AOC ‘cries’ after Democrats thwart Squad attempt to defund Israel’s Iron Dome

Tears after AOC switched vote from ‘no’ to ‘present’ at last minute slammed as ‘political theatre’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 23 September 2021 20:55 EDT
AOC 'cries' after Democrats thwart 'Squad' attempt to defund Iron Dome

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared to cry on the House floor after breaking with her fellow Squad members in a vote to fund Israel’s Iron Dome.

The bill passed with a 420 to 9 bipartisan majority despite the Squad’s efforts, led by Ms Ocasio-Cortez, to nudge forward its agenda of withholding military aid to Israel.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cries on the House floor

Among the no votes were Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who was accused of antisemitism by a fellow Democrat.

The Squad earlier this week leveraged the urgency of raising the debt limit to withdraw $1bn in funding for the missile defence system from the Democrats’ earlier spending bill.

But instead of standing by her opposition in Thursday’s vote, Ms Ocasio-Cortez changed her vote to “present” at the last minute.

Her tears were slammed as "theatre, and bad theatre at that" by critics like Meghan McCain in response the moment being reported by journalist Jake Sherman.

"AOC seems distraught. She is in the middle of the house floor wiping away tears, crying into her colleague’s shoulders," Sherman wrote on Twitter.

Jerusalem Post columnist Emily Shrader said: "AOC literally in tears after voting ‘present’ on the Iron Dome funding. More Jew hating theatrics from the squad".

The Jerusalem Post, along with Politico, were first to report the push by the Squad to withhold funding from the Iron Dome, which defends Israeli civilians from rocket attacks.

A diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post that the White House began reversing the decision almost immediately after it was announced, illustrating the divide between the Congress members from urban districts and president Joe Biden.

That divide widened with heated exchanges on the House floor as moderate Democrat Ted Deutch, of Florida, directing a tirade at Ms Tlaib, who labelled Israel an apartheid state.

"I cannot, cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish Democratic State of Israel an apartheid state," Mr Deutch said on Thursday. ‘I reject it.’

"When there is no place on the map for one Jewish state – that’s antisemitism, and I reject that," he added.

Ms Tlaib later said Israel was a human rights abuser that was guilty of war crimes, adding that "Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system".

Her comments echoed rhetoric from Ms Omar on Twitter this week as the party fractured over the funding to America’s ally.

"We sold $175 billion in weapons last year — more than anyone in the world — to some of the worst human right abusers in the world," she said on Twitter.

"Here’s an idea: don’t sell arms to anyone who violates human rights."

After Democrats approved the funding, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid specifically thanked House majority leader Steny Hoyer, who was reportedly working behind the scenes to reassure Israel that the hold up to funding was only a "technical" issue.

Mr Biden committed some time ago replenishing the Iron Dome’s capabilities after clashes between terrorist group Hamas and Israel in May.

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