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As Israel spent 11 days defending itself from a barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza, a handful of congressional Republicans who all share a hallway with member of the progressive “squad” Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided to make statements against her anti-Israel rhetoric in no unclear terms.
Republican Reps. Mike Waltz of Florida, Lisa McClain of Michigan, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Chris Jacobs of New York all hung up “Stand With Israel” posters next to their office doors.
The U.S. has stood with Israel for decades and we won’t let fringe Progressives try to divide our alliance. pic.twitter.com/ced7fYh7hU
— Congressman Waltz Press (@RepWaltzPress) May 14, 2021
Waltz then told Fox News that he is giving the squad a new name: The “Hamas Caucus.”
As a Green Beret, I fought alongside our allies against terrorism. Never did I ever think I would serve in Congress with the Hamas Caucus who’s defending terrorist attacks on our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel. pic.twitter.com/89DkGTwB5h
— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) May 24, 2021
“Hamas Caucus” has become a popular term used by Israel-supporting Republicans to describe anti-Israel progressive Democrats, who have chipped away at a consensus on Israel that’s been around since President Harry S. Truman recognized Israeli independence in 1948. Truman’s support came 11 minutes after Israel’s first prime minister’s “Proclamation of Independence” in Tel Aviv.
Those who use the term “Hamas Caucus” essentially accuse those Democrats of repeating the talking points and flirting with ideological support for the terrorist organization Hamas. The “Hamas Caucus” not only questions American monetary support for Israel, but questions whether the Jewish State has a right to defend itself in the first place.
“It’s as though they’ve taken the words right out of (Hamas leader) Ismail Haniyeh’s mouth,” former Democratic New York State assemblyman, Dov Hikind, told Daily Caller. “In fact, he can’t say it better himself.”
“Any member of Congress who responded to the indiscriminate firing of Hamas rockets … by lambasting Israel for defending itself with highly precise retaliatory strikes … while remaining mum on Hamas’ war crimes was automatically enjoined to the Hamas Caucus,” he added.
From its founding, Hamas’ charter called for the genocide against Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel. Not much changed in the latter aspect when it was revised in 2017; the charter says it seeks a “complete liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.”
In Gaza, Hamas has waged war against the Jewish State since taking control of the strip in 2006. The democratic takeover followed execution of its Fatah rivals — now the governing party in the West Bank — and has forced Israel into armed conflicts every few years to take out Hamas’ terror infrastructure and arsenals.
One of the primary members of Congress associated within the “Hamas Caucus” is Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has come under fire several times for her stances on Israel, with some of her rhetoric steeped into accusations of anti-Semitism. Most notoriously she accused the premier bipartisan pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC, of being “all about the Benjamins, baby.”
As Hamas rockets rained down on civilians in Israel proper, Omar said that Israel’s targeted strikes against Hamas were acts of “terrorism.”
Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism.
Palestinians deserve protection.
Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians.
It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid. https://t.co/vWWQfMqBkT
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 10, 2021
Noticeably absent were equivocal and proportionate condemnations of the U.S. designated terrorist organization nor their well-documented practice of using human shields to protect its rocket launchers and military supplies from IDF strikes.
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, whose parents are Palestinian immigrants, is another member of the so-called “Hamas Caucus.” Tlaib voiced her opposition to Israel’s response to rocket attacks without offering proportionate biting words for Hamas.
Apartheid states aren’t democracies. https://t.co/oF30zaqM4v
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 15, 2021
Tlaib also recently spoke to the crowd at a pro-Palestinian protest at the State Department in Washington D.C. The crowd at different points during the protest chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” and “5,6,7,8, Israel is a terrorist state.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who has herself admitted in the past that she isn’t an expert on Middle Eastern conflicts, took issue with President Biden’s statement in which he declared that Israel has a right to defend itself.
Blanket statements like these w/ little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence – namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa – dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It’s wrong. https://t.co/afCgoGdiMG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 12, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez went on to describe Hamas’ actions as “condemnable,” while accusing Israel of being the primary instigators of the conflict.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders initially did not mention Hamas while voicing his disdain towards the killing of Israelis and Palestinians on both sides of the conflict.
The devastation in Gaza is unconscionable. We must urge an immediate ceasefire. The killing of Palestinians and Israelis must end. We must also take a hard look at nearly $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel. It is illegal for U.S. aid to support human rights violations.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 16, 2021
Sanders would later make an appearance on CBS’ “Face The Nation” in which he referred to Hamas as a “terrorist group” but blamed, at least in part, the “right-wing Israeli government” for the conflict.
“So you have a very difficult situation. You have Hamas, a terrorist group. You have a right-wing Israeli government and the situation is getting worse. And all that I’m saying is that the United States of America has got to be leading the world in bringing people together, not simply supplying weapons to kill children in Gaza,” Sanders said.
These responses to the conflict from high profile congressional Democrats, either refusing to condemn a terrorist organization or drawing a moral equivalency between Israel defending itself and the Hamas terrorists trying to destroy them, have led to these characterizations from their political opponents as the “Hamas Caucus.”
A handful of Jewish Democrats even recently wrote a letter to President Biden calling out members of the “Hamas Caucus” for referring to Israel as an “apartheid state.”
Many of these same Republicans have also said that the progressive left’s callous attitude towards terrorism against Jews has fueled the hatred that has coincided with an increase in anti-Semitic attacks in America.
This violence is on you and your friends in the Hamas caucus. Own it. https://t.co/afPP72laGi
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) May 21, 2021
While the “Hamas Caucus” has spoken out against the recent displays of hatred, even Sen. Sanders recently said that characterizations of Israel as an “apartheid state” can fuel anti-Semitic incidents.
“Well, I think we should tone down the rhetoric,” Sanders said, upon being pressed.
At the time of publishing, spokespeople for each congressional office mentioned in the story have yet to respond to requests for comment.