Democrat slams Squad members over comments about Hamas attack on Israel

‘Squad’ member Rashida Tlaib called for the US to stop funding Israel, which she called an ‘apartheid system’

Martha McHardy
Monday 09 October 2023 12:39 BST
Destruction caused at Israeli music festival seen on drone footage

Representative Ritchie Torres has slammed some of his fellow Democrats over their comments about the recent attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.

Following the surprise invasion on Saturday morning, Rep Rashida Tlaib, a member of the so-called “Squad” of progressive lawmakers, called for the US to stop funding Israel, which she called an “apartheid system”.

“I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day. I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity,” she wrote in her statement.

“The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”

Ms Tlaib, who is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, also criticised the US for providing “billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government”.

While that support continues, she wrote that “this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue”.

“The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer. No person, no child anywhere should have to suffer or live in fear of violence. We cannot ignore the humanity in each other,” she added.

Meanwhile, fellow “Squad “member Rep Cori Bush also called for the US to halt funding to Israel.

“I am heartbroken by the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel, and I mourn the over 250 Israeli and 230 Palestinian lives that have been lost today, and the thousands injured, following attacks by Hamas militants on Israeli border towns and Israeli military bombardment of Gaza,” she wrote.

Members of the ‘Squad’
Members of the ‘Squad’ (Getty Images)

Ms Bush said she “strongly” condemns the targeting of civilians and called for an immediate ceasefire.

“Violations of human rights do not justify more violations of human rights, and a military response will only exacerbate the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis alike,” she added.

“As part of achieving a just and lasting peace, we must do our part to stop this violence and trauma by ending US government support for Israeli military occupation and apartheid.”

Their comments come after Hamas militants stormed into Israel early on Saturday morning, killing hundreds of people and taking dozens captive across the Gaza border.

Israel has said that more than 700 people have so far been killed by Hamas militants, with at least four Americans among the dead.

Palestinian officials have said that more than 400 have been killed in retaliatory Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Thousands more people are believed to be injured while the number of individuals taken hostage by Hamas is currently unclear.

Ritchie Torres condemned his fellow Democrats
Ritchie Torres condemned his fellow Democrats (AP)

Mr Torres slammed the members of his own party, describing Ms Bush and Ms Tlaib’s comments “reprehensible and repulsive”.

“US aid to Israel is and should be unconditional, and never more so than in this moment of critical need,” he said in a statement to the Jewish Insider. “Congress must act decisively to provide Israel with whatever it needs to defend itself in the face of unprecedented terrorism.”

“Shame on anyone who glorifies as ‘resistance’ the largest single-day mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust. It is reprehensible and repulsive,” he added.

He called for the US to provide Israel with whatever it needs to defend itself from the attacks.

Other members of the “Squad” including Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar also called for a “ceasefire and de-escalation” in the Middle East as the violence continues.

President Joe Biden issued a statement hours after the conflict began, calling the attack “appalling” and vowing to stand by Israel as an ally.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately declared a state of war and promised “mighty vengeance” on Israel’s attackers.

On Monday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the “complete siege” of Gaza, saying authorities will cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel.

Meanwhile, sirens have sounded in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with witnesses in the latter city hearing explosions that may have been from rocket impacts or from mid-air interceptions.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in