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Israel-Palestine war: US lawmakers slam pro-Israel lobbying group for 'inflammatory ads'

Thomas Massie said Aipac 'intentionally misrepresented' his views, with multiple lawmakers denouncing the group's role in Washington
Thomas Massie at the US Capitol Building on 17 October 2023 in Washington, DC (AFP)

US lawmakers have been feuding with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) after the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group attacked them for voting against a resolution supporting Israel.

On Tuesday, Aipac singled out Republican Congressman Thomas Massie in a tweet on the social media platform X, saying that he had stood with "The Squad," a group of progressive Democrats, to vote against supporting Israel and condemning Hamas.

Massie, the sole Republican to vote against the resolution, accused Aipac of  “intentionally misrepresenting” his vote. 

Massie said the resolution “contains an open-ended promise of military support that is so broad that it could be interpreted to commit US soldiers to the conflict”.

He added that while he condemned the “barbaric” 7 October attack on Israel and supported its right to self-defence, he was opposed to sending Israel aid that could also rope the US into a new Middle East war.

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Massie joined nine progressive democrats - including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar - in voting against the resolution.

Aipac also attacked other Democratic lawmakers. 

"Aipac literally ran ads with my face next to Hamas rockets, resulting in a string of threats against my life," Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted on Wednesday. 

"What they are doing is insulting and Islamophobic," she added. 

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi accused Aipac of using "deeply cynical and inflammatory ads" against Omar.  

Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan accused Aipac on Wednesday of being "undemocratic", saying that "they clearly don’t care about dead kids, it’s all about backing a conservative Netanyahu position".

Congresswoman Cortez supported Pocan's allegation, saying "It is past time for us to recognise how toxic of a presence Aipac has been in our political system."

Separately, the House of Representatives will be voting on a bill to provide $14bn in military aid to Israel.

Massie said he would vote against that bill too. 

“Aipac always gets mad when I put America first,” Massie tweeted. “I won’t be voting for their $14+ billion shakedown of American taxpayers either.”

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin were repeatedly interrupted at a  US Senate hearing by protestors opposed to Washington’s stance on the war. 

The Biden administration has refused to call for a ceasefire in the conflict and has said it is not imposing conditions on billions of dollars in military aid to Israel. 

Israel began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip after Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza launched an attack on Israel on 7 October.

On Friday, Israeli ground forces launched a ground invasion of the besieged enclave, where heavy fighting is being reported between Hamas and the Israeli military.

About 1,400 Israelis, mainly civilians, were killed during the 7 October attack, and at least 220 Israelis were taken as hostages. 

So far, more than 8,800 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes, including 3,650 children and 2,903 women, according to Palestinian health officials.

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