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Yesterday morning, the Senate took time off its debate about the refugee crisis to pass $225 million in supplementary military aid for Israel to repair the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Israel has a GDP of over $300 billion and, at the end of last year, experienced its highest ever GDP per capita. It is a developed country with a booming tech sector. It has the ability to pay for its defense system itself.

It is mid-boggling to think that the US pays for 23-25% of Israel's military budget each year.

One  can easily think of countless more humane ways for the US to spend $225 million (not to mention the $3.1 billion in total aid given each year).

Anyway, the bill, of course, passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

The House, however, took a vote on it. It passed easily but not unanimously: 395 to 8.  Only 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted against it.

The four Democrats were Keith Ellison (MN-05), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jim Moran (VA-08, and Beto O'Rourke (TX-16).

The four Republicans are Justin Amash (MI-03), Walter Jones (NC-03), Tom Massie (KY-04), and Mark Sanford (SC-01).

The four Republicans are all hardliners when it comes to spending, especially on foreign aid.

Keith Ellison is, to my knowledge, the only member of Congress who has been calling for an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Jim Moran was one of the co-signers of Ellison's letter urging a ceasefire.

I know Beto O'Rourke and Zoe Lofgren have both been critical of US foreign policy in the past, but I do not know their thoughts on the current situation.

As Israel has killed more than 1,400 people in Gaza, including hundreds of children, so far with attacks on hospitals, schools, mosques, universities, and UN shelters, it is disgusting to see such uncritical and slavish displays of fealty to Israel.

Withholding military aid would have been an effective bargaining chip for pushing Israel to accept a ceasefire. But that would be apparently too much to ask of the craven individuals that dominate Congress.

Originally posted to Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 04:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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