Prime Minister Naftali Bennett departed for the US on Saturday night. But before taking off, he publicly dismissed “The Squad,” a small but vocal group of progressive Democratic lawmakers, as failures in their anti-Israel efforts.
Last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow Squad members successfully pressured the Democratic Party leadership to remove $1 billion in extra military aid to Israel from a critical budgetary bill.
Israel needs that money to replenish its stockpile of Iron Dome interceptor missiles following the last Gaza war back in May.
But just days after this apparent victory for the Squad, a separate bill to aid Israel was introduced. The Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act easily passed by a vote of 420-9 in a stunning show of bipartisan support for Israel in the House of Representatives.
“There is a small anti-Israeli group that makes a lot of noise, but these people failed,” Bennett told reporters just minutes before his departure on Saturday. “At the moment of truth, we saw the representatives of the American people overwhelmingly support Israel, 420 to 9, in the vote on rearming Iron Dome.”
Ocasio-Cortez later admitted that the vote left her in tears, after being mocked on social media for her apparent theatrics.
“Yes, I wept. I wept at the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a letter to her constituents. She has long accused Israel of brutally oppressing the Palestinians. The progressive lawmaker further charged that the actions of the Democratic Party leadership had left “vulnerable” elements like herself open to angry threats from mainstream voters.
Ocasio-Cortez did not, however, explain why she at the last minute switched her vote on the Iron Dome bill from “no” to “present,” effectively abstaining.
Critics suggested that the “present” vote along with Ocasio-Cortez’s visible weeping on the House floor was all part of a calculated effort to boost her expected run for the Senate.
If you go back and watch the video, AOC’s “present” vote actually came after huddling with other members of the “Squad” for many minutes. A calculated vote. You can see them here: https://t.co/wPuzdY3aWG pic.twitter.com/CFXwiYMdt5
— Ari Ingel (@OGAride) September 23, 2021