Home   »  Our Work  »  Challenging U.S. Policy  »  Archives  »  Media Releases (2002-2014)

For Immediate Release: May 19th, 2010

National Coalition Urges Congress to Vote No Today on 'Iron Dome' Missile Defense

Washington, DC  - The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation today called on Congress to vote no on H.R. 5327, the United States-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation and Support Act, which would begin the process of fast tracking $205 million of U.S. tax-payer money to Israel to purchase ten batteries of the "Iron Dome" missile defense system.

Introduced yesterday by Rep. Glenn Nye (VA-2), the resolution follows on the heels of the Obama Administration's announcement last week that it would support U.S.-funding for the Israeli missile defense system.

"Israel is portraying 'Iron Dome' as a means to shoot down rockets fired at its civilian population, but in reality these batteries will increase Israel's offensive capabilities," says US Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner. "Israel, like every other country in the world, is entitled to self-defense.  However, there are scenarios when a nominally 'defensive' weapon such as an anti-missile battery dramatically changes the strategic balance and enhances offensive capabilities. With an effective missile defense shield in place, Israel will feel emboldened to launch additional wars of aggression, similar to or even larger in scale than those launched against Lebanon (July-August 2006) and the Gaza Strip (December 2008-January 2009).  In past Israeli wars of aggression, thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians have been killed by U.S. missiles. It's Palestinian and Lebanese civilians who are in desperate need of missile defense from Israel."

President Obama has already proposed a record-breaking $3 billion in military aid to Israel in the FY2011 budget.  Israel and Egypt have special exemptions written into the budget that allow them to spend a certain amount of their military aid on their own domestic arms industries rather than in the United States. In the FY2010 budget, this amounted to almost $584 million for the Israeli weapons industry-enough money for Israel to buy nearly 30 "Iron Dome" batteries with U.S. money.

The Israeli military consistently uses U.S. military aid in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which limits the use of U.S. weapons to "internal security" and "legitimate self-defense."  Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip is not "internal" and intentionally killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure is never "legitimate."  In addition, Israel's systematic human rights abuses of Palestinians and its apartheid policies toward them place Israel in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits U.S. aid "to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."

Earlier today, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 325 organizations working to change to U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality, urged its member groups and supporters to contact their Members of Congress to vote "No" on H.R. 5327 later today.