Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seen in June 2019, sent a letter to lawmakers saying, “It is long past time to end the US policy of unconditional military arms sales, particularly to governments that have violated human rights.” (Photo/JTA-Tom Williams-CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seen in June 2019, sent a letter to lawmakers saying, “It is long past time to end the US policy of unconditional military arms sales, particularly to governments that have violated human rights.” (Photo/JTA-Tom Williams-CQ Roll Call)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leads push in Congress to block arms sale to Israel

A trio of progressive Congress members is about to propose a resolution to block a $735 million weapons sale to Israel over concerns about its actions in Gaza, Jewish Currents reported, citing an early draft of the resolution. 

The sponsors of the legislation targeting the transfer of precision-guided missiles to Israel are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, all Democrats. 

The arms deal has made headlines as Israel and Hamas exchange fire in a round of fighting that started 10 days ago and has left hundreds dead, mostly Palestinians living in Gaza. 

“At a time when so many, including our president, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to prime minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence,” says an email obtained by Jewish Currents that was sent out by Ocasio-Cortez’s office to ask other lawmakers for support. “It is long past time to end the US policy of unconditional military arms sales, particularly to governments that have violated human rights.”

The progressive lawmakers appear to be picking up where the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks, a fellow Democrat, left off. 

Meeks had considered sending a letter to the White House asking for a delay in the transfer of the arms shipment in light of the hostilities, but ultimately decided against it. His momentary consideration marked a shift in how congressional leaders have traditionally related to Israeli security matters. 

Asaf Shalev

JTA correspondent

JTA

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