McCarthy Rebukes 9 Democrats Who Voted Against Pro-Israel Resolution

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
July 19, 2023Congress
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McCarthy Rebukes 9 Democrats Who Voted Against Pro-Israel Resolution
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to the media during a briefing in National Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington on July 17, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted the nine Democrats who voted against a pro-Israel resolution in the House of Representatives.

The resolution passed on July 18, 412-9-1. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) voted “present.” The members who voted against the resolution were Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).

“Well, if you look at the nine Democrats there, they’ve got a real antisemitic problem inside their confidence, and it seems to be growing with their leadership doing nothing about it,” Mr. McCarthy told The Epoch Times on July 19. “They allow them to continue to say the things they have, to equate the U.S. military to the Taliban, to say Israel is evil, to say only members’ relationship with Israel is all about the Benjamins.”

In June 2021, Ms. Omar equated the United States and Israel to the Taliban and Hamas, the latter of which is a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” posted Ms. Omar on Twitter.

Ms. Omar subsequently sought to clarify her tweet.

“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” she said in a statement. “To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel. I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

In 2019, Ms. Omar posted in a now-deleted tweet that U.S. lawmaker support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins, baby,” echoing the antisemitic notion that Israel pays lawmakers to support the Jewish state. Ms. Omar later apologized.

“I mean, they continue to allow this behavior, antisemitic talk, go on and ignore it,” said Mr. McCarthy. “But what’s even worse is they let them allow to be the most influential head of a caucus they have in their entire conference. So it shows that the Democratic Conference will ignore antisemitism and allow it to grow in their own conference.”

The resolution, introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), states that Congress believes: “The state of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state,” and that “Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia,” and that “the United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.”

‘Racist State’

The resolution comes in the aftermath of Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), calling Israel a “racist state.”

NTD Photo
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in Washington on April 28, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“As somebody who’s been in the streets and participated in a lot of demonstrations, I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state,” Ms. Jayapal told pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the annual conference for the progressive organization Netroots Nation on July 16.

“That the Palestinian people deserve self-determination and autonomy, that the dream of a two-state solution is slipping away from us, that it does not even feel possible,” she continued.

However, Ms. Jayapal later reversed course, saying the Jewish state is not racist but that its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his government are.

“At a conference, I attempted to defuse a tense situation during a panel where fellow members of Congress were being protested. Words do matter, and so it is important that I clarify my statement,” she said in a statement.

“I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist,” continued Ms. Jayapal. “I do, however, believe that Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing government has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies and that there are extreme racists driving that policy within the leadership of the current government.

“I believe it is incumbent on all of us who are striving to make our world a more just and equitable place to call out and condemn these policies and this current Netanyahu government’s role in furthering them.”

Ms. Jayapal reiterated her call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

She explained that her response at the conference was her “responding to the deep pain and hopelessness that exists for Palestinians and their diaspora communities when it comes to this debate, but I in no way intended to deny the deep pain and hurt of Israelis and their Jewish diaspora community that still reels from the trauma of pogroms and persecution, the Holocaust, and continuing antisemitism and hate violence that is rampant today.”

House Democrat leadership—House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), House Democrat Conference Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), and Vice Chair Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)—rebutted Ms. Jayapal’s initial claim while not calling out Ms. Jayapal by name or condemning her.

“Israel is not a racist state. As a Jewish and Democratic nation, Israel was founded 75 years ago on the principle of complete equality of social and political rights for all of its citizens irrespective of religion, race or sex, as codified in its Declaration of Independence,” they said in a statement.

“America and Israel have a uniquely special relationship anchored in our shared democratic values and strategic interests,” continued House Democrat leadership.

“As House Democratic leaders, we strongly support Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people. We are also firmly committed to a robust two-state solution where Israel and the Palestinian people can live side by side in peace and prosperity.”

While House Democrat leadership went on to acknowledge that there are members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition and of Congress with whom they disagree, it reiterated its commitment to ensuring bipartisan support for the Jewish state.

Additionally, a statement signed by 43 House Democrats, including nine in the CPC, circulated as of July 16 evening, rebuking Ms. Jayapal by name.

“Israel remains the only vibrant, progressive, and inclusive democracy in the region. Arab parties serve in the Knesset, women serve at the highest levels of the military, and the country remains an oasis for LGBT people in a region hostile toward the community. Pluralism flourishes in Israel,” wrote the members.

“We are deeply concerned about Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s unacceptable comments regarding our historic, democratic ally Israel, and we appreciate her retraction,” they continued.

‘Israel Remains Our Greatest Partner’

The Democrat members went on to stress the meaning of Israel.

NTD Photo
Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaks to reporters about his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington on July 18, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

“Israel is the legitimate homeland of the Jewish people and efforts to delegitimize and demonize it are not only dangerous and antisemitic, but they also undermine America’s national security,” they wrote.

“Israel is critical to our fight against terror, and our defense and intelligence collaboration continues to strengthen our leadership in the world. Israel remains our greatest partner for peace in the Middle East.

“Any efforts to rewrite history and question the Jewish State’s right to exist, or our historic bipartisan relationship, will never succeed in Congress. We remain committed to peace between Israel and the Palestinians to establish two states that exist side-by-side in peace, prosperity, and mutual security.”

The members vowed to “never allow anti-Zionist voices that embolden antisemitism to undermine and disrupt the strongly bipartisan consensus supporting the U.S.–Israel relationship that has existed for decades.”

Ms. Jayapal’s initial claim falls under examples of antisemitism under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by dozens of countries such as the United States, in that an instance of hatred toward Jews includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

The resolution and the controversy surrounding Ms. Jayapal come ahead of Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressing a joint session of Congress on July 19. Ms. Omar and Mr. Bowman, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Bush, and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) have said they will boycott the speech.

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