Flying Pig: Ilhan Omar Votes For ‘Pro-Israel’ Bill
Today, reader Maimon sent me a link to this report on Morocco World News:
US Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Stuns Supporters with Pro-Israel Vote
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of the most vocal pro-Palestine voices in American politics, voted last week in favor of a bill that calls for a $3.3 billion US aid package to Israel.
The state department’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year gives the $3.3 billion in US security assistance to Israel as agreed in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under President Obama. The MoU underscores the United State’s commitment to providing both financial and military support to Israel.
Many organizations and activist groups are disappointed with Omar’s vote. The Islamic Leadership Council of New York, which represents Muslims across the state, said that they are “incredibly disheartened.” The group told Morocco World News, “This bill would empower Israel’s aggression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians through 3.3 billion dollars of direct military aid. Most recently, aggressions against Gaza and illegal settlement neighborhoods shows us what Israel intends to do with this aid.”
Despite the commotion surrounding Omar’s rather surprising vote in favor of Israel, some organizations have maintained that the US congresswoman’s vote was not all that unprecedented. When asked about her assessment of Omar’s vote, the advocacy director of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) told MWN: “Congress members have historically included massive bills that include and tuck away unconditional support for Israel.
“Ilhan Omar was not the only member to recently criticize the state of Israel yet vote in favor of the bill. These are patterns representatives have shown no matter how left they are. We just have to work and advocate harder.”
Representative Omar garnered the support of many because of her strong stance and commitment to Palestinian human rights. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network said that Omar’s vote is a “betrayel of her supporters.”
The group added, “This is a red line, and any congress member who claims to support Palestine should- at the very least- fight this aid on the floor.”
I double-checked to see whether or not this is fake news. It turns out Omar did vote for the bill:
and the other usual Squad suspects didn’t:
(I am not sure why their votes are considered “most surprising, or least predictable”)
Here are some parts of the Bill, that definitely make Omar’s vote surprising (at least to me):
NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS
Provided further, That funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING PROGRAM
For necessary expenses for grants to enable the President to carry out the provisions of section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2763), $6,175,524,000 (reduced by $5,000,000): Provided, That to expedite the provision of assistance to foreign countries and international organizations, the Secretary of State, following consultation with the Committees on Appropriations and subject to the regular notification procedures of such Committees, may use the funds appropriated under this heading to procure defense articles and services to enhance the capacity of foreign security forces: Provided further, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act: Provided further, That to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel under this heading shall, as agreed by the United States and Israel, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $785,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development
Arab league boycott of israel
It is the sense of the Congress that—
(1) the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel, is an impediment to peace in the region and to United States investment and trade in the Middle East and North Africa;
(2) the Arab League boycott, which was regrettably reinstated in 1997, should be immediately and publicly terminated, and the Central Office for the Boycott of Israel immediately disbanded;
(3) all Arab League states should normalize relations with their neighbor Israel;
(4) the President and the Secretary of State should continue to vigorously oppose the Arab League boycott of Israel and find concrete steps to demonstrate that opposition by, for example, taking into consideration the participation of any recipient country in the boycott when determining to sell weapons to said country; and
(5) the President should report to Congress annually on specific steps being taken by the United States to encourage Arab League states to normalize their relations with Israel to bring about the termination of the Arab League boycott of Israel, including those to encourage allies and trading partners of the United States to enact laws prohibiting businesses from complying with the boycott and penalizing businesses that do comply.
(a) Limitation on assistance
None of the funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act may be provided to support a Palestinian state unless the Secretary of State determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that —
(1) the governing entity of a new Palestinian state—
(A) has demonstrated a firm commitment to peaceful co-existence with the State of Israel; and
(B) is taking appropriate measures to counter terrorism and terrorist financing in the West Bank and Gaza, including the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures, and is cooperating with appropriate Israeli and other appropriate security organizations; and
(i) None of the funds appropriated under the headingEconomic Support Fundin this Act may be made available for assistance for the Palestinian Authority, if after the date of enactment of this Act—
(II) the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.
(6) Incitement report
Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.
(c) United nations human rights council
Funds appropriated by this Act shall be made available in support of the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that participation in the Council does not serve the national interest of the United States and that such Council is neither taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item nor taking actions to ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council
The Benjamins 1 Ilhan Omar 0