Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explains why ‘present’ vote on bill to fund Israel’s Iron Dome moved her to tears


By Rachel Janfaza, CNN

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to her constituents on Friday explaining her emotional reaction to the “present” vote on a bill funding Israel Iron Dome Air Defense System this week.

“Yes, I cried. I cried at the total lack of care for the human beings who are affected by these decisions, I cried against an institution choosing a path of maximum volatility and minimum consideration for its own political convenience, ”said the Democrat of New York. “And I cried over the utter disrespect that I often feel our party has for its most vulnerable and threatened members and communities – because the death threats and the dangerous vitriol we would receive.” inevitably rushing such a sensitive, loaded and under-considered vote was not worth delaying it even for a few hours to help us do the work necessary to open a conversation of understanding.

New York congressman’s letter arrives a day after the House Easily approved billion dollar funding for Israel’s Iron Dome, submitting the bill to the Senate for consideration with just eight Democrats and one Republican voting against the measure. Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive, was one of two members to vote “present” on the bill – meaning they did not vote “yes” or “no” – after the funding provision have been struck out of a separate bill to prevent a government shutdown and suspend the country’s borrowing limit.

CNN reported seeing Ocasio-Cortez cry on the floor before voting, and in her letter, the congresswoman explained her decision, citing the “rushed” legislative process, which she said “created very real ripple effects “.

“It created a real sense of panic and horror among those in our community who otherwise thoughtfully engaged in these discussions, and fueled the discussion to transfer to a point where it became clear that this vote would risk a serious devolution of the community fabric in good faith. it allows us to responsibly join a fight for human rights and dignity everywhere – from Palestine to the Bronx and Queens, ”Ocasio-Cortez said.

The air defense system, which has been heavily sponsored by the United States for years, is designed to intercept rockets in the air – targeting them and firing interceptor missiles to destroy them – before they can. kill civilians living in Israel. This week’s legislation would specifically provide funding to replace the missile interceptors that were used in heavy fighting with Hamas in May.

Last spring, a number of Congressional Democrats stepped up pressure on the Biden administration engage more forcefully in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as violence in the region escalated.

“It’s time to have some serious conversations about conditioning military aid,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time.

In her letter on Friday, the Democrat made it clear that she was opposed to the funding, writing that “for too long the United States has given unconditional aid to the Israeli government while doing nothing to combat or denounce the persistent human rights violations against the Palestinian people. , and that this power imbalance must be centered in any honest conversation about Israel and Palestine.

She also apologized to those she disappointed with her vote, adding: “To those who think this reasoning is insufficient or cowardly – I get it. To those who have asked me to quell the volatility of this moment in our community, which made up the majority of voter feedback our office received – I hope we can take this moment and this opportunity to engage more. deeply and develop a real community movement. support for human rights around the world, which includes cherishing and respecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.

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