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The Senate still hasn't funded Israel's Iron Dome. Jewish Democrats blame Rand Paul

David Catanese, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — When progressive House Democrats fought a vote to pass aid for Israel’s Iron Dome defense shield, the outrage among both mainstream Democrats and Republicans boiled over.

Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch asserted that the opposition permitted “the dismantling of the one Jewish state in the world.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee labeled the progressives as “anti-Israel radicals.”

In the end, just 4% of House Democrats — eight in total, along with one Republican -- Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie — voted against the $1 billion defense appropriation in September.

But in the two months since then, the Senate’s taken no action to finalize passage.

And Jewish Democrats are largely blaming one man: Rand Paul.

“That same level of outrage has not been directed toward this one senator: Rand Paul,” said Halie Soifer, CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “Rand Paul’s hold is far more consequential than those eight no votes put together.”

 

This week, the JDCA blasted an email to its national list of around 25,000, lambasting Paul and urging its members to mobilize against his position.

“Every Democratic Senator supports this funding, but Israel still has not received this crucial aid because of Republican obstruction. Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell are abdicating their responsibility to stop Rand Paul from blocking these funds, demonstrating their blatant hypocrisy on this issue,” reads the missive.

A second group, Democratic Majority for Israel, has also targeted Paul this week.

Paul objected to unanimous consent passage of the funding in an attempt to extract a condition that the $1 billion for Israel come out of the $3.6 billion remaining allocated for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, which the U.S. military departed in August. (In the Senate, any single senator can hold up another senator’s request.)

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