House passes resolution supporting Israel after Jayapal’s comments


The House on Tuesday passed a resolution voicing support for Israel, days after a leading Democratic lawmaker drew condemnation from both parties after saying the country was a “racist state.”

The measure, introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-Tex.) and passed by a 412-9 vote, with one member voting present, succinctly states that “Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia” and that “the United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.” It also states that Israel “is not a racist or apartheid state.”

“It’s critical for the U.S. Congress to send a unified message that we stand with Israel and that we unequivocally support our Jewish communities,” Pfluger said on the House floor ahead of the vote Tuesday. “There is no place for hateful words.”

Pfluger was referring to comments made over the weekend by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. During an event in Chicago hosted by Netroots Nation, Jayapal told a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators that she has “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.”

The remarks quickly drew bipartisan criticism, leading Jayapal on Sunday to release a statement saying she did not “believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist” but that she does think Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies are racist. In the statement, Jayapal also offered an apology to “those who I have hurt with my words.”