Top House Democrats Rebuke Progressive Leader’s Comments, Deny Israel as a Racist State

Top House Democrats are criticizing Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s recent comments referring to Israel as a “racist state.” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, and Vice Chair Ted Lieu issued a statement rejecting Jayapal’s remarks without specifically mentioning her name. These Democrats expressed “deep concern” and labeled the comments as “unacceptable,” vowing to prevent anti-Zionist voices from hijacking the Democratic Party and the nation. This pushback comes ahead of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s upcoming address to Congress, which some progressives have indicated they will skip due to concerns about human rights.

House progressives have been vocal in their opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the US sponsorship of Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Jayapal, a Washington State Democrat, made the controversial statement during a panel discussion at the Netroots Nation conference in Chicago while addressing pro-Palestine protesters. She later attempted to clarify her statement, emphasizing her commitment to a two-state solution and apologizing to those who were hurt by her words.

Some members of her own party, including Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, found Jayapal’s comments hurtful, harmful, and inaccurate. Wasserman Schultz stated that Jayapal retracted her statement after speaking with several Jewish members of Congress. She also emphasized the importance of being careful about words spoken in the heat of the moment.

The draft statement from some Democrats condemns anti-Semitism and highlights the national security implications of delegitimizing and demonizing Israel. House Democratic leadership expressed their firm commitment to Israel as an “invaluable partner” and expressed their anticipation of President Herzog’s visit to the United States House of Representatives.

Jayapal, along with other progressive members of Congress, has indicated that she will likely not attend Herzog’s speech on Capitol Hill. Democratic leadership, including then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, had extended the invitation to Herzog last year. Herzog’s visit to the White House will take place on Tuesday, during which President Biden will reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.

The Biden administration has not invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington since taking office, due to policy differences between the two governments. The story will continue to be updated with further developments.

Title: Top House Democrats Rebuke Remarks About Israel Made by Progressive Caucus Chair

Introduction: Several high-ranking House Democrats have criticized comments made by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who referred to Israel as a “racist state.” The party leaders expressed concern over Jayapal’s remarks, rejecting her characterization of Israel and vowing to prevent anti-Zionist voices from influencing the Democratic Party and the country. This rebuke comes ahead of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s planned address to Congress, an event that some progressive members have indicated they will skip as a protest against alleged human rights violations.