Recently, a cohort of US progressives - all Democrats and including the Squad - were able to deny a billion dollars of funding for Israel's Iron Dome. Even if, as The Washington Times claims, a similar provision will be pushed through before year end, that such funding was denied shows that the Palestinian rights movement - BDS - is going from strength to strength. Especially if it is the first time such a sizeable tranche of military funding was denied.

Was this the first time such funding was denied? And how were they able to manage such a coup?

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    First, I don't think it's necessary to specify that progressives are Democrats. The closest thing the GOP has to a progressive is (perhaps) Mitt Romney. Second, BDS isn't specifically attached to Palestine; it began long ago with South African divestment and has moved through a couple of lesser concerns before turning to the Palestinian issue. Third, Israel's standing in the US has been sinking gradually over the last 30 years or so, largely because of its own rather unsavory behaviors. This might just be the natural progression of our relationship to them. Sep 23, 2021 at 14:43
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    @Ted Wrigley: BDS is separate to the South African divestment movement. In fact, it was modelled on it. Also, I didn't know progressives were all democrats - I just guessed. Hence it's worth spelling out. Sep 23, 2021 at 16:18
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    why blame a few dems when every gop voted against it? seems a biased telling...
    – dandavis
    Sep 23, 2021 at 20:54
  • @dandavis: What do you mean by 'a biased telling'? Sep 23, 2021 at 21:25
  • @TedWrigley - It is also unclear that the Palestinian rights movement can be equated with BDS, although perhaps the question meant "the Palestinian rights movement BDS," thus not equating the two. Furthermore, as you indicate, there are a number of other explanations for the failure of the provision besides the hypothetical increasing strength of the BDS movement, ranging from Israel's own actions having become more egregious in recent years, to a larger number of Democratic Politicians having become more progressive than in the past.
    – Obie 2.0
    Sep 24, 2021 at 3:02

2 Answers 2


To answer the title question, in an omnibus spending bill if you give enough people a reason to vote against it, by going over their individual "red lines", that can sink a bill.

In this case, the Republicans had basically announced that they would vote against it, along the lines of:

A notice from House GOP leadership to Republican lawmakers states that "Republicans will not aid the Democrats in their socialist tax and spending spree."

So any further "defections" from the Democratic camp on the bill (over whatever reasons) could sink it, because they have a narrow majority. I haven't followed all the special elections, but back in April, this kind of situation was essentially predicted:

the narrow majority means that essentially any two [Democratic House] members can have a veto over certain legislation. Progressives in the House may also try to use their leverage to block legislation which they believe does not go far enough.

Also, the affair provided the Republicans the opportunity to accuse the Democrats of caving in to anti-Semitic elements in their midst:

Republicans, who refused to support the bill themselves, even with the Iron Dome provision included, quickly accused Democrats of undermining Israel’s security.

House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted: “Democrats just pulled funding from the Iron Dome — the missile defense system that has saved countless lives in Israel from Hamas’ rocket attacks. While Dems capitulate to the antisemitic influence of their radical members, Republicans will always stand with Israel.”

Regarding the separate legislation on the Iron Dome, which was quickly introduced, at least Rashida Tlaib had announced she was going to vote against it. Ilhan Omar also expressed disapproval of this latter bill. Most recent news is that

The measure cleared the House in a bipartisan vote of 420 to 9. Eight Democrats and one Republican voted against the funding for the missile defense system. Two other Democrats — Hank Johnson of Georgia and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — voted "present."

There's a full list now available of who voted against:

The "no" votes were Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; Cori Bush, D-Mo.; André Carson, D-Ind.; Marie Newman, D-Ill., Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Chuy Garcia, D-Ill.; and Thomas Massie, R-Ky.


U.S. progressives, or any other group for that matter, were not able to deny sending Israel a billion dollars for the iron dome. The vote to send funding passed the house in late Sep 2021 by a vote of 420 to 9, with 2 members voting present.


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    This is included at the end of Fizz' answer.
    – Jan
    Sep 24, 2021 at 14:56

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