heard yesterday

Rep. Elaine Luria: Some Iron Dome aid opponents think ‘Israel doesn’t have a right to exist’

Luria raised concerns about left-wing antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment inside Congress

Parker Michels-Boyce for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rep. Elaine Luria answers questions on a variety of topics during a town hall at New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, VA, on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) questioned on Wednesday morning whether House colleagues who voted against $1 billion in additional aid for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system believe that Israel should exist.

“There were some on the left who I think truly would prefer to say that Israel doesn’t have the right to exist,” Luria said at a Jewish Institute for National Security of America conference. The House voted overwhelmingly to support the supplemental aid — one Republican joined the eight Democrats, while 420 members voted in support of the measure. The appropriation is currently stalled in the Senate.

One of the nine who voted against the aid, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), has called for a one-state solution. Tlaib also tweeted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase associated with calls to destroy Israel.

Luria, a former Navy commander, lamented what she sees as a significant rise in left-wing anti-Israel sentiment linked to the May 2021 conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza.

“After this conflict, those on the political left — not just in the U.S., but around the world — the amount that people have villainized Israel for Israel’s right to defend themselves, has gone up precipitously,” Luria said, describing it as “a really dangerous trend.”

“Those issues of antisemitism we’ve seen continue to grow in the country, combined with misinformation about the conflict… have become quite dangerous,” she added.

Luria also said that she has found that antisemitism and opposition to Israel have been more pervasive inside Congress than she expected.

“Since I’ve served in Congress, it’s been quite surprising the amount of times that I’ve needed to stand up on the House floor and [defend Israel’s right to defend itself],” Luria said, noting that her first speech on the House floor was a response to “dual loyalty” claims from other Democrats.

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