By Kevin Deutsch
Rep. Ted Deutch delivered a blistering response to Democratic colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib in the House of Representatives Thursday, accusing her of making antisemitic remarks during a funding debate over Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
Deutch, who represents Coral Springs and Parkland, forcefully defended Israel’s democracy and use of the anti-rocket system, which has saved scores of Israeli and Palestinian lives by intercepting missiles fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Tlaib of Michigan, urged colleagues to reject funding for Iron Dome because of what she deemed Israel’s “violent apartheid system” and “war crimes, human rights abuses, and violence.”
Deutch, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism, swiftly condemned her remarks.
“I cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish democratic state of Israel an apartheid state,” Deutch said on the House floor.
“If you believe in human rights, if you believe in saving lives, Israeli lives, and Palestinian lives,” then vote for the funding, Deutch said, adding that Tlaib had “besmirched our ally” and “falsely characterized the state of Israel” in an approach “consistent with those who advocate for the dismantling of the one Jewish state in the world.”
“When there’s no place on the map for one Jewish state, that’s antisemitism,” said Deutch.
The House voted 420-9 in favor of the funding.
The vote paved the way for Congressional approval for the U.S. to contribute $1 billion toward helping Israel replace Iron Dome missile interceptors damaged during its May conflict with Hamas.
Democratic leaders were originally forced to remove the money from a larger stopgap spending bill, after several progressive House members said they would not vote for the legislation if it included Iron Dome money.
A standalone funding bill was brought to the floor instead, leading to Thursday’s dramatic exchange.
In addition to Tlaib, so-called “Squad” members Reps. Illhan Omar, Cori Bush, and Ayanna Pressley voted against the funding, as did Reps. André Carson, Marie Newman, Jesus Garcia, Raul Grijalva, and Thomas Massie.
Two House members, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Hank Johnson voted present.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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