Bipartisan Letter Opposing Conditions on US Aid to Israel Joined by 75% of US House Members
A bipartisan group of 331 US House members — comprising more than three-quarters of the body — signed a letter Thursday rejecting any conditions placed on US aid to Israel, one week after controversial legislation that would do so was unveiled by progressive House Democrats.
“Reducing funding or adding conditions on security assistance would be detrimental to Israel’s ability to defend itself against all threats,” said the letter, addressed to the heads of the House Appropriations Committee.
The signatories were roughly split between both parties, and was led by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Michael McCaul (R-TX). It followed news of a proposed bill, co-sponsored by Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other leading progressives, that would hinge aid to Israel on conditions related to the detention of Palestinian juveniles, demolition of property, and “annexation” of West Bank land.
The letter said that the $3.8 billion in FY 2020 security assistance for Israel — which includes $3.3 billion in foreign military financing and $500 million for cooperative missile defense programs — was overwhelmingly supported by both parties in Congress. It cited the “direct threats” posed to Israel by Iran and proxies such as Hezbollah, and noted the value of intelligence sharing with the US and the interest in promoting regional stability.
“Congress is committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge and its ability to defend itself, by itself, against persistent threats,” it said. “Our aid to Israel is a vital and cost-effective expenditure which advances important U.S. national security interests in a highly challenging region. For decades, Presidents of both parties have understood the strategic importance of providing Israel with security assistance.”
“Just as foreign assistance is an investment in advancing our values and furthering our global interests, security aid to Israel is a specific investment in the peace and prosperity of the entire Middle East,” it conlcuded.