Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is trying to walk back comments she made in response to a question on Hamas’s rape of Israeli women, in which she invoked the suffering of Palestinians. Her remarks were heavily criticized inside the Democrat caucus.
Congressional Progressive Caucus head Jayapal referred to the terrorist group’s violent techniques against women as “horrific” and reaffirmed her “unequivocal” condemnation of them.
The Congresswoman, who has been under fire from both liberals and conservatives, attempted to explain her comments from an early December interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, in which she called for a “balanced” approach to the Palestinians’ situation in response to a question about Hamas’s use of body violating assaults on women in warfare.
In response to Pramila Jayapal’s comments on the rapes that occurred during Hamas’ attack on October 7, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) reportedly challenged Jayapal. Outrage ensued when Jayapal downplayed the seriousness of Hamas’ actions by claiming that while it was “fair” to blame them for using rape as a weapon of war, rape just “happens” in combat.
In a CNN interview in response to Jayapal’s comments, Dingell said that an open conversation was necessary and that she intended to speak with her.
In a later statement, Jayapal claimed it was her intention to make it clear that her comment had nothing to do with trivializing rape or assault. It was about paying tribute to the many lives lost in this horrific conflict, whether as Israelis, Palestinians, or members of diaspora populations.
Subsequently, she implied that her detractors had twisted her words.
According to Jayapal, she condemned what Hamas has done, and she shall not stop denouncing the crimes perpetrated by Hamas and calls for the downfall of the terror group.
Democrats have been furious with progressives because, in their view, the group’s demands for a truce and harsh condemnation of the Israeli government are counterproductive to their fight against Hamas. According to some moderates, they are making it harder for the United States to defend its ally in the Middle East.