced on Wednesday a supplemental appropriations bill to provide the funding. The money would only go to fund the Iron Dome’s defensive capabilities, DeLauro and Democratic Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum clarified. (RELATED: Watch The Moment Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts A Barrage Of Rockets Over A Major City)
Republican Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said he was not surprised that Democrats removed the funding, “given the openly anti-Semitic sentiments and comparisons of Israel and America to terrorist organizations expressed by some on the other side.” His comment was an apparent reference to Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s claim that Israel’s “unthinkable atrocities” should be mentioned alongside those of Hamas and the Taliban.
“The state of Israel has the right to exist free of terror. This point should not be controversial,” Womack continued. “The Iron Dome has no offensive capability. Yet there are still members on the Democrat side of the aisle who oppose it.”
When Tlaib announced her opposition to the supplemental, she characterized it as “enabl[ing] and support[ing] war crimes, human rights abuses, and violence.”
“We can not only be talking about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system and are dying from what Human Rights Watch said are war crimes. We should also be talking about Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks. We must be consistent in our commitment to human life, period. Everyone deserves to be safe there. The bill claims to be quote ‘replenishment’ for weapons apartheid Israel used in a crisis it manufactured when it attacked worshipers at one of the most holy Islamic locations, the al-Aqsa mosque, committing, again, numerous, numerous war crimes,” she continued. “The Israeli regime is an apartheid regime, not my words but from Human Rights Watch.”
The al-Aqsa Mosque is located in Jerusalem’s Old City above the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. While Muslims are allowed to pray at the mosque, Jews are not allowed to pray at the Temple Mount, a rule that creates tension between the two populations. The location is often a flashpoint between Israelis and Palestinians, with young Palestinians rioting at the mosque and throwing rocks at police officers touching off the most recent hostilities.
“The truth has finally come out on the floor of the House of Representatives in the United States of America,” Republican Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann shot back.
“What did we just hear?” he asked. “We heard the Democratic Party speak out, we heard right now from my colleague across the aisle with a shocking statement. She opposes this is because they have a vocal minority in the majority party that is anti-Israel, that is anti-Semitic, and as Americans we can never stand for that. I grew up with Holocaust survivors. I grew up with children of Holocaust survivors. Israel has been attacked and attacked and attacked since its inception. As Americans I beseech you. I reach out to the majority and I say condemn what we just heard on the floor.”
“I cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish democratic state of Israel an apartheid state. I reject it,” Democratic Florida Rep. Ted Deutch added. “We can have an opportunity to debate lots of issues on the House floor. But to falsely characterize the state of Israel is consistent with those, let’s be clear, it’s consistent with those who advocate for the dismantling of the one Jewish state in the world. And when there is no place on the map for one Jewish state, that’s anti-Semitism. And I reject that.”
Funding for the Iron Dome passed the House 420-9, with Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie joining eight Democrats in opposing the package.