WATCH: Kevin McCarthy Calls Out Democrats’ Anti-Semitic Comments

July 18, 2023

House speaker Kevin McCarthy called out House Democrats who have made anti-Semitic comments and blamed the Democratic Party for not holding them accountable.

"If the Democrats want to believe that they do not have a conference that continues to make anti-Semitic remarks, they need to do something about it," McCarthy said Monday, responding to a question about Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.), who called Israel a "racist state" over the weekend.

Jayapal made the comment at a Chicago event this weekend after being disrupted by a pro-Palestinian protester.

"Can I say something as somebody who's been in the streets and participated in a lot of demonstrations?" Jayapal told the crowd. "I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state, that the Palestinian people deserve self-determination and autonomy."

McCarthy called on party leadership to condemn the comments.

"Do they think Israel is an evil state?" he asked. "If they believe differently they should take action against their own for the comments coming from their leadership from within their own Democratic Party."

McCarthy referenced anti-Semitic comments made by several House Democrats, including Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Betty McCollum (Minn.), as evidence of pervasive anti-Semitism in the House Democratic caucus.

"These are just multiple Democrats on multiple times consistently saying anti-Semitic remarks, and it has got to stop," McCarthy said.

Jayapal's comments came ahead of a visit by Israeli president Isaac Herzog, who will deliver a joint session address to Congress to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Israel's founding.

Several progressive members of Congress have announced they will boycott the remarks, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Omar.

"There is no way in hell I am attending the joint session address from a President whose country has banned me and denied @RashidaTlaib the ability to see her grandma," Omar said last week.

Omar added that because Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu "barred the first two Muslim women elected to congress from visiting the country," Herzog should not be invited. Netanyahu issued the ban in 2019. Tzipi Hotovely, the then-deputy foreign minister, said at the time that the country bars entry to "those who reject our right to exist in the world."