Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and 18 House Democrats on Tuesday voted against a resolution that honored the U.S.-Israeli relationship on Israeli Independence Day and expressed support for expanding and strengthening the Abraham Accords — the 2020 agreement establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The resolution — which had bipartisan sponsorship — cleared the chamber in a 401-19 vote. This year marks 75 years since Israel declared its independence.
Massie, who frequently votes against legislation pertaining to international matters, was the only Republican to oppose the measure. He was joined by 18 Democrats, 17 of whom are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Progressives who voted against the measure included Reps. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Andre Carson (Ind.), Mark DeSaulnier (Calif.), Jesús “Chuy” García (Ill.), Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Jared Huffman (Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Delia Ramirez (Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.).
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who is not a member of the Progressive Caucus, also opposed the resolution.
It was not immediately clear why the House Democrats voted against the legislation. But progressives have regularly criticized the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians, particularly under the tenure of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, resolutions similar to the one brought up on Tuesday have been introduced every five years to mark Israel’s Independence Day, known as Yom Ha’atzmaut. This year’s version, however, reportedly broke with previous editions because it did not reference a two-state solution.
The measure considered on Tuesday specifically calls for “encouraging the expansion and strengthening of the Abraham Accords to urge other nations to normalize relations with Israel and ensure that existing agreements reap tangible security and economic benefits for the citizens of those countries and all peoples in the region.”
The Abraham Accords, signed under the Trump administration, normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, making Abu Dhabi the first Arab country to establish relations with Tel Aviv in more than two decades. Bahrain also signed onto the accords after pronouncements from Sudan and Morocco to strengthen relations with Israel.
The resolution also said the House encourages Washington and Tel Aviv “to continue to deepen and expand bilateral cooperation” on economic, security and civilian matters. It “expresses continued support for security assistance to Israel as outlined in the United States-Israel Memorandum of Understanding to ensure that Israel can defend itself by itself.”
Additionally, the resolution stated that the House “supports Israel’s robust involvement as an active member of the community of nations to benefit Israel and the United States as partners who share common values and a commitment to democracy.”
The resolution’s sponsors hailed House approval of the measure.
“The United States and Israel have stood together as partners since Israel’s founding 75 years ago to overcome shared challenges and global threats,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “Together, we’ve achieved major milestones, such as the signing of the historic Abraham Accords. I look forward to continuing the longstanding tradition of friendship and partnership between our two countries.”
Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) highlighted the history of the “extraordinary and enduring alliance” between Washington and Tel Aviv.
“For 75 years, the United States and Israel have built an extraordinary and enduring alliance based on our shared interests and fundamental values. Together, our two countries have championed democracy, partnered on technological achievements, increased regional security, and celebrated our shared fundamental values,” Manning said.
“On the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence, I’m proud of the accomplishments our countries have achieved together, including the historic Abraham Accords, and I look forward to strengthening both the historic, bipartisan U.S. Israel relationship, and a two-state solution in the years to come,” she added.