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Sending Aid Only to Israel—Not Ukraine—Leaves the U.S. Vulnerable

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Originally published in Newsweek

Written by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan

More than 80 years ago, just days before the Wannsee Conference and the penning of Hitler’s “Final Solution,” my father was born to Jewish parents in war-torn Lviv, then in Poland, and now Ukraine.


By some miracle, he survived, his identity hidden but growing up in plain sight with forged papers and under the care of a Christian couple near Warsaw, Poland. Tragically, the vast majority of my father’s family was murdered in the Holocaust. 

Following the war, my very young father and his mother made the harrowing journey from Bremerhaven, Germany, to New York. Unbeknownst to him for more than 70 years, an older cousin of his had also survived the war. She made her own way, by way of Russia, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and nascent Israel, to finally settle in Australia. My father’s family is here in the U.S. His cousin’s family are in both Australia and Israel. He is 81. She is now nearly 98. 

Today, the war of good vs. evil is being waged again. And not by coincidence, it is being fought on at least two active fronts: Ukraine and Israel. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and a member of Congress just a generation later, I write this appeal: we must remember the storied pasts of both Ukraine and Israel, how they remain intertwined, and why separating our support for their fights for freedom is an affront to democracy. 

Here in the United States, a country whose actions helped bring about a decisive victory in WWII, we find ourselves with a newly installed speaker of the House. We also find ourselves with a request from the president of the United States for funding to support both Ukraine and Israel, among other priorities like securing our southern border. These funding requests are all deeply connected—at their center is the preservation of democracy and the security of the American people.  

As we head back to Washington after a divisive, weeks-long battle for the speaker’s gavel, the GOP-led House is poised to deny President Joe Biden’s request to pass a clean supplemental funding bill. Instead, each of these requests will be decoupled, possibly with some parts not even getting a vote on the House floor at all. Even worse, House Republicans are politicizing our support for Israel, by proposing absurd budget offsets for money sent to our ally. I’m glad to see Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dismiss their callous and unserious plan outright. 

While Speaker Mike Johnson’s views on supporting Ukraine are rumored to be “evolving,” I’m concerned that he is not, in truth, supportive of further funding to Ukraine. He and others inexplicably, and perhaps conveniently, seem to believe we can only 

concentrate on Israel and Taiwan. And that Ukraine, distinct from Israel, should be subject to unique progress or accountability measures. 

This is a political stunt and an outrage. As recently as Sept. 28, the House indicated continued support of Ukraine with a vote of 311 to 117.  

That is why I loudly call for Johnson and my colleagues in the House to immediately vote for the president’s full supplemental in its entirety, as it was presented. I also call out to my friends in the faith communities who have been understandably vocal in their outreach and demand of support for Israel that they also demand this Congress fund the whole effort with a singular sense of urgency. 

People are fighting and dying on all fronts. As our pasts have been tied to one another, so is our collective future. The fates of all of us who value life, freedom, and democracy are connected, and right now these principles are under direct threat. 

We are being asked by the president to see the interconnectivity of these issues. As evidenced by my own father’s journey, I see it very clearly—and you should, too. Let us not look back with regret that we could have done more to preserve global democracy, and as a result, the safety of our homeland and the security of our shared humanity. Now is the time to demand that my colleagues across the aisle step up to protect our national security and these pivotal democracies across the globe 

Chrissy Houlahan represents the 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in Congress, which includes all of Chester County and the southern part of Berks County. Houlahan serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence and is an active member of the New Democrat Coalition. Last year, Houlahan, her father, and several family members traveled back to Israel to witness the posthumous presentation of Israel’s “Righteous Among the Nations” award to the Catholic priest who forged her father’s papers and saved his life.