House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi has just joined the chorus of voices denouncing Democratic “Squad” member Pramila Jayapal. A ‘balanced’ approach to condemning Hamas for the rapes of Israeli women was suggested by Jayapal in her contentious remarks on CNN’s State of the Union.
We have spent decades working to eliminate victim blaming in the courts, the laws, and the hearts and minds of the people. Pelosi went on Twitter to say, “Do not diminish, excuse, “balance,” or “both sides” sexual assault. Many took this tweet as an attack on Jayapal’s position.
In a stern response, noted Democratic television commentator and attorney Dave Aronberg stated that defending those responsible for such horrific crimes robs them of any moral authority they may have had. Bianna Golodryga, a CNN anchor, also spoke out, differentiating between random acts of rape that occur because of lax discipline and planned rapes that are part of Hamas’ agenda.
While speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash, who asked Jayapal about the sexual assaults committed by Hamas on Israeli women during the October 7 tragedy, Jayapal made some controversial comments. Bash raised concerns about the lack of response on this matter from feminist organizations and progressive women.
‘Terrorist organizations like Hamas definitely are utilizing these as tools,’ Jayapal said, refocusing attention on Israel while defending her earlier denunciation of Hamas by a “Squad” member. But I believe we ought to be moderate when we bring up the atrocities committed against Palestinians.
Beyond the realm of social media, Jayapal’s position was criticized. ‘Beyond f**ked up,’ said Jessica Tarlov, a Democratic strategist for Fox News, implying that any major challenge she encounters is justifiable. Joe Walsh, a former Republican presidential candidate, was shocked to hear that some liberals single out crimes committed against Jewish girls and women.
After the response, Jayapal’s press team explained her stance, saying that “Hamas is a terrorist organization that needs to be taken out.” In order to guarantee the protection of both Israelis and Palestinians, they laid forth a plan that included a robust alliance of Middle Eastern friends.
Skepticism has been heightened by Jayapal’s voting record and her penchant to avoid addressing the atrocities committed by Hamas, even after the clarification. Following the Hamas attacks in October, she cast a “present” vote on a House Resolution endorsing Israel. Her previous use of the word “racist” to describe the Israeli government drew criticism.
While interviewing Jayapal, Bash questioned her ability to maintain focus on the sexual crimes committed by Hamas. While Jayapal restated her stance against rape, she emphasized that oppressions should not be organized in hierarchies. This led to more outrage from progressive women’s rights groups around the world, including as the #MeToo movement and UN Women, who felt that Hamas had not been strongly enough condemned for their use of mass rape.
In response to the gravity of the situation, the UN launched an investigation into the sexual assaults perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli women approximately two months following the assault on October 7. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a resolute denunciation of violence against women and girls. After coming under fire for being vague in the past, the UN Women’s organization is once again in the spotlight over its position on Hamas’ activities.