Speaker McCarthy Slams Democrats’ ‘Absolutely Unacceptable’ Antisemitic Remarks: ‘It Has Got to Stop’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks at a news conference after the House passed
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Antisemitic remarks among Democratic officials are “absolutely unacceptable” and have “got to stop,” according to Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy who slammed a leading Democrat’s recent claim that Israel is a “racist” country.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference at Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Monday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) addressed Progressive U.S. Democrat Pramila Jayapal’s (WA) earlier comments deploring the Jewish state, asserting that it “isn’t the first person in the Democratic conference that has continued to make antisemitic comments.” 

“We watched what they have continued to do,” he stated. “There are a number of them over there.”

McCarthy called on House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to “do something” to prove his party does not align with such antisemitic views.

“I think if the Democrats want to believe that they do not have a conference that continues to make antisemitic remarks, they need to do something about it because they’ve defended these individuals time and again,” he stated.

“The only time action ever has been taken is when we had to take the action,” he added. “I think this is a role for the leader Hakeem Jeffries to prove, no, they are not antisemitic; and they cannot allow their members to continue to say what they have said in the past.” 

Suggesting to “think about what we’re talking about,” McCarthy noted that “what she [Jayapal] called Israel on a week where we have the president of Israel, Mr. Herzog, coming to give a joint session [to Congress] on the 75th anniversary of the creation of Israel, the closest ally,” is only one issue. 

“Within minutes of Israel becoming a country, America recognized it; but now we have leaders in the Democratic Party — she’s not just elected as a Democrat in their conference — she is a leader of their caucuses and she is making these comments,” he explained.

He then highlighted other “antisemitic” statements from Democratic officials.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference with Congressional Progressive Caucus members at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks during a news conference with Congressional Progressive Caucus members at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

“Think before of what Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar had said: she equated the U.S. Military and Israel’s security forces with Hamas and the Taliban,” he noted. “She said support for Israel is ‘all about the Benjamins’ [and that] supporters of Israel have an allegiance to a foreign country.”

McCarthy also cited fellow “squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who once stated she “had a calming feeling when discussing the Holocaust.” 

“Who in their right mind could even say that?” he asked.

Calling out Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) for having “introduced a resolution to condemn Israel and support[ing] Palestinian terrorist organizations,” McCarthy exclaimed that “these are just multiple Democrats on multiple times, consistently saying antisemitic remarks and it has got to stop!”

“These are all individuals in the Democrat conference,” he stated. “Do they think Israel is an evil state?”

“Well, if they believe differently, they should take action against their own for the comments coming from their leadership from within their own Democratic party and that’s wrong,” he added.

On the recent invitation extended to Israel’s president, McCarthy called to “get our history right.”

We invited Herzog in the last Congress to come, based upon the 75th anniversary, so, the President of Israel is coming; it has nothing to do with Bibi Netanyahu,” he clarified.

“But I have said, when I was in Israel speaking at the Knesset, if President Biden snubs Prime Minister Netanyahu, I would gladly invite Netanyahu to America,” he asserted.

In a follow-up tweet, McCarthy pointed to the “long history of anti-semitic remarks” by House Democrats, calling them “absolutely unacceptable.” 

“Antisemitism has no place in the United States Congress,” he declared.

The comments follow Rep. Jayapal’s remarks on Saturday that “we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state” after pro-Palestinian hecklers during the annual progressive Netroots Nation conference in Chicago.

Jayapal, who represents over 100 Democratic lawmakers as chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, subsequently released a statement claiming she was merely attempting “to defuse a tense situation during a panel where fellow members of Congress were being protested.”

In another statement, following backlash, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu entered damage control mode, confessing that Israel “is not a racist state” after all.

Previously, Jayapal reportedly accused Israel of “war crimes” shortly after visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, prompting then-U.S. Ambassador David Friedman to walk out of a meeting with her.

In May, McCarthy canceled Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Israel event at the U.S. Capitol scheduled, announcing he would host a “bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship” in its place.

Tlaib’s planned event at the Capitol Visitor Center to mourn Israel’s founding was intended to commemorate the “Nakba,” which is a Palestinian term for the creation of Israel that loosely translates as “catastrophe.” 

Conservative American-Israeli columnist Caroline Glick has long accused Democrat lawmakers of hating the Jewish state while blaming the left-inclined media for “transforming America into an antisemitic state.”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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