Earlier today, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted “present” on a House bill that approved $1 billion in additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome. The legislation would supply funds to help Israel replace the missile interceptors lost in May, when they bombed Gaza Strip for days, killing hundreds of civilians and destroying a building that housed an outpost of the Associated Press. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez had initially voted “no” on the bill, but changed her choice last minute — abstaining from the vote on funding the gargantuan military of, in her words, an “apartheid state.”
The news comes just two days after the “Squad” successfully protested the provision, forcing House Democrats to remove it from a larger bill to keep the government funded through the end of the month. AOC had joined her progressive colleagues in threatening to withhold support for the package if the language wasn’t cut. Because of the Democrats’ slim House majority, party leadership complied.
But the Iron Dome funding bill predictably passed the House in a landslide, with 420 votes in favor, nine against, and just two “present” — AOC and Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia. Among those against: Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Cori Bush. (Notably, Jamaal Bowman voted “yes.”) This was no surprise. Wednesday night, Rep. Tlaib had said as much on the House floor, calling on her colleagues to “stop enabling Israel’s human rights abuses and apartheid government.” Rep. Omar echoed the sentiment on Twitter:
Some reporters are interpreting AOC’s change of heart as a signal that she’ll run for Senate in New York, possibly against Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who is up for reelection in 2022.
AOC reportedly “broke down crying” on the House floor before making the call. Fair enough. It is sad to enable the dehumanization of Palestinians, as she accused Joe Biden of doing last spring, for the sake of political strategy. We hate agreeing with Glenn.