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Anger as US progressives object to Israeli Iron Dome funding

Rockets are launched towards Israel from Gaza city, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 18, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
(Photo: Jordan News)
WASHINGTON, DC  — A group of leftist US Democrats came under heavy fire Tuesday after reportedly vowing to nix a short-term spending bill over a $1 billion allocation for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.اضافة اعلان

The party leadership vowed there would be no interruption in funding, with the cash being sourced elsewhere — but not before being berated by Republicans for capitulating to "anti-Semites" on their left flank. 

Steny Hoyer, the Democratic House of Representatives majority leader, said there would be a vote "before the end of this week that will fund fully Iron Dome."

He added he had talked to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid "and assured him that that bill was going to pass this house."

He said the House would use an accelerated procedure known as a suspension bill that requires a bill be approved by two thirds of the members present, or a unanimous oral vote. The Senate will then have to adopt it.

Tuesday's drama was sparked by House Democrats removing a provision originally included in a bill to keep the federal government funded that would have helped boost the Israeli air defense system.

The about-face came after a group of leftist representatives objected to the allocation, US media reported, threatening to tank the bill when it comes up for a vote later Tuesday.

While the row looked ultimately like a storm in a tea cup, it underlined that progressives are becoming increasingly skeptical of no-strings-attached aid to the US’ key ally in the Middle East, just months after the end of hardline right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu's 11-year premiership.

Operational for a decade, Iron Dome has intercepted and destroyed thousands of short-range rockets and artillery shells launched by Hamas militants from Gaza before they were able to hit populated areas, Israeli officials say.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Democrats for capitulating to "the anti-Semitic influence of their radical members," an accusation echoed by conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who urged the Democratic rank-and-file to denounce the party's leadership.

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