U.S. support for Israel is one issue that has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support for decades, but recently, that's starting to change. Jewish Congresswoman Elaine Luria recently spoke to CBN News about why she's concerned with the growing number of her Democratic colleagues publicly espousing anti-Israel views.
"I've always viewed the U.S. support for Israel as incredibly strong," Luria told CBN News. "Israel's our strongest ally in the Middle East and the U.S. Congress was a place where that support was unanimous, and I've come to find that although it is broad and bipartisan there are some very vocal voices that unfortunately continue to get louder, that we have to make absolutely sure don't undermine that broad support that we have for Israel."
When Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) came to Washington in 2019, she never expected her first speech on the House floor would be standing up against antisemitic comments made by fellow Democrats regarding dual-loyalty, the first of many times she's defended Israel during her time in office.
"I deployed six times, serving in six ships in the Middle East and Western Pacific, working under challenging conditions while operating complex weapons systems, overseeing nuclear reactors, driving ships, and ultimately commanding a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors. Is that not enough to prove my loyalty to our nation?" asked Luria on the House floor. "I believe that I speak clearly, for all fellow Jewish veterans, that this echoes of language that has been used to marginalize and persecute the Jewish people for centuries."
Luria, a 20-year Navy veteran, tells CBN News she finds accusations of dual loyalty misplaced. "I find it shocking that other members of the House can perpetuate these tropes and things related to dual loyalty," she said.
Luria says she's surprised how often she's had to speak out against antisemitism during her time in Congress and she believes some in her own party would prefer to say Israel doesn't have a right to exist.
"They've said it clearly and publicly and some of the rhetoric that has been used recently, referring to Israel as an apartheid state and different things that really overlook the unique situation of Israel and the unique security situation of Israel and Israel's need to be able to defend itself. So I think that it is very concerning when elected members of Congress voice those types of opinions," Luria continued.
Recently, eight Democrats and one Republican voted against providing $1 billion in funding to restock Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System after Hamas launched more than 4,000 rockets across the border last May.
"It is concerning that there were a very small amount of members that felt like they couldn't support providing Israel with the resources to defend itself," said Luria. "I would just reiterate to people that's an incredibly small number and they do not represent the majority of the House."
A few years ago, Luria sat down with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to voice concern about her anti-Israel rhetoric. "I was hopeful that moving forward that she would change her tone, and others, but unfortunately that group has actually grown both in numbers and visibility," Luria explained.
Luria plans to continue to fight antisemitism and hopes to help her colleagues understand the importance of U.S. support for Israel.
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