House Dems Condemn Jayapal for Downplaying Hamas Accusations
On Sunday evening, Democratic Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ritchie Torres, and Christine Pelosi publicly criticized Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal for downplaying reports of sexual violence against Israeli women by Hamas terrorists.
The controversy erupted during Jayapal's appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," when the host asked about progressive women's silence on the issue. In response, Jayapal initially stated that she had condemned Hamas since the October 7th attack and that both war crimes and rape were "horrific." However, when pressed specifically about reports of rape and sexual assault, Jayapal seemed to try and find a moral equivalence between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
"I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians - 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes, three-quarters of whom are women and children," Jayapal stated during the interview. Her comments immediately drew criticism from her fellow Democrats.
Rep. Jayapal’s response is shameful. https://t.co/ZkvC2lMnwz
— Nancy Mace (@NancyMace) December 4, 2023
Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz took to X to call out Jayapal, saying, "Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women and girls. The only 'balanced' approach is to condemn sexual violence loudly, forcefully and without exceptions." Torres also weighed in on X, stating, "Rape and sexual violence against Israeli women calls for nothing less than unequivocal condemnation."
Pelosi, the daughter of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also took aim at Jayapal on X, writing, "Do not minimize, excuse, 'balance,' or 'both sides' sexual assault - that is victim blaming we have spent decades trying to undo in the laws, the courts, and the hearts and minds of the people."
Democrat Pramila Jayapal justifies rapes of Jewish women in Israel Hamas conflict by saying about rapes "it happens in war"
Jayapal said we need to be balanced when talking about Israel and Hamas
If you're a Jew voting for Democrat you aren't paying attention
MSNBC did not… pic.twitter.com/bzdRsNSYVe
— Eric Abbenante (@EricAbbenante) December 4, 2023
Jayapal, who has been a vocal advocate for women's rights during her time in Congress, has faced pushback from her own party for trying to find a moral equivalence between Hamas and the IDF. As Wasserman Schultz pointed out, there is no justification for rape or sexual violence in any context, including war.
During the interview, Jayapal seemed to suggest that Israel, as a democracy, should be held to a higher standard when it comes to complying with international humanitarian law. However, she also acknowledged that terrorist organizations like Hamas often use sexual violence as a tool, making it difficult to address the issue in a balanced manner.
The criticism of Jayapal's remarks comes at a time when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been reignited, with hundreds of fatalities on both sides. The reports of rape and sexual violence by Hamas against Israeli women have added another layer of complexity to an already devastating situation.
Karine Jean-Pierre refuses to condemn Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal for calling "to be balanced" in criticism of Hamas using rape as a weapon of war against innocent civilians pic.twitter.com/3Do0kYEN2Q
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 4, 2023
In the past, Jayapal has been a leader on the issue of sexual violence against women, including during the "Me Too" movement. Her Sunday comments have sparked concern and disappointment among fellow Democrats who have worked alongside her on this important issue.
It remains to be seen how Jayapal will respond to the backlash and whether she will clarify or stand by her earlier remarks. One thing is clear, however - the issue of sexual violence against women should never be minimized or used as a political tool, and it is vital to condemn it unequivocally and without exceptions.