Latest News 05-12-2023 00:12 10 Views

Top progressive Jayapal slammed by fellow House Dems for downplaying Hamas rape accusations

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The top progressive lawmaker in the House is being criticized by fellow Democrats for downplaying Hamas terrorists’ reported sexual violence against Israeli women. 

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., was accused of trying to find a moral equivalence between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) during a Sunday television interview.

'Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women and girls. The only ‘balanced’ approach is to condemn sexual violence loudly, forcefully and without exceptions. Outrageous for anyone to ‘both sides’ sexual violence,' Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., wrote on X Sunday evening.

Credible accounts of rape and brutal sexual assault are beginning to surface in the wake of Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, which saw roughly 1,200 men, women and children killed in their homes and elsewhere. There are also concerns over whether sexual violence is still being carried out on the dozens of Israelis still held hostage by Hamas.

Jayapal was asked about progressive women’s silence on the issue when the same group is historically among the most vocal about matters of sexual violence.

'I mean, I don’t, I don’t know that that’s true. I think we always talk about the impact of war on women, in particular,' Jayapal said on CNN’s 'State of the Union,' adding that she has condemned Hamas since Oct. 7.

Then she added, 'We have to remember that Israel is a democracy. That is why they are a strong ally of ours. And if they do not comply with international humanitarian law, they are bringing themselves to a place that makes it much more difficult strategically for them to be able to build the kinds of allies to keep public opinion with them. And frankly, morally, I think we cannot say that one war crime deserves another. That is not what international humanitarian law says.'

When the host pressed her on accusations of rape by Hamas against Israelis, Jayapal shot back, 'I already answered your question.'

'I said it's horrific, and I think that rape is horrific. Sexual assault is horrific. I think that it happens in war situations. Terrorist organizations like Hamas, obviously are using these as tools,' Jayapal said. 'However, 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.'

Her comments were also criticized by Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., who did not directly name Jayapal but said on Sunday night, 'Rape and sexual violence against Israeli women calls for nothing less than unequivocal condemnation.'

'Israel did not invade Palestinian homes and rape and sexually violate Palestinian women. Hamas did invade Israeli homes and did rape and sexually violate Israeli women,' Torres said. 'There is no ‘balance’ or ‘both sides’ or ‘moral equivalence’ here. Period.'

Jayapal herself has been a leader on the left on the issue of sexual violence against women, including during the 'Me Too' movement. 

In 2017, she was one of the lawmakers who led the charge calling for a fellow Democrat, then-Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, to resign over allegations of sexual assault. She has also led legislation aimed at ending forced arbitration for survivors. 

Her Sunday comments were slammed by another fellow Democrat, the daughter of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

'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,' Christine Pelosi wrote on X.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Jayapal's office for comment.


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