GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy: Jeffries Must Act on Dems’ Antisemitic Remarks

On Monday, Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy of California called on Democrat Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, along with other Democrats, to act against those in their conference who regularly spout antisemitic remarks.

During a news conference, Senator McCarthy was asked about the comments made by the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Democrat Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who called Israel a “racist state” Saturday while addressing pro-Palestinian protestors who interrupted a panel discussion at a Chicago Netroots Nation conference.

Sunday, Jayapal tweeted an apology, saying she didn’t mean the “idea” of Israel as a nation is racist but was referring to the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Democrats scrambled to distance themselves from her original comment.

A draft of the letter was circulated by several Jewish Democratic representatives that stated, “We are deeply concerned about Representative Pramila Jayapal’s unacceptable comments about our historic, democratic ally Israel, and we appreciated her retraction.” Additionally, Jeffries and two other Democrats in the House issued a joint statement Sunday evening saying Israel is not a racist state, but it did not mention Jayapal by name.

“This isn’t the first person in the Democratic conference who has continued to make antisemitic comments,” said McCarthy. “We have watched what they continually do. There are a number of them over there. I think if the Democrats want to believe they do not have a conference that continues to make antisemitic remarks, they need to do something about it because they have 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 a leader, Hakeem, to prove that they’re not antisemitic, and they cannot allow their members to continue to say what they have said in the past.”

Israeli president will address a joint session of Congress Wednesday

McCarthy said the comment from Jayapal came at an unfortunate time because Israeli President Isaac Herzog will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday because this year marks the 75th anniversary of the statehood of Israel.

“Within minutes of Israel becoming a country [in 1948], America recognized them,” said McCarthy. “But now we have leaders in the Democratic Party — she’s not just elected as a Democrat in their conference, she is a leader in their caucuses, and she’s making these comments.”
Speaker McCarthy then reviewed antisemitic comments made by Democrat Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and noted a resolution that Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota sponsored to condemn Israel over human rights violations against Palestinian children. The resolution cites data from a group tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the United States has labeled a terrorist organization.

“These are just multiple Democrats on multiple times consistently saying antisemitic remarks, and it has got to stop,” said McCarthy. “…Do they think Israel is an evil state? Well, [if] they believe differently, they should take action against their own for the comments coming from their leadership within their own Democratic Party, and that’s wrong.”