Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 31, has explained that she wept on the House Floor after the $1 billion Iron Dome bill was passed with an overwhelming majority because she felt there was a ‘complete lack of regard for the party’s most vulnerable members’
In a letter she released on Friday, she slammed the 420 to 9 vote in the House which will send Israel $1 billion for its Iron Dome defense system.
‘Yes, I wept,’ she wrote. ‘I wept for the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions, I wept at an institution choose a path of maximum volatility and minimum consideration for its own political convenience. And I wept at the complete lack of regard I often feel our party has to its most vulnerable and endangered members and communities…’
She continued with an apology to those she had disappointed with her ‘present’ vote, but cited this ‘wasn’t the first time people’s wellbeing was tossed for political convenience.’
AOC, who originally said she would vote ‘no’ for the bill, changed her vote to ‘present’ on Thursday.
A visibly distraught Ocasio-Cortez can be seen being comforted by Representative Barbara Lee. She claimed she cried because the bill, which passed 420 to 0, was a ‘complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted’
‘Yes, I wept’: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released at letter to her district explained why she wept on the House floor after the ‘unjust’ Iron Dome bill was passed on Thursday
This came after the Congresswoman requested House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to postpone the bill 24 hours so they could ‘do the work necessary’ and ‘explain our positions.’ Hoyer denied her request.
In her letter, she condemned Congress’s military spending, citing that in addition to the $1billion the bill provided, the government had already issued another $3billion to Israel that was authorized earlier this year.
She clarified that her vote did not mean she didn’t approve funding for the Dome, but that ‘opposing it would not defund U.S. financing of the system in any way, shape, or form.’
‘I believe strongly that Congress should take greater scrutiny with all military funding across the world. I also believe that, for far too long, the U.S. has handed unconditional aid to the Israeli government while doing nothing to address or raise the persistent human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, and that this imbalance of power must be centered in any honest conversation about Israel and Palestine – in addition to the many other government we militarily fund with a pattern of human rights abuses…’ she wrote.
A wider shot shows a group of lawmakers including Representative Debbie Dingell comforting AOC
The Congresswoman requested House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to postpone the bill 24 hours so they could ‘do the work necessary’ and ‘explain our positions.’ Hoyer denied her request
She cited Saudi Arabia and Colombia in her letter before continuing with how ‘deeply unjust’ the Iron Dome supplemental bill was brought to the House floor.
She claimed the bill was ‘quietly slip[ped]’ in without the proper channels of committee debate. She called the House’s decision ‘reckless’ and that it threatened to ‘tear our community apart.’
Among the ‘no’ votes were Tlaib and her fellow Squad members Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
During the debate before the vote, Foreign Affairs Chair Representative Ted Deutch of Florida, who opposed the $1billion in funds’ initial removal from an earlier bill, condemned Tlaib when it was his turn to speak during the debate.
‘I cannot – 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,’ Deutch said Thursday. ‘I reject it.’
‘If you believe in human rights, if you believe in saving lives – Israeli and Palestinian lives – I say to my colleague who just besmirched our ally, then you will support this legislation,’ the moderate Democrat directed at Tlaib.
He was cut off for time but given an additional 30 seconds – during which his barrage against Tlaib’s criticisms of Israel continued.
‘When there is no place on the map for one Jewish state – that’s anti-Semitism, and I reject that,’ Deutch said.
Representative Rashida Tlaib urged her colleagues to vote against funding for Israel’s ‘apartheid regime’ on Thursday, prompting a stunning rebuke from fellow Democrat Representative Ted Deutch
The end of his speech was met with applause in the chamber.
A few minutes earlier Tlaib asserted that Israel committed war crimes, invoking Human Rights Watch’s previous condemnation of the country’s actions in the Gaza Strip.
‘I will not support an effort to enable war crimes, human rights abuses and war crimes,’ Tlaib told lawmakers in the House chamber. ‘We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety under a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system.’
‘We should also be talking about Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks. We must be consistent in our commitment to human life.’
She went on to lambast her colleagues for allocating taxpayer money to fund what she said Human Rights Watch called ‘war crimes’ like bombs launched at religious centers.
‘The Israeli government is an apartheid regime – not my words, the words of Human Rights Watch,’ Tlaib continued despite being told her allocated time was up.
Republican Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee also attacked Tlaib over her comments. Speaking directly after the Michigan lawmaker, Fleischmann gestured broadly as he delivered a furious condemnation of her remarks.
Representative Chuck Fleischmann also reacted forcefully to Tlaib’s comments, urging her fellow Democrats to condemn her
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid praised the House vote on Twitter
‘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,’ the GOP representative declared.
‘As Americans, I beseech you, I reach out to the majority and I say condemn what we just heard on the House floor. Condemn terrorism.
‘You just saw something on this floor I thought I would never see. Not only as a member of this House, but as an American – let’s stand with Israel and condemn anti-Semitism.’
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid posted on Twitter celebrating the House vote.
‘I am grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel and the solid commitment to our security demonstrated today by the vote on the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system,’ Lapid said.
It’s not clear yet when the bill will get a vote in the Senate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested it wasn’t a matter of if it’ll pass, but when.
‘Iron Dome is very important and it’ll get done. That’s all I’m going to say,’ Schumer told Defense News on Thursday before the House vote.
On Twitter earlier today, Tlaib said she will not be voting for Democratic leadership’s bill allocating $1billion toward Israel, accusing the US ally of ‘war crimes.’
The bill was introduced by House Appropriations Chair Representative Rosa DeLauro on Wednesday after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer first announced it Tuesday night, backed by Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and President Biden.
Israel’s Iron Dome is partially supported by US funds and has been operational since 2011
Funding for the Iron Dome was originally part of Democrats’ continuing resolution aimed at suspending the debt ceiling and averting an October government shutdown. It was removed after progressive Democrats, including Tlaib and fellow Squad members Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts threatened to tank the crucial measure otherwise.
But the morning of the vote, Tlaib attacked the measure on Twitter.
‘I will not support a standalone supplemental bill of $1 billion to replenish the bombs Israel used to commit war crimes in Gaza,’ she wrote.
The progressive lawmaker was referring to a provision in the text of the bill adding that the funds are being used ‘to address emergent requirements in support of Operation Guardian of the Walls.’
It refers to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) rocket campaign in May that killed more than 200 Palestinians in the Gaza strip and destroyed apartments, health clinics and a building that contained an Associated Press office.
The IDF said it was targeting Hamas. The terror group also launched thousands of rockets into Israel, killing at least 10 Israelis in what they called Sword of Jerusalem.
Iron Dome missiles intercepted 90 percent of rockets fired into Israel during the bloody conflict, Israeli officials claimed.
Tlaib took issue with a provision in the bill’s text that promotes Israel’s rocket campaign against Gaza in May, dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls
Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, announced her intention to vote against the measure on Wednesday night
The text in House Democrats’ bill promoting Operation Guardian of the Walls is relatively vague.
It could be interpreted a number of ways, including the US leaving the door open for more strikes on Gaza. However, intercepting Hamas rockets likely depleted a significant portion of Israel’s Iron Dome missile supply, so the mention could refer to the $1 billion going toward replenishing the stocks.
But on Thursday during debate ahead of the bill, DeLauro said the funds could not be used for the procurement of offensive weapons.
Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, first announced her intention to vote against the funds on Wednesday night.
‘I plan on casting a no vote,’ the Michigan lawmaker said. ‘We must stop enabling Israel’s human rights abuses and apartheid government.’
During the conflict in May, Tlaib made an impassioned speech on the House floor, lambasting Israel’s ‘inhumane’ tactics and accused the US government of failing to recognize ‘Palestinian humanity.’
Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system is activated to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip on May 12
A Palestinian man inspects the damage following reported Israeli airstrikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on September 12
‘To read the statements from President Biden and Secretary Blinken, General Austin and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all,’ Tlaib said in May.
In August, she was accused of anti-Semitism when she told an audience at the Democratic Socialists of America’s national convention that people ‘behind the curtain’ are making money off of racist and ‘broken’ policies.
‘They do it from Gaza to Detroit. And it’s a way to control people, to oppress people,’ she said, earning accusations of using anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish people secretly controlling the world and exploiting others for financial gain.
Yesterday, her fellow Squad member Representative Ilhan Omar expressed outrage on after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced he’d bring the standalone bill allocating $1billion toward Israel’s Iron Dome to the House floor.
‘We sold $175 billion in weapons last year—more than anyone in the world—to some of the worst human right abusers in the world,’ Omar wrote on Twitter.
‘Here’s an idea: don’t sell arms to anyone who violates human rights.’
Omar issued a scathing statement after the House moved to bring $1 billion toward Israel’s Iron Dome defense system to a vote
Hoyer spoke on the House floor Tuesday evening, two hours after crisis talks with Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid.
‘Iron Dome saved lives and property, and held Israel secure,’ Hoyer told the House chamber.
He said the legislation already has the support of top Democrats in government – including President Joe Biden.
‘The president wants this bill passed, Mr. Schumer wants this bill passed, the speaker wants this bill passed,’ Hoyer said. ‘Scores of others on both sides of the aisle want to make sure that Israel is secure.’
Lapid said the Maryland Democrat told him the measure was pulled on Tuesday because of a ‘technical postponement’ resulting from the debate in Congress over the US budget deficit.
‘I thanked Majority Leader Hoyer for his commitment and emphasized to him the need to approve the request as soon as possible to ensure Israel’s security needs,’ Lapid wrote in Hebrew on Twitter.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer spoke with Israel’s foreign minister before announcing the House would vote on a standalone bill to fund the Iron Dome
Republican Representative Byron Donalds of Florida told DailyMail.com he would vote for the measure if it went through traditional House channels but expressed hesitance at voting for an expedited bill.
‘The Congressman joins the Republican Conference and moderate Democrats in condemning the removal of these funds at the behest of anti-Israel leftists like AOC and Omar. While it doesn’t make sense for the House to take up this funding in a standalone bill, Representative Donalds will likely support a clean bill that appropriates this vital funding to our longstanding ally, Israel,’ Donalds’ communications director Harrison Fields told DailyMail.com.
He blasted its removal from the debt ceiling bill as ‘reprehensible and completely unnecessary.
GOP Representative Michael Guest of Mississippi told DailyMail.com he would support the measure.
Representative Jody Hice of Georgia also told DailyMail.com he’d vote yes.
Israel’s Iron Dome has been operational since 2011 and is one of the most sophisticated defense systems in the world. It was created by Israeli military firms with additional support from the US.
The all-weather system uses radar technology to detect incoming airborne threats and destroy them before they can cause damage.
The radar then activates a control center that calculates a rocket’s flight path. If it’s found to be dangerous, interceptor missiles are launched to detonate the incoming weapon.
Each Iron Dome ‘battery’ comprised of radar, control center and missiles costs roughly $100million.
Missiles fired from the Iron Dome cost between $50,000 and $80,000, according to estimates from the Jerusalem Post.
Israel uses Iron Dome systems to defend on land as well as at sea, where it can be fixed to Navy ships to guard offshore property.