Last week’s vote in the House of Representatives was a confluence of several dramatic events that at the end of the process demonstrated the extent to which the U.S. stands with Israel.
There is no question that despite some disagreements on nuances of policy there are few countries that share similar values and priorities the way that Israel and United States do.
It should not go unnoticed by us that $1 billion of funding had to be excised from a vote that passed budgetary items of more than $500 billion, and the fact that this drama played itself out on Sukkos.
There we were all week long with lulav and esrog in hand, using our biblical equipment as a shield of sorts for the coming year. At the same time, Israel was once again the target being ostracized and isolated, as Jews the world over recited in Hallel, “[I was like] the stone the builders despised [but with Your help I] became the cornerstone [the most important stone in the construction].”
If you were not paying attention to the details, you may have casually concluded that anti-Israel Democrats took a stand that denies U.S. weaponry to Israel. However, the legislation was specifically for the funding of the Iron Dome anti-missile system that is a technological miracle that has saved thousands of lives—of both Jews and Arabs, but probably mostly Jews—in Israel.
Just this past spring, over 4,000 missiles were fired by the terrorists who control Gaza into Israel civilian communities. Several Israelis were killed and more were injured in the relentless assault. About 2,000
One congressman—Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee—stood up to express his shock and disdain over comments by the infamous congresswoman from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, who rose to speak in opposition to legislation that was aimed at preventing innocent people from being killed by terrorists.
Fleischmann demanded that Democrat Party leadership repudiate Tlaib’s comments, but while his protest was robust, his party leadership, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, was silent on the matter.
The most interesting sidebar to the Iron Dome vote was Congresswoman Alexandra Cortez’s change of vote from a “no” on the legislation to a curious “present,” which is a way to avoid voting or expressing a position on a matter.
Of even greater note was the fact that as AOC made the vote switch, she wept and required consolation from a colleague on the floor of the House. Later it became clear that she wanted to vote with the rest of the anti-Israel crowd and in favor of more Jews being murdered by Hamas rockets in the future but was prevailed upon by campaign strategists.
Cortez was apparently advised that if she is planning to challenge Chuck Schumer in a couple of years, voting against Israel on this or any other matter would no doubt seriously handicap any potential senatorial campaign, even in left-leaning Democrat-dominant New York.
Israel has many good friends in the thin Democrat majority in Congress, and perhaps one of the very best friends is Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi. On the vote for Iron Dome, Congressman Suozzi told the 5TJT, “We must support the replenishment of funding for the Israeli defensive system, the Iron Dome. I have fought to fully fund it. Iron Dome saves civilian lives. I am and will always be an ardent supporter of Israel and will stand against anyone, even members of my own party, in defense of our close ally.” The bill was supported 420–9.
Later, Suozzi told me: “My goal is to be Israel’s best non-Jewish friend in Congress.” I recall being at a press conference in Mr. Suozzi’s office when he was Nassau County executive and had returned from his first trip to Israel in about 2004. He was shining that morning. It was that moment, I believe, when Mr. Suozzi became an even greater advocate for Israel.
Tom Suozzi is a clear-thinking, reasonable person and is co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus in the House. That comprises 56 members of the House, an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans, who meet and try to hammer out and arrive at a consensus on issues that are in the best interest of the country. This year, and especially on the current multitrillion-dollar pieces of legislation, they are not doing too well.
The other day, Vice President Kamala Harris visited a university classroom in Virginia. The question posed to the vice president by a student was about funding for Israel, a country that commits “ethnic genocide,” which is actually the furthest thing from reality.
Vice President Harris stood there as the student spoke about how Israel kills people based on who they are, and instead of disagreeing and correcting the student she just nodded her head in agreement.
Ms. Harris is not a here-today-gone-tomorrow fringe member of Congress. She’s the vice president of the United States and should not be nodding her head in agreement when a woke college student uses “ethnic cleaning” and “Israel” in the same sentence. Harris told the student, “Your truth must be heard.” Does that mean that VP Harris believes Israel is perpetrating ethnic genocide?
I’m reluctant to use the best word to describe her actions, but here it is: stupid.
Even AOC knew better.
Larry Gordon is editor in chief of the Five Towns Jewish Times.