New Hampshire Democrats remain divided over how to respond to attacks against Israel and the Jews, with Rep. Chris Pappas joining a public condemnation of pro-Hamas hate speech while Rep. Annie Kuster stays silent.
On Tuesday, Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Hillary Scholten (D-Mich.), Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), and Norma Torres (D-Calif.) released a statement declaring the phrase “from the river to the sea” is “a rallying cry for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
The statement has been signed by around 70 House Democrats, including Pappas. As of late Tuesday, however, Kuster had declined to sign on. She also refused to answer questions about her intentions, or if she agrees that the phrase — commonly used by anti-Israel protesters as well as Hamas terrorists — is a threat to Jews.
“‘From the River to the Sea’ means one thing: the destruction of the state of Israel and those who call it home,” Pappas said on social media. “As we see a sharp rise in antisemitism, I’m joining 70 members of Congress to strongly condemn this language and the danger it creates.”
“We reject the use of the phrase ‘from the river to the sea’— a phrase used by many, including Hamas, as a rallying cry for the destruction of the State of Israel and genocide of the Jewish people… We support Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself — to protect its citizens, secure its borders, and rescue its people held hostage in Gaza. Israel also has the obligation to, as best as possible, protect civilians, and in all its actions adhere to international humanitarian law (notwithstanding Hamas’ complete disregard for the same).”
It is not the first split in the Granite State’s all-Democrat delegation, whose members usually remain in political lockstep.
Just days after Sen. Jeanne Shaheen signed a letter, along with far-left Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, calling for Israel to “pause” its military operation, Sen. Maggie Hassan told reporters she would not join them.
According to NHPR, Hassan said Monday that “Israel has a right to defend itself. Israel has a right to negotiate to get hostages back. I will continue to push for more humanitarian aid, but also for Hamas to release hostages and take other measures to help bring security and safety to the people of Israel.”
Military experts acknowledge that any pause would provide a benefit– intentional or otherwise — to Hamas terrorists fighting against the Israeli Defense Forces.
Progressive Democrats have been outspoken in their condemnation of Israel, with at least one member of Congress — Kuster ally Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — accusing the Jewish state of committing “genocide.”
Kuster also went out of her way to protect outspoken antisemite Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from a proposed resolution of condemnation over her offensive comments about Jews and the nation of Israel.
Not that Kuster and Pappas have always been at cross purposes regarding opposition to the Jewish state.
In 2020, both voted to kill consideration of an anti-BDS bill that would “prohibit boycotts or requests for boycotts imposed by international governmental organizations against Israel,” like the United Nations Human Rights Council and the European Union. The bill would also “establish Congress’s opposition to the BDS movement.”