Far-left Democrat Pramila Jayapal apologizes for calling Israel a “racist state” as anger grows over Squad’s planned boycott of the Israeli president’s speech to Congress this week.
- Jayapal criticized Israel over the weekend at a pro-Palestinian event in Chicago
- His comments came ahead of a planned speech to Congress by Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
- She apologized after being criticized by her own party leaders.
A far-left Democrat is under fire despite her apology for calling Israel a “racist state” for its treatment of Palestinians.
Pramila Jayapal, the 57-year-old congresswoman representing Washington state, lashed out at the world’s only Jewish state at a pro-Palestinian event in Chicago over the weekend.
“I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state,” he said ahead of a planned speech by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Congress on Tuesday to mark the country’s 75th anniversary.
Jayapal made the controversial comments at a pro-Palestinian event over the weekend in Chicago.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog will hold talks with President Joe Biden later Tuesday after he addresses Congress to mark the 75th anniversary of his country’s independence.
“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,” Jaypal added.
But his comments caused an uproar among many top Democrats, who immediately distanced themselves from the comments.
But other leftists such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar have already said they will skip Herzog’s speech over human rights concerns.
Congressman Adam Schiff of California called Israel “the only true democracy in the Middle East” and “a key ally of the United States.”
‘Israel has every right to exist as a Jewish homeland. Instead of denigrating an entire state and its people, we should be working towards a two-state solution and lasting peace,” added the US Senate hopeful.
The House Democratic leadership also pointed to the close ties between the United States and Israel.
“Our commitment to a safe and secure Israel as a partner, ally, and invaluable model of democracy in the Middle East is unwavering,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Reps. Katherine Clark, Pete Aguilar. and Ted Lieu.
“We look forward to welcoming Israeli President Isaac Herzog to the United States House of Representatives this week.”
Jayapal, chair of the so-called Congressional Progressive Caucus, had tried to put a U-turn on her comments on Sunday night.
“I don’t think the idea of Israel as a nation is racist,” he said. “I in no way intended to deny the deep pain and grief of Israelis and their Diaspora Jewish community still reeling from the trauma of pogroms and persecution, the Holocaust, and the ongoing anti-Semitism and hate violence that proliferates today.”
“However, I believe that the far-right government (of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu has engaged in openly racist and discriminatory policies and that there are extreme racists pushing such policies within the current government leadership,” Jayapal added.
Herzog, the Israeli president, will visit the White House on Tuesday for talks with Joe Biden.
A former leader of the Israeli opposition and leader of the country’s Labor Party, he became head of state in 2021, following in the footsteps of his father Chaim, who held the same post from 1983 to 1993.
Announcing his official trip to Washington DC, the White House said: “As Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary, the visit will highlight our longstanding partnership and friendship. President (Joe) Biden will reaffirm America’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security.’
“President Biden will emphasize the importance of our shared democratic values and discuss ways to promote equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and security for Palestinians and Israelis,” the statement continued.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been invited to Washington by the Biden administration since he took office again in December last year.
There have been a host of political differences between the two governments, with Netanyahu angering the Obama administration in 2015 when he turned to Congress to lobby against the Iran nuclear deal.