A leading Democrat from the progressive wing warns President Biden that his strong endorsement of Israel might alienate some liberal constituents.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, voiced concerns on Sunday that Biden’s stance might lead to dwindling support from specific segments.
“On ‘Meet the Press’ on NBC, when discussing the potential backlash from Muslim, Arab Americans, and other progressive groups over his recent remarks, Jayapal stated, “The President should show courage on this subject to maintain unity in the nation, given the numerous positive initiatives he has undertaken.”
Jayapal further emphasized that the general American sentiment on the Israel-Gaza situation differs significantly from the President’s and the majority of Congress. “While Americans uphold Israel’s right to self-defense, they don’t endorse one war crime in retaliation to another,” she articulated.
Despite her concerns, Jayapal acknowledged being “one of President Biden’s staunchest advocates,” wildly applauding his endeavors to uplift the working class domestically. Jayapal also expressed surprise at Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota’s recent declaration of a primary challenge against the sitting President. She remarked, “Everyone is entitled to contest, but what differentiates his platform from Biden’s is puzzling.”
Jayapal previously has faced scrutiny over her position on Israel. At a progressive event in Chicago last July, she remarked that Israel was a “racist state.” Her statement was in response to interruptions from pro-Palestinian activists at the conference. “The aspiration for a two-state resolution seems increasingly unattainable,” she stated, receiving applause.
However, Jayapal later clarified her statement amidst criticism from all sides, emphasizing that while she believes in Israel’s legitimate existence, some aspects of Netanyahu’s administration have displayed racism. She further contended that one should be able to critique Israel without being labeled antisemitic.
In recent news, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed an intensified ground operation in the Gaza Strip. Since an unexpected attack by Hamas inside Israel on October 7, the death toll has risen to over 1,400 Israelis and 33 Americans.
The Gaza Health Ministry, under Hamas control, estimates that the conflict has resulted in the death of nearly 8,000 Palestinians. However, this figure has been met with skepticism due to Hamas’ history as a terrorist organization.