Israel’s war against Hamas is exposing deep divisions among Democrats in Congress, as the most outspoken supporters of the Jewish state and the most vocal pro-Palestinian members of the left trade accusations of intolerance and disputes over the role the United States should play in hostilities.
Tensions came to light last week after 15 House Democrats were reprimanded for refusing to vote in favor of an overwhelmingly bipartisan resolution declaring solidarity with Israel and condemning Hamas.
The situation is expected to worsen this week as the House debates a $14.3 billion emergency spending bill to provide security assistance to Israel. He will also consider a separate resolution written by Republicans to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, for participating in a pro-Gaza rally this month at the Capitol, where she accused Israel of committing genocide. .
The schism reflects a broader divide within the Democratic Party, where a left-wing coalition of younger voters and people of color is breaking with President Biden over this staunch support for Israel, and primary battles are brewing between strong supporters of the Jewish state. and the progressives. that promote Palestinian rights.
On Capitol Hill, the division has been exacerbated by Republicans, eager to exploit the gap between their political rivals. President Mike Johnson plans to hold a vote this week combining a bill to fund Israel’s war effort with cuts to the IRS that were a key part of Biden’s sweeping climate and health care law, a tough pill for Americans to swallow. Democrats. And some left-wing Democrats believe Biden should have requested more humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in his proposed emergency spending plan.
The House is also expected to vote Wednesday on the measure to formally censure Tlaib, who has sharply criticized Israel and expressed skepticism about US intelligence findings that Israel was not to blame for a recent bombing of a hospital in Gaza. At the rally at the Capitol, he advocated for a ceasefire, saying, “We literally continue to watch people commit genocide and kill a vast majority just like that, and we still stand by and say nothing.”
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., accuses Tlaib of “anti-Semitic activity, sympathizing with terrorist organizations, and leading an insurrection” at the Capitol.
Even the most pro-Israel Democrats seem unwilling to support Greene’s resolution.
“The language is extreme and exaggerated,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., noting that the measure falsely refers to the pro-Gaza rally and sit-in, which was organized by Jewish anti-war groups, as an “insurrection.” . .”
Several other Democrats scoffed at the idea that a lawmaker who once compared coronavirus vaccine and mask mandates to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews during the Holocaust and promoted a conspiracy theory that space lasers controlled by Jews were responsible for the wildfires in California, as Ms. Greene said. she did, she could credibly accuse a colleague of anti-Semitism.
But Wasserman Schultz said he had “deep concerns” that Tlaib was engaging in “inflammatory conduct” and fiercely attacked Democrats who have refused to condemn Hamas.
“I understand that there are the usual suspects who are not pro-Israel, who oppose Israel’s policies, but we should all be against the killings,” he said, referring to the 1,400 civilians and soldiers killed and the 222 hostages taken when Hamas invaded Israel. “If you are not against killing, you have no soul.”