JCRC applauds passage of long-awaited additional $17 billion for Israeli defense

Rep. Ilhan Omar's continued opposition to bipartisan efforts to aid Israel and hold Iran and Hamas accountable speaks for itself.

April 20, 2024:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), released the following statement: 

“Following months of delay and one week after an unprecedented massive attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States House of Representatives finally approved $17 billion in additional aid for Israel’s security as well as $400 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). 

“The package also contains $9 billion in humanitarian aid to Gaza and other war-torn regions worldwide. Critically, like the Senate bill, the House package maintains stringent oversight provisions of the Palestinian aid, including a ban on UNWRA funding.

“With the exception of Representative Ilhan Omar, every member of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota’s House delegations voted for these critically needed funds.

“We thank Representatives Kelly Armstrong, Angie Craig, Tom Emmer, Brad Finstad, Michelle Fischbach, Dusty Johnson, Betty McCollum, Dean Phillips, and Pete Stauber for their leadership.

“This strong bipartisan showing reflects the bill’s overall passage by a margin of 366-55, with the no votes coming from the fringes of the Democratic and Republican parties.

“H.R. 8034 includes $5.2 billion toward replenishing and expanding Israel’s missile and rocket defense system; another $3.5 billion for advanced weapons systems; $1 billion to enhance weapons production; $4.4 billion for other defense supplies and services provided to Israel; and some $2.4 billion to U.S. operations in the region. Given that Israel is actively fighting a multifront war against Iran and its proxies in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, these funds will do much to ensure the ongoing survival of the world’s only Jewish state.

“Relatedly, by an equally bipartisan measure, the House also approved legislation today to further sanction Iran, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorists; direct the sale of frozen Russian assets to benefit Ukraine; and confront China for its role in enabling the importation of fentanyl, supporting Iran, and endangering Americans through its indirect control over TikTok.  Here, too, the same nine Republican and Democratic House members voted in favor of H.R. 8038, with only Rep. Omar voting no.

“Today’s no votes by Rep. Omar follows recent votes where she was one of only a handful of House Democrats, and the only Minnesotan, to vote against strengthening tools to counter Hamas’ use of human shields (H.R. 5917); condemning Iran’s unprecedented attack last weekend of Israel (H.R. 1143); holding Iran’s leaders accountable for their aggression (H.R. 6245); solidifying sanctions against Iran (H.R. 3033); disincentivizing hostage taking (H.R. 3033); sanctioning the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity (H. Res. 288); and expressing the sense of the House that the slogan, ‘from the River to the Sea, Palestine is free’ is antisemitic and its use must be condemned (H. Res. 883).

“After today’s vote on aid for Israel, as well as humanitarian aid for Gaza, Rep. Omar also refused to join a statement signed by most of her progressive House colleagues who expressed that they ‘believe strongly in Israel’s right to self-defense’ and are ‘committed to a sovereign, safe, and secure future for Israel.’

“Based on these votes, it is unnecessary for us to further editorialize on Rep. Omar’s attitude towards the survival of the world’s only Jewish state, her indulgence of Iranian and Palestinian terror, or how much of an outlier Rep. Omar is within the Democratic party. Rep. Omar’s votes speak for themselves.   

“On a more positive note, we also applaud today’s passage of $61 billion for Ukraine and regional partners. As with the Israel package, these funds match what was allocated by the Senate and come at a time when Ukrainians desperately need weapons and munitions to defend their country from Russia’s ongoing unprovoked aggression. 

“We thank Majority Whip Tom Emmer for his leadership in ensuring this bill was brought to the House floor for a vote. Additionally, we thank Reps. Emmer and Dusty Johnson for joining Minnesota’s four Democratic House members in approving these funds for Ukraine. As has been noted previously, the JCRC is proud to have partnered with Minnesota’s Ukrainian community to divest our state’s pension funds from its Russian and Belarussian investments.” 


As the consensus public affairs voice of the Jewish community, JCRC builds relationships to fight antisemitism and bigotry; educates about Judaism, Israel, antisemitism, and the Holocaust; advocates for Jewish values and priorities; and safeguards our community.