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DEM DIVIDE

Antisemitism, anti-Zionism resolution splits Democratic caucus

Ninety-two Democrats voted present and 13 voted no, alongside Republican Tom Massie who posted an antisemitic meme hours earlier

Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 24: United States Capitol building is seen under construction in Washington D.C., United States on September 24, 2023.

The House Democratic caucus nearly split in half yesterday afternoon over a resolution condemning antisemitism and describing anti-Zionism as antisemitic.

The resolution, which also expressed support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, passed by a 311-14 vote, with a surprisingly high number of 92 Democrats voting “present” and 13 voting no. The vote came shortly after a House Republican lawmaker posted a meme that critics described as antisemitism.

The lawmakers who voted against the resolution include Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Summer Lee (D-PA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Delia Ramirez (D-IL), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

Connolly, who represents a district with a significant Jewish population and generally does not fall within the farthest anti-Israel fringe of his party, was the most notable vote against the resolution.

The present votes came following an appeal from three progressive Jewish lawmakers — Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Dan Goldman (D-NY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) — who accused the Republicans of “weaponiz[ing] Jewish pain and the serious problem of antisemitism to score cheap political points.” The resolution is “beneath the dignity of Congress and it is an affront to Jews everywhere,” they said in a statement.

They added that the resolution “does not account for the complexity of Judaism itself,” such as the anti-Zionist Satmar sect. 

Ultimately, the yes and present votes didn’t fall cleanly along ideological divisions, with some progressives and critics of Israel voting in support of the resolution while other staunchly pro-Israel lawmakers, including all three members of Democratic leadership, voted present.

Hours before voting no, Massie shared a meme that appeared to squarely violate the resolution’s standards regarding antisemitism. Massie’s post on X accused Congress of prioritizing “Zionism” over “American patriotism,” and featured a pair of images of the Jewish rapper Drake.

The Republican Jewish Coalition’s CEO Matt Brooks, long at odds with Massie over a record of similar comments and votes, said, “This post is antisemitic. Plain and simple” and called Massie “a disgrace to the U.S. Congress and to the Republican Party.”

Numerous Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the White House condemned Massie, but Republican lawmakers were largely silent. None of the top House GOP leaders responded to requests for comment from Jewish Insider.

Schumer said that Massie’s post is “antisemitic, disgusting, dangerous, and exactly the type of thing I was talking about in my Senate address.” White House spokesperson Herbie Ziskend described it as “virulent Antisemitism.”

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