Rep. Parmila Jayapal, D-WA., urged President Biden to exercise caution in his support for Israel on Sunday during an interview on NBC, emphasizing the need for him to “call us to a higher moral place” amidst the ongoing conflict with Hamas.
During NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Kristen Welker asked Jayapal if she was concerned about Biden potentially losing support from Arab Americans.
“I have been one of President Biden’s biggest supporters. I have been proud to be a partner as he has been courageous and strong on the domestic front. He has really called out the injustices for average working Americans across this country,” Jayapal said.
Welker followed up with another question about Biden’s chances being weakened.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal warned President Biden to be “careful” about his support for Israel on Sunday. (Left: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Right: (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images))
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“I think the president needs to be just as courageous on this issue so that we keep the unity within our country for the support of the incredible things he has done. He is, I think, you know, going to be challenged to explain an issue of this moral significance to people. 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. They support the right for Israel to defend itself, to exist, but they do not support a war crime exchanged for another war crime. I think the president has to be careful about that, and I would call him because I know him well,” she said.
Jayapal also criticized Rep. Dean Phillips’, D-Minn., decision to launch a primary challenge and said she had no idea what he was running on.
“The point is I want President Biden to be the next president, and he needs to call us to a higher moral place,” she concluded.
Welker also asked Jayapal about her past comments calling Israel a “racist state” in July before attempting to clarify her position.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal joins NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday for an interview about the Israel-Hamas conflict. (Screenshot/NBC/MeetThePress)
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“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, 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,” Jayapal said at the left-wing Netroots Nation Conference in Chicago.
Welker asked her to clarify the comments, which she said followed a “backlash” from fellow Democrats.
“I clarified this right away, and not after a backlash, within 12 hours of making a statement. 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. However, there are racists within the Netanyahu government and there are racist policies that Israel has been carrying out. I think it is important for us to recognize that we need to be able to criticize the policies of the Israeli government and not be called antisemitic. I really believe the conversation is changing in a way that is not helpful,” she responded.
She said that Biden and the U.S. were “responsible,” as they provide military aid to Israel.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Hanna Panreck is an associate editor at Fox News.