Republicans Must Stop Playing Politics with Israel’s Security
Three-plus weeks since Hamas murdered more Jews than on any day since the Holocaust, Republicans are playing partisan games with Israel’s security. On October 19, President Biden asked Congress to approve an unprecedented $14.3 billion emergency aid package for Israel as part of a funding package that also included essential military assistance for Ukraine. Congress did nothing for two weeks with this emergency funding request because Republicans were in complete disarray as they sought a new Speaker of the House.
Unfortunately for the American people, the GOP chose a MAGA extremist, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), who recently announced that Republicans are conditioning passage of aid to Israel on cutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). One has nothing to do with the other. By definition, emergency aid is just that — an emergency, and President Biden would not have requested this unprecedented military funding for Israel if there was not a pressing need. These are not budget negotiations where funding is tied to offsets or mandatory spending cuts. Furthermore, the funding for both Israel and Ukraine — which the GOP has cut — benefits U.S. national security.
Now is not the time for Republicans to exploit Israel’s crisis to enable tax evasion, which they tried and failed to previously enact. What we need now is a clean aid package to Israel and Ukraine, exactly as President Biden requested. Common decency, let alone respect for our nation’s security and the security of our allies, demands that the Republicans allow an up or down vote on the package. In it’s current form, this aid package will never get through a Democratic-controlled Senate, causing even further delay.
There is strong bipartisan support for President Biden’s emergency funding request. It is the epitome of political opportunism and cynicism for House Republicans to tie this request to cuts to the IRS, which would increase the deficit through lost tax revenue: revenue that wealthy Americans are legally obligated to pay.
The other crisis facing the Jewish community is the rise of antisemitism that has accompanied the horrors in Israel. According to the ADL, antisemitic incidents are up by 400% since October 7, compared to the same period last year. On this too, we could not have a stronger ally in the White House. Yesterday, the administration announced additional actions to confront antisemitism on college campuses. In addition, the White House’s Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has clarified policy prohibiting certain forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia. These efforts come on top of the Biden Administration’s unprecedented National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. Jewish Dems fully support these efforts to keep our students and communities safe.
JOIN US tomorrow, Wednesday at 12:00pm ET / 9:00am PT, for our weekly community briefing, which will feature JDCA Board member Dan Kurtzer, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt, who will discuss the ongoing crisis in Israel. Amb. Kurtzer’s expertise and experience is unparalleled; you don’t want to miss this.
CEO, Jewish Democratic Council of America