Pramila Jayapal Apologizes For Calling Israel ‘Racist’ State
Jayapal is the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and is known for her anti-Israel positions in an official statement on July 16 clarified that she does not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist “Words do matter,” said Jayapal in the statement adding “and so it is important that I clarify my statement. I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist.”
Jayapal posted her statement on Twitter and said that she was attempting to “defuse a tense situation” and offered her “apologies to those who I have hurt with my words.”
“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. I do, however, believe that Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing government has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies and that there are extreme racists driving that policy within the leadership of the current government,” Jayapal said.
Jayapal was responding to criticism about comments she made during a panel discussion at a conference in Chicago on July 16.
In her official apology, the Washington Democrat said, “I believe it is incumbent on all of us who are striving to make our world a more just and equitable place to call out and condemn these policies and this current Netanyahu government’s role in furthering them.”
She reaffirmed her commitment to promoting a two-state solution that enables Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in freedom, safety, and self-determination.
“I have always worked toward a two-state solution that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live freely, safely, and with self-determination alongside each other and that is still what I am absolutely committed to. I also know that the many policies of the current Israeli government, including rampant settlement expansion, make it extremely difficult for Palestinians who simply want the same rights as their Israeli neighbors to believe such a solution is possible.”
“On a very human level, I was also responding to the deep pain and hopelessness that exists for Palestinians and their diaspora communities when it comes to this debate, but I in no way intended to deny the deep pain and hurt of Israelis and their Jewish diaspora community that still reels from the trauma of pogroms and persecution,” she continued.
Meanwhile, in a statement released on July 16, the House Democratic leadership attempted to distance themselves from Jayapal by stating that “Israel is not a racist state.”
“As House Democratic leaders, we strongly support Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Vice Chair Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said, according to The Hill.
Jayapal’s remarks came at a time when Israeli President Isaac Herzog prepares to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday during a trip to Washington, D.C., to commemorate Israel’s 75th anniversary of its founding.