Opposing Iron Dome Funding Is Not a Peaceful Proposition
by Cade Spivey
On September 23, a group of progressive Democrats in the US House of Representatives stood firm against House Resolution 5323, a funding bill to support Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The bill was all but preordained to pass with overwhelming support, and it did just that — passing by a margin of 420–9, with two abstentions. The holdouts: Republican Thomas Massie (KY), citing dubious fiscal concerns; several Democrats citing various procedural issues; and the collective anchor of the far-left of the Democratic Party, known as “the Squad.”
From the outset of their respective elections, these Democrats have objected to US funding for Israel and supported the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement. For the uninitiated, the aim of BDS is both amorphous and straightforward: reduce Israel’s war-fighting capability, demonize and isolate it internationally, and use economic pressure to force Israel into recognizing a Palestinian state — or advocating for Israel to become a joint state, thus destroying its status as a safe homeland for the Jewish people.
BDS claims to be a movement to support Palestinian rights. Instead, BDS has become a cliché partisan tactic that resurfaces about once every Congressional election cycle. It gains just enough steam for the American public to remember what it stands for, only to fade away as the anti-Israel activists — especially on college campuses — break for the summer, replacing their Palestine flag-backed profile photos with shots from their beach vacations. This past summer, protest season extended into mid-May and June, as Israel defended itself from waves of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Those voices were amplified as Israel counter-attacked rocket sites that were often located within populated centers (because Hamas uses civilians as human shields).
The BDS movement certainly has its adherents in the Squad — though one must admit that they generally stick to their principles more than the typical American political partisan.
In the September 23 vote, America witnessed the BDS movement’s, and the Squad’s, antisemitism and Israel hatred on full display. Israel’s Iron Dome is a purely defensive weapon system responsible for saving the lives of potentially thousands of Israelis — and Palestinians alike. The system is the sole reason that the death toll of the Gaza war did not exceed quadruple digits, and likely prevented an otherwise necessary escalation of force by the IDF.
Cutting funding to Iron Dome would not have made a single Palestinian safer. On the contrary, it would have only created an imperative for Israel to focus its defensive energy on attacking more rocket sites, which would have endangered the lives of Israelis seeking to live in peace and those Palestinians who could not escape proximity to the conflict.
Defunding Iron Dome is not a pro-Palestinian position or a pro-peace position; it is solely an anti-Israel position. The throw-away contrarian votes of the Squad were nothing more than a political statement — the kind of statement they have made before and will always make again when they have the microphone. But when symbolic gestures threaten the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians, it leaves one to question if the Squad merely misunderstands its own rhetoric, or if they are saying the quiet part out loud.
Cade Spivey is a publishing Adjunct at The MirYam Institute. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and served three tours in the Navy as a Gunnery/Antiterrorism Officer, Damage Control Assistant, and Counter-Piracy Evaluator.
The MirYam Institute is the leading international forum for Israel focused discussion, dialogue, and debate, focused on campus presentations, engagement with international legislators, and gold-standard trips to the State of Israel. Follow their work at www.MirYamInstitute.org.