Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid

Getty Images

A dozen Democratic lawmakers have signed on to a letter spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (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 Pompeo, 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.”

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 Tlaib (Mich.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.), as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).  

About 190 House Democrats have also signed on to a separate letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 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 Biden, 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. 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Benjamin Netanyahu Bernie Sanders Ilhan Omar Joe Biden Mike Pompeo Pramila Jayapal Rashida Tlaib

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video