AIPAC praises Israel-related funding as it sails through Congress


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the Senate and the House of Representatives for authorizing $3.8 billion in defense assistance for Israel.

The pro-Israel giant thanked an array of Democrats and Republicans in Congress for shepherding through the funding this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, saying the money “will help Israel protect itself against continuing security threats.”

The funding, once unremarkable, now faces calls for cuts from a small group of Democratic Party left-wingers, who say it should be leveraged to pressure Israel not annex parts of the West Bank.

Also included in the House version of the NDAA was $1 million for the office of the State Department’s anti-Semitism monitor, doubling the current amount. Jewish Insider reported that the two Jewish Democrats behind the doubling were Ted Deutch of Florida and Max Rose of New York.

Separately, the House on Friday approved $250 million in funding for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue programs and Palestinian business development. The Alliance for Middle East Peace, an umbrella group for dialogue programs, led lobbying for the funding. The $50 million a year over five years breaks down over time to $110 million for the dialogue programs and $140 million for the investments.

“We know the transformative power of people to people interactions and believe them to be a prerequisite for long-term peace,” ALLMEP said on Twitter, praising particularly Nita Lowey of New York, the pro-Israel stalwart who is chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee and who championed the spending.

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