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-CortezOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan 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 PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries 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 TlaibDemocratic bill would force Fed to defund fossil fuels Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan 'Squad' members call on Biden to shut down Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota MORE (Mich.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (Wash.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Enough with the GDP — it's time to measure genuine progress Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats eye potential carbon price in reconciliation bill MORE (Minn.), as well as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' 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 BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms 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.