Congresswoman in Testy Exchange Over Hamas Rapes

Pramila Jayapal grilled on why progressives aren't calling out Hamas more over rapes
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2023 11:55 AM CST
Congresswoman in Testy Interview Over Hamas Rapes
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 20, 2023, on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A Democratic congresswoman got into a tense exchange with CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday over the reported rapes of Israeli women by Hamas, reports the Messenger. "I have seen a lot of progressive women, generally speaking, that are quick to defend women's rights and speak out against using rape as a weapon of war, but downright silent on what we saw on Oct. 7 and what might be happening inside Gaza right now to these hostages. Why is that?" Bash asked Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington. The congresswoman disputed that Hamas has not been condemned for sexual assaults, and she then accused Israel of violating international law with its response to Hamas' attack, per the Hill. A portion of the interview, which can be see in full via CNN:

  • Bash: "OK, with respect, I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I'm asking you about Hamas."
  • Jayapal: "I already answered your question, Dana. I said it's horrific," she said. "And I think that rape is horrific. Sexual assault is horrific. I think that it happens in war situations. Terrorist organizations like Hamas obviously are using these as tools." However, "I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians," she said, adding, "Fifteen thousand Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes, three-quarters of whom are women and children."
  • Bash: "And it's horrible, but you don't see Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women."
  • Jayapal: "Well, Dana, I think we're not—we're not—I don't want this to be the hierarchy of oppressions."

On Morning Joe Monday, host Joe Scarborough called Jayapal's response "moral equivocation," per Mediaite. "You can never say that was Hamas did ... was absolutely savage and beyond the pale. It always has to be, 'Yeah, but, Israel.'" (More Pramila Jayapal stories.)

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