Kevin McCarthy Challenges Hakeem Jeffries to ‘Prove’ House Democrats Aren’t Antisemitic

At a press conference at the Capitol Monday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) challenged Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to prove certain members of his conference are not antisemitic after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said that “Israel is a racist state” over the weekend.

“This isn’t the first person in the Democratic conference that has continued to make antisemitic comments,” McCarthy said . “We’ve watched what they have continually [sic] to do. There are a number of them over there.”

He then challenged Jeffries to “prove” certain members of his conference “are not antisemitic,” stating:

I think if the Democrats want to believe that they do not have conference that continues to make antisemitic remarks, they need to do something about it because they’ve defended these individuals time and again. The only time action has ever been taken is when we had to take the action. I think this is a role for the leader, Hakeem, to prove that, no, they’re not antisemitic, and they cannot allow their members to continue to say what they have said in the past.

Jayapal issued her remarks at a pro-Palestinian protest on Saturday in Chicago, telling the crowd:

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 doesn’t even feel possible.

She backtracked the next day:

At a conference, I attempted to defuse a tense situation during a panel where fellow members of Congress were being protested. Words do matter and so it is important that I clarify my statement. I do not believe the idea of Israel as a nation is racist.

She then went on to accuse Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of running an “extreme right-wing government” that “has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies.”

Her comments came days before Israeli President Isaac Herzog is set to deliver an address to both Houses of Congress on the 75th anniversary of the creation of Israel.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Omar have refused to attend Herzog’s address, and Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-NY) has also said he “probably” would not attend.

McCarthy pointed to several other progressives who have engaged in anti-Israel comments or actions, including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MN), and Betty McCollum (D-MN).

“These are just multiple Democrats on multiple times consistently saying anti-Semitic remarks and it has got to stop,” he said.

Hakeem Jeffries

21 Known Connections

Close Ties to Professor Leonard Jeffries and His Anti-Semitic Rhetoric

Born on August 4, 1970 in Crown Heights, New York, Hakeem Sekou Jeffries is the nephew of the longtime CCNY Black Studies professor Leonard Jeffries.

Hakeem Jeffries earned a BS in political science at Binghamton University in 1992. During his senior year there, he served as an executive board member of the school’s Black Student Union (BSU), which invited his controversial uncle, Leonard Jeffries — well known for his highly charged expressions of contempt for whites and Jews — to speak on campus for an undisclosed fee.

After a Jewish student group exhorted Binghamton University’s BSU to cancel Leonard Jeffries’ scheduled speaking engagement, Hakeem Jeffries led a news conference defending his uncle and his right to speak on campus. “We have no intention of canceling a presentation that contains factual information, proven through scholarly documents and texts,” said Hakeem Jeffries. “The proper way to way to debate scholarship is with scholarship–not with high-tech lynchings, media assassinations, character desecrations and venomous attacks.”

In the Binghamton University student newspaper Pipe Dream, Hakeem Jeffries and his fellow BSU executive board members co-authored a 1992 editorial defending Leonard Jeffries and condemning those who had compared the professor’s anti-white racism, to the anti-black racism of the Ku Klux Klan.

Further, in a February 21, 1992 editorial which he personally authored for the BSU student newspaper The Vanguard, Hakeem Jeffries again defended his uncle as well as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Specifically, he claimed that “white media” and the “ruling elite” — in conjunction with black conservatives, whom he viewed a race traitors  — were unfairly targeting the two because they had dared to challenge the legitimacy of a racist America’s white power structure…

To learn more about Hakeem Jeffries, click here.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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