In a highly contentious move, members of the progressive House “Squad” voted against a resolution on Tuesday aimed at affirming that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state. The resolution, introduced by Rep. August Pfluger of Texas, ultimately passed by a substantial margin of 412-9, with Rep. Betty McCollum from Minnesota choosing to vote “present.”
The nine Democrats who voted against the measure included some prominent progressive figures such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman from New York, Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, Summer Lee from Pennsylvania, Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, Cori Bush from Missouri, Andre Carson from Indiana, and Delia Ramirez from Illinois.
Rep. Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, vehemently criticized the resolution on the House floor before the final vote. She accused Congress of supporting apartheid and attempting to deny the reality of violence perpetuated by it.
The vote occurred just one day before Israeli President Isaac Herzog was scheduled to address a joint meeting of Congress on the following day. However, both Reps. Omar and Ocasio-Cortez, who are part of the “Squad,” announced their intention to boycott Herzog’s speech, despite its significance in commemorating the 75th anniversary of U.S.-Israeli ties.
The resolution’s rejection by members of the progressive “Squad” further heightened tensions within the Democratic Party. It also came in the wake of Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s controversial comments over the weekend, where she labeled Israel as a “racist state.” Although Jayapal voted in favor of the resolution, she continued to insist that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration is racist, drawing condemnation from her fellow Democrats, including House leadership.
Rep. Pfluger expressed his disappointment over some Democrats’ lack of support for his resolution, equating it with backing antisemitism. He emphasized the crucial role of Israel as a key partner in the Middle East and stressed the importance of sending a unified message of support for Israel and its Jewish communities.
“Israel is our most important partner in the Middle East. It is critical for the U.S. Congress to send a unified message that we stand with Israel and unequivocally support our Jewish communities. I am extremely disappointed that Democrat members refused to vote against antisemitism and affirm that Israel is not a racist state,” Pfluger told Fox News Digital.