House Republicans filed a resolution on Thursday to censure Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) after she called Israel a "racist state."
The resolution was filed by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Andy Ogles (R-TN), and Randy Weber (R-TX). It is unclear if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy intends to bring the resolution to the floor.
Last week, Israel's President Isaac Herzog addressed a joint session of Congress following a bipartisan resolution passing the House stating that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state in a public rebuke against Jayapal. The Congresswoman attempted to walk back her comments and even voted "yes" on the resolution supporting Israel, which did not specifically name her. The Progressive Caucus chair wrote in a statement, “Today I voted yes on H.Con.Res.57. This resolution had clear political motivations.”
She added, “I made my views clear on this topic and the statement I released on Sunday,” noting a statement she released attempting to walk back her antisemitic comments while still insisting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his government are racist.
Last week, Progressive Democrats in the far-left "Squad" voted against a resolution stating that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state days after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) referred to the Jewish state using that terminology.
The resolution passed the house 412-9, with the 9 progressives voting against it and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) voting "present."
The progressive Democrats who voted against the resolution were Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Cori Bush (MS), Ilhan Omar (MN), Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Summer Lee (PA), Andre Carson (IN) and Delia Ramirez (IL).
Last Saturday, Jayapal told anti-Israel protestors, “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, 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.”
The progressive congresswoman indicated last week that similar comments would come in the future stating, “I intend to continue to speak out on this issue.” Following her initial comments, in interviews with media outlets, Jayapal already began walking back her apology and blamed the backlash to her comments on sexism and racism.
She called the resolution triggered by her remarks Republican “political games of distraction.”
The vote on the resolution came the day Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with US President Joe Biden.
Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have announced that they would boycott Herzog's speech commemorating the ties between the two countries to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary, which took place on Wednesday.
Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, falsely claimed before the final vote, "We're here again reaffirming Congress' support for apartheid. It's an attempt to deny the reality and to normalize violence of apartheid."
Contrary to Tlaib’s outlandish claims, in the Jewish state, Israeli Arabs have the right to vote, serve in the Knesset and as Supreme Court justices. Additionally, members of the LGBTQ community enjoy full rights unlike in other Middle Eastern countries. Conversely, Jews are not permitted in Gaza and members of the LGBTQ community are persecuted there.
Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX) introduced the resolution supporting Israel in response to Jayapal’s remarks.
Pfluger told Fox News, "Israel is our most important partner in the Middle East. It is critical for the US Congress to send a unified message that we stand with Israel and unequivocally support our Jewish communities. I am extremely disappointed that Democrat members refused to vote against antisemitism and affirm that Israel is not a racist state."
In addition to drawing international backlash, Jayapal’s comments were condemned by dozens of her Democratic colleagues, including the party’s House leadership.
According to a statement from the Republican Jewish Coalition, "Apologists for the anti-Israel caucus of the Democratic Party frequently claim their actions and rhetoric are in opposition to Netanyahu, but boycotting Herzog, a former Labor Party standard-bearer who represents the State of Israel - not a political party, faction, or policy - shows they really oppose Israel."
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