A top progressive Democrat is warning that President Biden’s support of Israel could cost him support from more hardline liberals.
On Sunday, Rep Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, expressed concern about Biden’s approach to the situation while speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” arguing that if he doesn’t change his approach, he’ll begin to lose support.
“The President needs to be … courageous on this issue so that we keep the unity within our country for the support of the incredible things he has done,” Jayapal responded when asked about concerns of backlash from Muslim and Arab Americans and other progressives over his comments to date.
“The American people are actually quite far away from where the president and even Congress — the majority of Congress — has been on Israel and Gaza,” she claimed. “They support the right for Israel to defend itself to exist, but they do not support a war-crime exchange for another war crime.”
Jayapal, 58, added that she has “been one of President Biden’s biggest supporters” and lauded him for his efforts at home to boost the working class.
It’s worth noting that Jayapal has become a controversial figure due to her stance on Israel, having referred to them as a “racist state” as recently as July.
“As somebody who’s been in the streets and participated in a lot of demonstrations, I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state,” she said during a progressive conference in Chicago in response to pro-Palestinian protesters who interrupted the conference.
“That the Palestinian people deserve self-determination and autonomy, that the dream of a two-state solution is slipping away from us, that it does not even feel possible …” she said, drawing applause from the crowd.
Since then, the Washington Democrat has walked back the remarks, which drew bipartisan criticism.
“I clarified that what I meant is that the existence of Israel is absolutely legitimate, and I think the world has come to see it as legitimate,” she explained. “However, there are racists within the [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government, and there are racist policies that the government has been carrying out.”
Jayapal also mentioned during the interview that she was incredibly unsure why Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) announced a primary campaign against the 80-year-old president.
“Everyone’s got the right to run, but I’m sorry, I have no idea what he is running on that is different from what President Biden is running on,” Jayapal mused.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.