June 19, 2024

On Tuesday morning, while the House Republicans met to elect a new Speaker, the House Democrats and their members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee used their weekly press conference to affirm their support for Israel and to slam Republicans for their crazy-making and lack of leadership.

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Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) opened the press conference flanked by Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jeffrey Meeks (D-NY), Vice Ranking Member Kathy Manning (D-NC), and Vice Chair Ted Lieu (D-CA). After introducing those with him on the podium and expressing his sympathy for the Israeli and American lives lost in the attack by Hamas, Aguilar claimed the Democrat caucus is: 

[C]ommitted to the safety, security, and prosperity of the state of Israel. This week we hope our Republican colleagues will put an end to the self-inflicted chaos so that we can begin to govern on behalf of the American people, which includes congressional action to support Israel in their time of need. Leader Hakeem Jeffries has offered an enlightened vision for a bipartisan governing coalition to bring the House back from the brink. We can pass meaningful legislation that meets the needs of the American people by lowering costs, creating jobs, and building safer communities while fulfilling our responsibilities in helping our allies abroad and meeting the needs of our national security. That’s what leaders do. 

The Democrats always have time to play the small violins and be crisis actors. Aguilar apparently wanted to show that, unlike the Republicans, Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time. Just Democrats walking is alone a dangerous proposition.

Speaking of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and his “enlightened vision,” he was conspicuously absent from this press conference, as was former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

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Aguilar then asked Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Ted Lieu to speak on the situation. This is the same Lieu who, in 2019, had to apologize for tweeting out an anti-Semitic trope concerning dual loyalties about the U.S. ambassador to Israel at the time. Lieu began by “strongly condemning” the actions against Israel and reinforcing that Hamas is a “genocidal, homicidal, religiously fanatical terrorist organization that has two goals: to slaughter Jews and annihilate the state of Israel.”

Lieu pointed to the murders of elderly and the slaughter of babies by Hamas to reinforce his points and to ensure that Israel not only has a right to defend itself but to ensure that what Hamas enacted on its nation never happens again. Lieu was conveniently placed to reiterate the talking points from President Joe Biden’s speech on Monday, some of it almost word-for-word.

Biden unequivocally stated that the United States stands with Israel: 

“In this moment we must be crystal clear: We stand with Israel. We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack.

“My administration has consulted closely with Congress throughout this crisis. When Congress returns, I’m going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners. This is not about party or politics; it’s about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America.”

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[…]

Biden acknowledged that Hamas’ stated purpose is to murder Jewish people and to wipe Israel off the map. It’s in their charter. And, it’s true that Hamas’ purpose is not to bring self-determination and a dignified life to the residents of Gaza. 

Lieu illuminated nothing new, and his rattling-off of words was mercifully short. Lieu then introduced “one of the smartest people I know in foreign affairs, the ranking member Greg Meeks.”

Perhaps “Greg” is Jeffrey Meeks’ middle name. 

Rep. Jeffrey Meeks compared the Hamas attack to ISIS and talked about the carnage wreaked by Hamas, even using the term “rape.” “You can’t have peace in a region if someone’s existence is to say you can’t exist. That you should not exist,” Meeks intoned. Meeks even mentioned the importance of the Abraham Accords (point, Trump) that is allowing other nations to join in their support and assistance to Israel.

After expressing this sympathy, Meeks wanted to acknowledge the innocent Palestinians who “want nothing to do with Hamas.” Meeks used the term “crush Hamas” to show his solidarity with seeing Hamas destroyed. In his Monday speech, Biden refused to mention Iran or connect the dots between his administration funding this nation and the funding of Hamas. Meeks continued in that vein, ensuring that everyone soft-peddle on their language when speaking about Iran.

One of my deepest concerns is that there’s a chance that this war can expand beyond its current scope. I know that our administration and our allies are working round the clock to send warnings to Iran and Hezbollah to stay out. Now I hope also until we know more, we are all cautious about how we speak about Iran’s role in public. We don’t want a widening conflict. We are living in a very dangerous time. We want to get the facts and we want to act accordingly. Stand by our true values.

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And what are those true values? Meeks left that purposefully vague.

Meeks made sure he emphasized “Hamas” with every sentence while playing apologist for Iran. He ended his portion by reinforcing that the Democrat Congress will stand by Israel and ensure “they get all they need” to continue in their fight. After this, Meeks made sure he mentioned how great a leader Jeffries is and how dysfunctional the Republicans are. 

So much for not making this about party and politics.

Meeks introduced Kathy Manning, vice-ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Besides reiterating the horror of the situation and making sure to mention the murdered babies, the elderly, and the hostages, Manning thanked President Biden for his “strong statement” and his “unequivocal support” for the state of Israel. 

But Manning’s main job was to send a dog whistle to the legacy media.

And let me remind the press that this is not a time for false, moral equivalencies. Hamas terrorists are just that. They are not militants, they are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists. Just as ISIS fighters and Al-Qaeda fighters are terrorists. Hamas terrorizes and misuses its own people, the people it is supposed to govern in Gaza. And we have seen the true face of Hamas, their horrific acts towards every day people. 

The podium was returned to Rep. Pete Aguilar, who took questions. The legacy press heard that whistle loud and clear, and their questions immediately went to the House Republicans’ vote on a new Speaker. This gave Aguilar a chance to continue to paint Republicans as chaotic and ill-equipped to lead, as well as further target individual members, like New York Rep. George Santos

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In attempting to align themselves with the Biden administration in expressing support for the state of Israel, the Democrats show that they only see Israel as a convenient tool to advance their power agenda. 

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