The highest-ranking progressive Democrat in the House of Representatives just made a shocking statement, saying over the weekend during a speech that Israel was a “racist state.”
Representative Pramila Jayapal of California, who serves as the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ chair, was giving a speech at the Netroots Nation activist conference, an annual event that was held in Chicago this year.
While speaking, she was interrupted by demonstrators with the “Free Palestine” movement. Instead of ignoring them and continuing on with her speech, she actually addressed them and empowered them by saying:
“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.”
She got a loud round of applause from the crowd when she said:
“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 said that she, and the other people who were standing with her on the stage that day, were fighting for the rights of Palestinians. She said:
“I want you to know that while you may have arguments with whether or not some of us on stage are fighting hard enough, I do want you to know there is an organized opposition on the other side, and it isn’t the people who are on this stage.”
The Democratic Party is starting to see some splinters develop in their approach to Israel. Many have stuck firmly behind Israel, while many others have started to turn away from Israel to support Palestine.
The most prominent of the Israel “defectors” would be Jayapal and the other progressive members of the House. That includes outspoken members of the “Squad” such as Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Both of those representatives have focused on the rights of Palestinians during their time in Congress, while at the same time spewing hate and accusations of racism toward Israel.
Omar recently said “there is no way in hell” she’ll be attending this week’s joint meeting between Congress and Isaac Herzog, the president of Israel.
In response to her comments, people took to social media to express their disgust with Jayapal. For instance, Emily Schrader, a journalist, tweeted:
“Someone should tell @RepJayapal that antisemitism ain’t progressive.”
And Bryan Leib, who serves as the Combating Antisemitism Everywhere PAC’s executive director, tweeted:
“Vile comments such as these from @RepJayapal @PramilaJayapal are in line with similar comments from @AOC, @IlhanMN, @RashidaTlaib, @CoriBush, @JamaalBowmanNY and many others. If my friends on the other side want me to stop saying their party gives shelter to these bigots then it’s time to actually start pushing back and calling them out. Right now!”
This is nothing new for Jayapal, of course, as she’s consistently criticized the settlement and annexation policies, uring Congress over and over again to influence Israel on the issue of the West Bank.