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‘Squad’ intercepted Iron Dome with perfectly timed strike on US-Israel ties

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It came as no surprise when senior Democrats and Israeli officials tried their best to downplay the fact that the so-called Squad of progressive legislators forced Iron Dome funding to be pulled from a bill to keep the United States government funded on Tuesday.

“It is my intention to bring to this floor a suspension bill before the end of this week that will fund fully Iron Dome. I was for that. I’m still for it, we ought to do it,” said US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the aftermath. “I talked to the [Israeli] foreign minister, Mr. [Yair] Lapid, just two hours ago and assured him that bill was going to pass this House.”

After that conversation, Lapid also sought to project a sense of business as usual, saying in a statement that Hoyer had reassured him that the issue was a mere “technical delay.”

Indeed, the surprise development is a product of the state of domestic US politics and of the Democratic party, not a premeditated act against Israel by the party leadership or rank-and-file.

“It’s largely a result of the struggle within the Democratic Party over the budget in general,” said Nadav Tamir, board member at the Mitvim regional policy think tank, and J Street Israel executive director, “that the progressives want a more ambitious budget in terms of social justice, while the leadership wants to pass a bill that’s more focused on infrastructure that can gather the support of some Republicans. ”

“The Squad is not the future of the Democratic Party. It is a small minority within the Democratic Party. But it is a measure of the polarization within the Congress today that they could use their marginal position to derail this element of the continuing resolution,” said Eran Lerman, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and past deputy director of Israel’s National Security Council.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must pass a bill by September 30 to keep the government funded through the start of December. She needs all hands on deck to pass the budgetary bill, and cannot afford to lose progressive votes because no........

© The Times of Israel

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