Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid

Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid
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A dozen Democratic lawmakers have signed on to a letter spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHispanic Democrats build capital with big primary wins OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 | Park Police did not record radio transmissions during June 1 sweep of White House protesters | Court upholds protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears Biden-Sanders 'unity task force' rolls out platform recommendations MORE (D-N.Y.) calling for conditions on the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel should it move forward with its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

“Should the Israeli government continue down this path, we will work to ensure non-recognition of annexed territories as well as pursue legislation that conditions the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel to ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not supporting annexation in any way,” the letter, addressed to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Trump administration sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses WHO sets up independent panel to assess global coronavirus response MORE, said. 

The lawmakers are calling for “human rights conditions and the withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them.”

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, rejected the letter, saying it “explicitly threatens the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that would damage American interests, risk the security of Israel & make a two-state solution less likely.”

The letter is co-signed by several progressive firebrands, including Democratic Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats see victory in Trump culture war The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (Mich.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down MORE (Wash.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (Minn.), as well as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' Ex-Sanders campaign manager talks unity efforts with Biden backers The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention MORE (I-Vt.).  

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About 190 House Democrats have also signed on to a separate letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE opposing annexation, saying "we urge your government to reconsider plans to do so," according to a copy obtained by The Hill.

At least 36 Senate Democrats, along with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' Trump says he'll wear mask during upcoming trip to Walter Reed Latino group 'Mi Familia Vota' launches M voter turnout campaign targeting swing states MORE, have come out in opposition to annexation. Biden has said he is against adding conditions to the military aid. 

AIPAC also rejected that letter, saying it doesn’t hold Palestinians accountable for their role in failing to advance peace efforts.

Pompeo said Wednesday that the decision to annex territory rests with Israel alone, but Israeli officials have signaled that U.S. support is necessary for moving forward on annexation.

J Street, a pro-Israel organization considered more in line with the progressive left, has thrown its support behind Democratic efforts to push Israel to reconsider annexation. Alumni of the organization have asked for them to push for the conditioning aid, as Ocasio-Cortez has asked for.

“We understand that historically, U.S. refusal to use its leverage  — as we would do with other countries — has enabled a right-wing annexationist agenda to succeed in Israeli politics in the first place," Zoe Goldblum, former president of the J Street U National Student Board, said in a statement.