McCarthy to Jeffries: ‘Prove’ House Dems Aren’t Antisemitic

McCarthy to Jeffries: ‘Prove’ House Dems Aren’t Antisemitic

July 18, 2023

At a press conference at the Capitol Monday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) challenged Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to prove certain members of his conference are not antisemitic after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said that “Israel is a racist state” over the weekend.

“This isn’t the first person in the Democratic conference that has continued to make antisemitic comments,” McCarthy said . “We’ve watched what they have continually [sic] to do. There are a number of them over there.”

He then challenged Jeffries to “prove” certain members of his conference “are not anti-Semitic,” stating:

I think if the Democrats want to believe that they do not have conference that continues to make antisemitic remarks, they need to do something about it because they’ve defended these individuals time and again. The only time action has ever been taken is when we had to take the action. I think this is a role for the leader, Hakeem, to prove that, no, they’re not antisemitic, and they cannot allow their members to continue to say what they have said in the past.

Jayapal issued anti-Israel remarks at a “pro-Palestinian” protest on Saturday in Chicago, as NPR noted:

“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 doesn’t even feel possible,” Jayapal said before a crowd.

She reversed course the next day:

“At a conference, I attempted to defuse a tense situation during a panel where fellow members of Congress were being protested. Words do matter and so it is important that I clarify my statement. I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist,” Jayapal said before accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of running an “extreme right-wing government” that “has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies,” per NPR.

The comments came days before Israeli President Isaac Herzog is set to deliver an address to both Houses of Congress “on the 75th anniversary of the creation of Israel,” McCarthy noted Monday.

McCarthy pointed to several other members on the progressive side of the aisle he says have also engaged in anti-Israel comments or actions, including, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MN), and Betty McCollum (D-MN).

“These are just multiple Democrats on multiple times consistently saying anti-Semitic remarks and it has got to stop,” he said.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Omar have refused to attend Herzog’s address this week, and Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-NY) has also said he “probably” would not attend the joint address.

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