Republican accuses pro-Israel group of ‘foreign interference in our elections’ after Iron Dome criticism
A Republican lawmaker has accused a pro-Israel group of “foreign interference in our elections” after it denounced him for not backing Iron Dome.
Congressman Thomas Massie attacked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) after it criticised him on social media.
An AIPAC Facebook advert read: “Efforts to cut, add conditions, or restrict America’s strong, bipartisan commitment to Israel will only harm America’s national interests,” next to a picture of Mr Massie.
“When Israel faced rocket attacks, Thomas Massie voted against Iron Dome,” the caption added.
The Kentucky congressman was the only Republican to vote against a $1bn bill to fund Israel’s defence system, which protects the country from neighbouring rocket attacks.
How is THIS not foreign interference in our elections? pic.twitter.com/O5LSToIBUO
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 27, 2021
Mr Massie was joined by the likes of Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in voting against the bill, which easily passed through the House of Representatives.
The lawmaker took to twitter to defend himself from the AIPAC attack.
“How is THIS not foreign interference in our elections?” He wrote, despite AIPAC being an American group.
We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work. https://t.co/L2qeejkJBF
— AIPAC - Text IRON DOME to 73075 (@AIPAC) September 27, 2021
Following his tweet, AIPAC responded by saying that it “will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”
And they added: “We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. “
After the vote Mr Massie said that he had voted against adding to US debt.
“My position of ‘no foreign aid’ might sound extreme to some, but I think it’s extreme to bankrupt our country and put future generations of Americans in hock to our debtors,” he said.
The Iron Dome was specially designed to protect Israel against a range of incoming short-range threats.
During the 2006 war Israel fought with Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah movement, thousands of rockets were launched into Israel killing dozens of people and causing severe damage.
Following the conflict, Israel developed the missile defence shield, which became operational in 2011 and fires interceptor missiles to take out rockets launched at the country.