A member of the “Squad” of far-left House Democrats received backlash over the weekend on social media after she accused Israel of being a “racist state.”
The condemnation of Israel from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, came in response to outbursts from pro-Palestinian protesters who interrupted a panel she spoke on.
“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,” Jayapal said at the far-left Netroots Nation Conference in Chicago.
“It is people that are literally trying to make sure that we do not take the positions we take, that the rest of the progressive caucus has been pushing and pushing,” she added.
The video of the exchange quickly went viral, with a wide variety of criticism toward Jayapal.
“A disgraceful statement that’s particularly tone deaf when thousands of Israelis are in the streets protesting to protect their democracy,” Jason Brodsky, the policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, tweeted.” “#Israel’s previous government included Ra’am in the coalition. That’s not what a racist state does.”
“You can never be extreme enough for these people,” Miranda Devine, a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor, tweeted.
“[Rep. Jayapal], you are despicable,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., tweeted. “This is truly disgusting, especially coming from a member of Congress.”
Several members of “The Squad” have announced they will boycott Israel President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress this week. Jayapal has repeatedly called for a two-state solution in the region.
“There is no way in hell I am attending the joint session address from a President whose country has banned me and denied [U.S. Rep. from Michigan] Rashida Tlaib the ability to see her grandma,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said in a series of tweets. She also said the U.S. government should not have invited him to speak in the first place.
“Pramila Jayapal is on stage, slandering Israel, and by extension the Jewish people’s right to freedom and self-determination as ‘racist.’ This is anti-Semitism,” Caroline Glick, a senior contributing editor at the Jewish News Syndicate, tweeted.
“Calling the only nation state of the Jews ‘racists’ when offers all its citizens, including Arabs & Muslims equality rights, is something I would expect to hear from the Ayatollahs in Iran or members of the mullah regime “parliament”, NOT a member of Congress! FOR SHAME JAYAPAL!” Karmel Melamed, a journalist, tweeted.
Jayapal released a long statement on Twitter and on her office’s website Sunday afternoon attempting to clarify her comments on Israel, saying she does not “believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist.” However, she accused the “extreme right-wing government” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of pushing “outright racist policies.”
“I have always worked toward a two-state solution that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live freely, safely, and with self-determination alongside each other and that is still what I am absolutely committed to,” Jayapal said. “I also know that the many policies of the current Israeli government, including rampant settlement expansion, make it extremely difficult for Palestinians who simply want the same rights as their Israeli neighbors to believe such a solution is possible.”