We have got to vote AOC and the Squad out of Congress.
Several Democratic representatives, including Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, chose not to attend Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s speech before Congress. This decision highlights the divisions within the Democratic Party concerning their support for Israel.
According to Fox, Herzog’s address marked the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding and took place amidst fallout from Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal’s statement referring to Israel as a “racist state.” Despite Jayapal partially retracting her comments, they faced criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.
In response to the controversy, Republicans initiated a vote on a resolution asserting that Israel was not a racist or apartheid state. The majority of Democrats supported this resolution, with only ten opposing it. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, was among those who voted against the resolution, stating that she would boycott Herzog’s speech in solidarity with the Palestinian people and those affected by what she called Israel’s “apartheid government.”
Ilhan Omar was the first member of the “Squad” to announce her decision not to attend the speech, expressing strong disapproval in capital letters on Twitter. She pointed out that Israel, under its current prime minister, had barred the first two Muslim women elected to Congress from visiting the country.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office and Rep. Cori Bush also confirmed that they would not be attending Herzog’s address. Jamaal Bowman cited previous boycotts, such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Congress, in explaining his decision not to attend. Bowman emphasized the need to hold allies accountable for human rights violations and the actions of far-right governments, expressing support for a democratic Israel and a thriving Palestinian state.
It’s worth noting that all these representatives had voted against a Republican-led pro-Israel resolution the previous day. GOP lawmakers rejected the progressive criticism of Israel, accusing them of promoting antisemitism, which they believe is on the rise globally.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy criticized the planned boycott by Democrats, considering it antisemitic and unfortunate, stating that antisemitism has no place, especially within Congress.