Far-left Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) Faces Backlash Over Anti-Israel Comments
Far-left Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is facing condemnation from fellow House Democrats after making controversial statements about Israel. During a panel discussion with fellow hardliners Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Chuy Garcia (D-AZ), anti-Israel demonstrators chanted that “Israel is a racist state,” to which Jayapal responded, “I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state, that the Palestinian people deserve self-determination and autonomy.”
The comments drew applause and cheers from some members of the audience but were soon rebuked by fellow Democrats. In a letter from the House Democratic leadership, it was stated, “Israel is not a racist state. America and Israel have a uniquely special relationship anchored in our shared democratic values and strategic interests. As House Democratic leaders, we strongly support Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.”
Following the backlash, Jayapal released a statement attempting to clarify her comments. She stated, “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. I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist.” However, she criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing his government of engaging in discriminatory and racist policies.
A separate letter from a group of Jewish Democrats expressed “deep concern” over Jayapal’s remarks, calling them ”unacceptable.” The letter emphasized that anti-Zionist voices that embolden antisemitism should not be allowed to hijack the Democratic Party and the country.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called upon House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to address Jayapal’s and other Democrats’ anti-Israel comments, highlighting that this is not the first time such remarks have been made within the Democratic conference. McCarthy referenced Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) previous comparison of Israel with the Taliban and other controversial statements.
These comments from Jayapal come ahead of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to a joint session of Congress, commemorating the Jewish State’s 75th Anniversary. While Democratic leadership has been receptive to Herzog’s visit, far-left Democrats, including Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and Cori Bush (D-MO), have announced that they will not attend the speech in protest. Jayapal is reportedly undecided on whether she will attend.
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