Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida set off an uproar in the House Democratic Caucus when she bluntly described her view of members who wouldn’t back a resolution affirming support for Israel in its war against Hamas.
“Someone who votes against this, I would think, doesn’t have a soul,” Wasserman Schultz, a prominent Jewish member, told CNN ahead of the vote.
The comments ricocheted across the House Democratic Caucus – especially for the 15 House Democrats who didn’t vote for it, all of them members of color, some of them Muslim-Americans. The issue was raised directly to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, according to multiple lawmakers.
“I think it is outrageous for Democrats to criticize Democrats on these votes,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, who abstained from voting on the resolution because it didn’t mention the loss of innocent Palestinian lives or need for humanitarian aid, told CNN.
Jayapal, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she expressed her frustrations to House Democratic leadership, but said they’re not resolved yet: “We’re still working on it.”
The internal dust-up over Wasserman Schultz’s remarks, which has not been previously reported, is just one of many examples of how the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has inflamed underlying tensions within the House Democratic Caucus over Israel – a debate that has fallen along ideological, generational and even racial lines. Democratic leaders have been eager to keep a lid on the tensions and have intervened directly, including after Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana – a Muslim American –