In recent years, as the so-called “Squad” of progressive lawmakers gained prominence, more moderate Democrats insisted their colleagues represented a vocal yet ineffectual minority of Israel critics within the party.

“The overwhelming majority of Democrats strongly support US aid to Israel, including funding for Iron Dome, while also supporting Palestinian human rights,” Jewish Democratic Council For America CEO Halie Soifer told The Times of Israel during the May conflict with Gaza terror groups.

“Listening to NPR talking about how the Democratic Party is ‘shifting’ on Israel. Such a tired, lazy take. Democrats believe in a two state future. Always have. If we’re more critical of Israel, it’s [because] their politics have moved, not ours,” tweeted Senator Chris Murphy several days later.

Pro-Israel Democrats may indeed represent a majority, and perhaps the party hasn’t moved to the left on Israel, but the new controversy over the funding of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system underlines that the progressive wing holds more influence than given credit for.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to pull her latest version of a bill to keep the federal government funded that had been updated to include $1 billion for Iron Dome.

Squad Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, along with fellow progressives Betty McCollum and Pramila Jayapal, warned House leadership that they would not have their votes if the bill proceeded with the extra $1 billion, according to Congressional aides. This was evidently enough to convince Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to advance the continuing resolution without the aid for Israel. READ MORE

‘Squad’ wins symbolic victory on Iron Dome funding – with help from Republicans

Josh Toupos

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