Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy called on House Democratic leadership to take further action against Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal for her assertion that Israel is a “racist state.”
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Whip Katherine Clark, and Conference Chairman Pete Aguilar released a joint statement Monday condemning Jayapal’s comments, describing Israel as an “ally and beacon of democracy in the Middle East.” Jayapal also apologized. McCarthy called for further condemnation, noting her position as chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and repeated antisemitic remarks from left-wing Democrats.
“This isn’t the first person in the Democratic conference that has continued to make antisemitic comments. We’ve watched what they continually do. There are a number of them over there. I think if the Democrats want to believe that they do not have a conference that continues to make antisemitic remarks, they need to do something about it,” McCarthy told reporters at a Monday press conference.
Several House Democrats have a long history of anti-semitic remarks. It is absolutely unacceptable. Anti-semitism has no place in the United States Congress. https://t.co/HXsYPDmyaS
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) July 17, 2023
The Speaker noted several other left-wing Democrats who have made antisemitic remarks, including “Squad” members Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The House voted along party lines in January 2023 to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with Republicans citing her repeated comments that Israel’s supporters only advocate for the country for financial reasons.
“She equated the U.S. military and Israeli security forces with Hamas and the Taliban. She said support for Israel is ‘all about the Benjamins.’ Supporters of Israel have allegiance to a foreign country. Tlaib, what did she say inside their conference? That she had a ‘calming feeling’ when discussing the Holocaust. Who in their right mind could even say that?” he asked.
McCarthy added that he would leave any punishment up to Democratic leadership. Jeffries has previously faced heat for his defenses of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and his uncle Leonard Jeffries, a professor who was fired from the City University of New York for baseless claims that Jews controlled the slave trade. (RELATED: Hakeem Jeffries Compared ‘Token Black’ Conservatives To ‘House Negroes’ In College Newspaper)
“I think this is a role for the leader, Hakeem, to prove that, no, they’re not antisemitic and they can not allow their members to continue to say what they have said in the past,” the speaker said.
Israeli president Isaac Herzog will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Democrats Omar, New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, and Missouri Rep. Cori Bush are expected to boycott the speech.