On Wednesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke before a joint session of Congress and voiced his displeasure with the House of Representatives for their criticism of Israel.
Herzog did not disclose names, but he said that certain House members have been critical of Israel. Several prominent progressive Democrats have lately made public remarks necessary of Israel.
Herzog said to Speaker McCarthy that he is not immune to the fact that several of his friends, including some esteemed members of the House, have voiced their disapproval of his actions. Even if it’s not always required, Herzog did say that they value and consider the opinions of their friends criticisms highly.
Applause erupted as he continued, saying that criticism of Israel must not transcend the line into a repudiation of the right of the State of Israel to exist.
Herzog said it is not diplomacy to question the Jewish people’s right to self-determination; it is antisemitism. Antisemitism refers to the demonization and persecution of Jews wherever throughout the globe, including Israel and the United States.
He applauded President Joe Biden for establishing the first-ever United States National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism because ‘any manifestation of antisemitism is abhorrent.’
Herzog made several statements that alluded to the progressive Democrats’ critique in a roundabout way. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) recently made headlines when she called Israel a “racist state” in a public speech. After receiving backlash, especially from inside her party, Jayapal eventually returned her comments.
In May, Democratic Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib tweeted that Israel is an apartheid state that was founded on the backs of bloodshed and the expulsion of Palestinians. She said that the Nakba, the Arabic word for tragedy that Palestinians use to refer to Israel’s foundation, is still going on even though it has been 75 years.
Due to Jayapal’s speech, the House unanimously passed a resolution reiterating that Israel is not a racist or apartheid state.
There were nine Democratic no votes. New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, Pennsylvania’s Summer Lee, Massachusetts’s Ayanna Pressley, Missouri’s Cori Bush, Indiana’s Andre Carson, and Illinois’s Delia Ramirez were all named. Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) was another Democrat who abstained.