AIPAC Compares Rand Paul to 'The Squad,' Slams Him Over Iron Dome Vote

The Republican senator is under fire from pro-Israel groups after he blocked a quick vote on Iron Dome funds. Israeli officials say his move did not come as a surprise to Jerusalem

Ben Samuels
Jonathan Lis
Washington
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Sen. Rand Paul testifying at a committee meeting on Capitol Hill late last month.
Sen. Rand Paul testifying at a committee meeting on Capitol Hill late last month.Credit: Pool / Reuters
Ben Samuels
Jonathan Lis
Washington

WASHINGTON – Pro-Israel activists across the political spectrum have harshly criticized Republican Sen. Rand Paul for his moves delaying the delivery of $1 billion in emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile system.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, perhaps the most powerful pro-Israel organization, linked Paul to progressive House members – and frequent AIPAC targets – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, three of the four members of the so-called Squad.

LISTEN: They were devout Christians in South Africa. Then they became Jews and moved to Israel

AIPAC also lambasted a second Kentucky Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie, for not backing the emergency aid.

Christians United for Israel, an evangelical group, also sharply criticized Paul for treating the aid like a “political game.”

“Whatever concerns he has on other issues should be addressed in a manner that does not put innocent lives at risk,” said the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, Pastor John Hagee.

“The legislation he is blocking advanced through the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. Senator Paul needs to stop playing games with the safety of the Israeli people.”

Democratic Majority for Israel, a group that also chided progressive lawmakers over the Iron Dome vote, urging supporters to pressure Paul to “stop the political games.” It also wants Paul’s Republican colleagues to stand up to him and “not abandon our ally.”

On Monday, Paul objected to Sen. Bob Menendez’s efforts to unanimously pass the Iron Dome bill, which made it through the House last week. Menendez was trying to get all 100 senators on board; this would have eliminated the need for a formal process to pass it.

Paul’s objection, on the grounds that the aid should be funded with money for rebuilding Afghanistan, has thus delayed a formal vote by days and potentially weeks.

The CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council for America, Halie Soifer, criticized the Republican Party for not openly criticizing the latest developments.

Israeli officials were not surprised by the additional delay. Ahead of the vote, diplomatic sources said that individual senators might put up obstacles – even if they weren’t critics of Israeli policy, they would see a chance to generate headlines by delaying the funds.

“We are working very hard on it,” a senior diplomatic source said.

In recent weeks, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held remote briefings, phone calls and meetings in a bid to court Republican and Democratic senators ahead of the vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, has fully thrown himself into the effort to push the funds through.

“We still don’t know if the incident involving the Iron Dome funding was a one-off event or if it will resurface regarding every special request of ours,” the diplomatic source said.

The official Israeli position presented in talks with Congress is not to define Iron Dome as a defense system, so as to not to create a distinction that could be used later to reject other Israeli requests.

Jonathan Lis reported from Israel.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage