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Rep. Cori Bush calls Israel an ‘apartheid state’ after voting against Iron Dome funding

Stop the Bans rally

Congresswoman Cori Bush, D-MO, shares her personal story of abortion during a Stop the Bans rally held Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, at the Old Courthouse. Abortion rights activists held the event to oppose abortion bans, including Missouri's eight-week abortion ban, which faces a hearing in federal appeals court later this month. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,


JEFFERSON CITY — U.S. Rep. Cori Bush said Thursday that the United States shouldn’t be funding an “apartheid state’s military” after voting against $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

“Palestinians deserve freedom from militarized violence too,” Bush said on Twitter. “We shouldn’t be sending an additional $1B to an apartheid state’s military. Especially not when we are failing to adequately invest in the health care, housing, education, and other social services our communities need.”

Israeli leaders and supporters strongly oppose use of the word “apartheid” when referring to the country.

Bush’s tweet followed a vote in the U.S. House on Thursday to approve $1 billion to support the Iron Dome missile defense system in Israel. Bush was one of nine House members to vote against the funding.

During debate, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., a daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents, was the lone lawmaker to speak against the funding, saying Congress should also be talking about the Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks.

She also called Israel “an apartheid regime,” provoking strong condemnation from Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.

He rejected that description and said the characterization was “consistent with those who advocate for the dismantling of the one Jewish state in the world.”

But even though many have rejected use of the term, which refers to the system of institutionalized segregation that allowed a white minority to control Black-majority South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s, others have started using it when referring to Israel, which controls Palestinian territories.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem early this year began referring to Israel and its control of the territories as a single “apartheid” regime.

B’Tselem said that while Palestinians live under different forms of Israeli control in the occupied West Bank, blockaded Gaza, annexed east Jerusalem and within Israel itself, they have fewer rights than Jews in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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