Pro-Israel Democrats Slam Far-Left Letter Threatening Aid Cut Over West Bank Annexation
A letter signed by a group of far-left US lawmakers calling for a cut of American military aid to Israel in response to any annexation of parts of the West Bank has been met with criticism from pro-Israel groups, including those affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Politico reported that the letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “Should the Israeli government continue down this path, we will … pursue legislation that conditions the $3.8 billion in US military funding to Israel to ensure that US taxpayers are not supporting annexation in any way.”
It added that annexation “would lay the groundwork for Israel becoming an apartheid state.”
The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and was signed by, among others, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Ilhan Omar and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) expressed opposition to the letter, which it said “explicitly threatens the US-Israel relationship in ways that would damage American interests, risk the security of Israel and make a two-state solution less likely.”
AIPAC opposes the letter being circulated by @RepAOC—cosigned by @RepJayapal, @RepRashida & @BettyMcCollum04—which 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.
— AIPAC (@AIPAC) June 29, 2020
The Democratic Majority for Israel (DMI) said it “opposes annexation, but we’re urging House Democrats not to sign Rep. AOC’s letter.”
Referring to a more moderate letter from other Democratic lawmakers sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to “reconsider” annexation plans, DMFI said, “Unlike letter opposing annexation sent by 189 House Dems, this one is bad policy, bad politics, and counterproductive to the goal of stopping annexation and encouraging a two-state solution.”
.@DemMaj4Israel opposes annexation but we're urging @HouseDemocrats NOT to sign @RepAOC 's letter. Unlike letter opposing annexation sent by 189 House Dems, this 1 is bad policy, bad politics, & counterproductive to the goal of stopping annexation & encouraging a 2-state solution
— Democratic Majority for Israel (@DemMaj4Israel) June 29, 2020
Halie Soifer — executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) — also praised the more moderate letter, telling The Algemeiner, “An overwhelming majority of Democrats oppose unilateral Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, support Israel’s security, and support the $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel.”
“191 House Democrats recently sent a letter aligned with this message, which should have been heard loud and clear, from Washington to Jerusalem,” she added.
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday that an internal email sent by Ocasio-Cortez listed 10 organizations supporting her letter, with a majority of them backing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and is widely viewed as antisemitic.
The groups include American Muslims for Palestine, whose national policy director has praised Hamas; the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a BDS umbrella group; and Churches for Middle East Peace, which signed a declaration accusing Israel of “sin against God and humanity.”