March 3, 2024

9 Democrats Vote No on Bill Saying Israel Is Not a ‘Racist or Apartheid State’

  • House Republicans voted down a resolution declaring that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state.
  • It came days after Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a prominent progressive, called Israel a “racist state.”
  • Nine progressive House Democrats voted against the resolution.

Nine progressive House Democrats voted Tuesday against a resolution declaring that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state.

House Republicans quickly put the resolution, which passed by a 412-9-1 margin, on the floor after Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called Israel a “racist state” in passing. in Chicago over the weekend.

Jayapal has since he walked back the notessaying that “the idea of ​​Israel as a nation” is not racist while stressing that the Israeli government “engages in blatantly discriminatory and racist policies”.

House Democratic leadership issued a statement Sunday asserting that Israel is not a “racist state,” and a group of 43 House Democrats issued a statement Tuesday saying they were “deeply concerned” about Jayapal’s “unacceptable comments.” .

The congresswoman has since argue with the New York Times that strong supporters of Israel in Congress want to silence “any discussion of any criticism” of the country because they “feel they have lost credibility” in light of the policies pursued by the hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The IS one page resolutionsponsored by Republican Representative August Pfluger of Texas, says that Israel “is not a racist or apartheid state,” that Congress “rejects all forms of anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” and that the United States “will always be a firm partner and supporter of. Israel.”

In recent years, a growing crop of progressive Democrats — including representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — have spoken out against the policies of the Israeli government, particularly its treatment of the Palestinians. and a series of Israeli government policies. which has made the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly untenable.

In a floor speech earlier Tuesday, Tlaib made it clear she would vote against the resolution, saying Congress was “reaffirming support for apartheid.”

Omar said in a statement before the vote that the purpose of the resolution was to “target and embarrass” Jayapal. She added that while she rejects xenophobia and anti-Semitism, she said “it is wrong to conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of the Israeli government.”

Some human rights groupsboth internationally and within Israelthat they have used the label “apartheid” to describe a system of government in Israel and the Palestinian Territories that they say is more and more similar to the South African system before the 1990s.

“Although the term may be uncomfortable, I do not believe it is appropriate for Congress to specifically target the legal outcomes of human rights groups in this way,” Omar said. “We should not allow voices that support Palestinian human rights to be silenced.”

In total, these 9 House Democrats voted against the resolution:

  • Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
  • Representative Andre Carson of Indiana
  • Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
  • Representative Cori Bush of Missouri
  • Representative Delia Ramirez of Illinois
  • Rope. Ilhan Omar from Minnesota
  • Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib from Michigan
  • Representative Summer Lee of Pennsylvania

Democratic Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota voted “present.”

The vote came one day before Israeli President Isaac Herzog was scheduled to address Congress in a joint session. Some House progressives have said they plan to skip the speech in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Meanwhile, House Republicans stood firm on their plans to invite Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to testify before a House subcommittee on the censorship issue, despite his recent speculation that COVID-19 was “ethnically targeted” to save Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people.

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