On July 15, 2023, Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called Israel “a racist state,” prompting condemnations from leaders of both parties and dissemination of a letter from 43 Democrats calling her remarks, without mentioning her by name, “dangerous and antisemitic.”
She subsequently clarified her remark, “I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist. I do, however, believe that Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing government has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies and that there are extreme racists driving that policy within the leadership of the current government.”
In response, the House passed a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that:
(1) the State of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state;
(2) Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia; and
(3) the United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.
The resolution passed by a vote of 412 to 9, with Jayapal supporting it. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) was the only person who spoke against it. The other Democrats voting against it were Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York; Cori Bush of Missouri; Andre Carson of Indiana; Summer Lee of Pennsylvania; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; and Delia Ramirez of Illinois. Betty McCollum of Minnesota voted present.
Sources: “Jayapal Statement on Israel Comments,” Pramila Jayapal Congresswoman for WA-07, (July 16, 2023).
“H. CON. RES. 57,” Congress.gov, (July 17, 2023).
Barbara Sprunt, “Top House Democrats reject Rep. Jayapal’s comments calling Israel a ‘racist state,’” NPR, (July 17, 2023).
Lawrence Richard, “More than 40 Dems turn on ‘Squad’ member for Israel criticism: ‘dangerous and antisemitic,’” Fox News, (July 18, 2023).
Karoun Demirjian, “House Votes Resoundingly to Back Israel, Rebuking Democratic Critics,” New York Times, (July 18, 2023).