heard last night

Reps. Bacon, Luria debate GOP procedural moves linked to Israel attack ads

The Nebraska Republican argued that the GOP was ‘trying to insert its agenda’ and said he’s been unfairly maligned as antisemitic

U.S. House of Representatives

Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Don Bacon (R-NE)

At the American Jewish Committee’s virtual Global Forum on Sunday evening, Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Elanie Luria (D-VA) debated recent House Republican procedural moves in which GOP legislators have sought to characterize Democrats — and Luria in particular — as anti-Israel.

Bacon defended the procedural moves that attempted to focus Congress’s attention during the recent Israel-Gaza conflict. Republicans have characterized Democrats’ unanimous votes in favor of continuing planned business — and against the procedural motions which Republicans framed as supporting the Jewish state — as anti-Israel. 

“The minority only has one way of trying to insert its agenda,” Bacon argued. “This is our one way of trying to get our agenda in.”

Luria pushed back on Bacon’s framing of the actions as good-faith attempts to support Israel.

“I would say that the Republican Party did this in a very deliberate way,” Luria said. “They’re using paid advertising against me to say that I voted against supporting Israel and support for the Iron Dome which is absurd, it’s ridiculous, and it’s a lie.”

The congresswoman said that she believes that the GOP moves are “destructive” to the U.S.-Israel relationship and Israel’s security.

“I would ask Don to speak more forcefully with his leadership to say that we can disagree on policy issues — you can attack me on all kinds of stuff — but please don’t make Israel the weapon you use for that because I think it is counterproductive to what Don and I are working very hard on, which is to support the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Luria said.

Bacon further asserted that Democratic support for Israel is lagging, claiming that only half of congressional Democrats are strongly pro-Israel — an assertion Luria pushed back on.

“I’m concerned that [Democratic critics of Israel] get so much attention, because they truly do not represent the majority of Democrats or the majority of members of the U.S. Congress,” Luria said.

Bacon said that he had been targeted by attacks that mischaracterized him as being antisemitic or supportive of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

“I get attacked for being ‘antisemitic’ every day. And on the Republican side of the aisle that is a standard [attack] by more partisans of the Democrat[ic] Party,” Bacon said. “So there is a thin skin on our side right now on this whole issue. I’ve been targeted for four years… Unfortunately we’re making it into a political attack against each other, and it really hurts our country.”

Luria said she agreed such “issues should not be used as political tools or weapons against people.”

Bacon also said comments by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) comparing COVID-19 safety measures to the Holocaust “[take] away the focus we should be having on the actual physical violence being done towards Jewish Americans in New York and our big cities.”

“That’s a bigger problem right now,” he continued.