AOC responds to charges of 'cowardice' over Iron Dome vote
US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has responded to accusations of "cowardice" over her last-minute decision to abstain from a vote on providing $1 billion in additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, the New York lawmaker posted a lengthy letter laying out her reasons for opposing the bill and criticising the process in which it was tabled.
"In addition to opposing the substance of the Iron Dome supplemental bill, the process of bringing it to the House floor was deeply unjust," Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, said in the letter addressed to constituents.
She added that the "reckless decision by House leadership to rush this controversial vote within a matter of hours and without true consideration created a tinderbox of vitriol, disingenuous framing" and "deeply racist accusations", likely referring to charges of anti-semitism levelled at pro-Palestine lawmakers on the House floor.
AOC also acknowledged that she cried immediately after the vote, saying that she "wept at the complete lack of regard I often feel our party has to its most vulnerable and endangered members and communities".
She concluded the letter by acknowledging criticisms her decision, saying: "To those I have disappointed - I understand. To those who believe this reasoning is insufficient or cowardice - I understand."
Despite the lengthy explanation, many stood by their criticism, noting that the letter did little to address the reasons why she abstained.
A note to our NY-14 constituents, from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pic.twitter.com/mOmJrgFa4G— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) September 24, 2021
"So why did she vote 'present'? That's left unexplained," read the top-liked comment under the congresswoman's tweet.
Others, meanwhile, accused AOC of abstaining from the vote due to her career ambitions.
"So she voted present to keep her 'community' form being torn apart?" wrote another Twitter user. "Her district would be - just fine - with her voting no. But it’ll be a problem if she wants to go further in NY… say a senate seat."
The Iron Dome supplemental bill was passed by Congress on Thursday with 420 votes for and just 9 against.
The $1 billion in funding is intended to replace missile interceptors in Israel used to ward off rockets fired from Gaza in May 2021.
Palestine activists have highlighted that Palestinian civilians have no such protections from Israeli air assaults.