Washington DC: JVP Action condemns today’s vote by the House of Representatives to allocate an additional $1 billion of taxpayer funds as a slush fund for the Israeli military. Eleven members of Congress refused to rubber-stamp this absurd increase in military funding, and JVP Action applauds the eight bold Democrats who voted ‘no’ in order to stand with Palestinian human rights: Representatives Cori Bush, Andre Carson, Chuy Garcia, Raul Grijalva, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.
The U.S. already sends the Israeli government $3.8 billion in annual military funding. It is the largest historical recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. And yet, poll after poll has shown that Democratic voters want more accountability from the Israeli government, not a further increase in military funding. When will Democratic voters have elected officials who actually represent their values?
Israel is also the only country that receives U.S. military funding without any country-specific human rights conditions – even though the Israeli military’s grave violations of human rights are documented by every major human rights organization in the world, as well as by our own State Department. Moreover, Congress already funds the Iron Dome. In fact, since 2011, the U.S. has provided $1.7 billion for the Iron Dome and is already committed to continuing these funds through 2028.
“Today’s vote was an infuriating display of anti-Palestinian racism. Israel is an apartheid state, carrying out a belligerent military occupation, and it’s currently under investigation for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Why did almost every single member of the House just agree to send another $1 billion check to the Israeli government? Every member who voted for this should be deeply ashamed of themselves.”Beth Miller, Jewish Voice for Peace Action Senior Government Affairs Manager
Following a powerful speech on the House floor in which Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) called for genuine rights and safety for all Palestinians and Israelis, she was immediately attacked. To the sound of cheers and applause, members of the House falsely claimed that Tlaib’s refusal to send a blank check for military spending to an apartheid government made her antisemitic. We are disgusted by the blatant disregard for Palestinian life shown by these members, and applaud Representative Tlaib for her bravery.
The lives of Palestinians and Israelis are at stake. The only way toward a truly just and sustainable peace is for the Israeli government to end its systematic and grave violation of Palestinian rights. This includes ending the cruel siege and blockade of Gaza, which has been condemned as collective punishment and illegal by the UN and human rights organizations. Congress’s decision to increase military funds to the Israeli government – especially in the wake of its latest military assault on Gaza and ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians in Jerusalem – will only serve to prolong and exacerbate the violence of the status quo.
Within the context of armed conflict, so-called defensive weapons still increase the likelihood of active hostilities, and Congress should not be writing another $1 billion blank check for the Israeli military.
JVP Action staff are available for comment.