AOC slammed for abstaining from $1bn Israel funding vote

AOC slammed for changing 'no' vote to 'present' on Israel Iron Dome funding
2 min read
24 September, 2021
US Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez was seen crying as Thursday's voting results, supporting the $1 billion payment for Israel's Iron Dome, was read in Congress.
Social media users slammed AOC's decision as 'disappointing' [Getty]

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been slammed by pro-Palestine activists for her last-minute decision to abstain from opposing a billion-dollar funding bill for Israel’s Iron Dome missile system on Thursday. 

The New York representative initially led the charge, together with other progressive Democrats, to block payments for the weapons system, putting pressure on fellow lawmakers so that its funding package in a wider bill was removed. 

However, just days later a standalone vote was tabled on the $1 billion payment, and Ocasio-Cortez voted “present” (to abstain) instead of "no" like fellow 'Squad' members Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.

Pro-Palestine activists took to social media in outrage following her non-vote and widely shared images of her crying as the result, 420 for and just 9 against, was read out in Congress. 

Some on social media labelled her a "hypocrite" and called her decision "disappointing". 

One account said: "@AOC 'I'm for the people' but yeah I support people killing families". 

Another Twitter user wrote: "AOC can wear all of the catchy 'leftist' slogans she wants, but she's just proven that she's nothing more than a sell out. This is abhorrent and the people of Palestine have every ounce of my solidarity." 

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The 31-year-old has boldly come out in support of Palestinian rights in the past, calling Israel an "apartheid state" amid the bombing of Gaza in May 2021, when 256 Palestinians were killed, of whom 66 were children. 

Speaking on the House floor in May, she said: "The president and many other figures this week stated that Israel has a right to defend itself, and this is a sentiment that's echoed across this body. But do Palestinians have a right to survive? Do we believe that?" 

The $1 billion in Iron Dome 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.

US President Joe Biden reiterated his promise to give Israel the billion dollars during his first meeting with Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Oval Office around a month ago, seen as a positive step forward in their relationship by the Jewish state. 

On hearing the news of Thursday’s vote, Israel’s Foreign Minister wrote on Twitter that he was “grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel and the solid commitment to our security.”

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