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Iron Dome funding: A referendum on supporting terror in congress

Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepts rockets (R) fired by the Hamas movement from Gaza city towards Israel early on May 16, 2021.
Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepts rockets (R) fired by the Hamas movement from Gaza city towards Israel early on May 16, 2021. | AFP via Getty Images/MOHAMMED ABED

News this week of Democrats withdrawing the funding of the Iron Dome from the US budget in order to accommodate left-wing extremists within the party is nothing other than a capitulation to terror in the halls of Congress. It represents another case of people claiming to support Palestinian Arabs doing something anti-Israeli (and in this case also antisemitic), but in fact, harming the wellbeing of the Palestinian Arabs on whose behalf they dishonestly claim to advocate.

Israel’s Iron Dome defends Israelis of all backgrounds, including Israeli Arabs, from the deliberate targeting of Israel’s citizens from the thousands of rockets fired into Israel. Millions of Israelis are protected by this defensive technology that tracks rockets from the moment they are launched, calculates the trajectory and where the rockets will land and fires a countermeasure in seconds to destroy the rockets in mid-air.  It’s reported that each countermeasure costs at least $50,000.  (Here’s a video of the Iron Dome at work, filmed from my bedroom window this past May.)

However, the Iron Dome protects millions of Palestinian Arabs as well. The Palestinian Arab terrorist leaders store and fire their weapons in civilian areas knowing that Israel resists attacking these targets and risks collateral damage. Yet if one terrorist rocket were to get through the Iron Dome, and were to hit a kindergarten, a school, a mall, an apartment building, a synagogue, or a mosque – and there were to be lots of casualties – Israel would be left with little choice but to strike back at the very terrorists that use civilians as human shields.

The truth of the matter is, the Iron Dome protects Palestinians more than their own leaders do.

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Israel has a steadfast rule to strike back at terrorists each time they launch their rockets. Typically, this involves hitting “soft targets” which don’t involve taking out major physical infrastructure nor the terrorist leaders but to make sure that the terrorists know that Israel means business.

With the radical left-wing of the Democratic Party trying to punish and discriminate against Israel by defunding the Iron Dome, they calculatedly put the lives of millions of Israelis of all backgrounds — including millions of Palestinian Arabs — at risk.  Their hatred for Israel has no limits.

It seems that the inclusion of the Iron Dome in the budget was a way to get bipartisan support from Republicans, and perhaps prevent a budget vote on straight party lines. The Democratic leadership caving in and withdrawing the Iron Dome funding to appease its radical left constituents makes the budget vote all the more political, and shameful.

The removal of the Iron Dome funding from the US budget is nothing but capitulation by the Democratic Party to the extortion and antisemitism of a hateful, radical, extremist (and hopefully small) wing of its party.  Abundant credit is due to some Democratic leaders who have now introduced a bill to fund the Iron Dome as a separate vote.  This might become an accidental bipartisan vote that’s so badly needed.

However, it remains to be seen how many of the mainstream Democratic Party in Congress will join the radical left and reflexively vote against funding because of perceived wrongs that Israel commits while weeping crocodile tears for Palestinian Arabs.  How they vote will be significant on a variety of levels.

Make no mistake about it, such a vote is a referendum within the Democratic party on its own standing with Israel as a democratic ally of the U.S. The outcome will have an effect on next year’s mid-term election, and beyond.

All members of Congress must consider the gross human rights violations committed by the Palestinian government.  For those who want to see Palestinian Arabs have their own state, but like to blame Israel exclusively for the current conflict, I have a newsflash: Weakening Israel’s ability to defend its civilians and harm the safety of Palestinian Arabs at the same time, won’t bring about a Palestinian state, nor long-standing peace.

Jonathan Feldstein is President and CEO of the Genesis 123 Foundation and

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