CNN host Dana Bash questions Pramila Jayapal about 'squad' Democrat's silence on Hamas' rape of women
Pramila Jayapal defends Israel, calls for compliance with international humanitarian law. UN to investigate Hamas' sexual violence against Israeli women
On CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal why she and other progressive women have been silent on the issue of Hamas’ sexual violence against Israeli women during the October 7 massacre.
Jayapal, who represents Washington state and is part of the ‘Squad,’ claimed that she had condemned Hamas’ atrocities against women before, but then shifted the focus to Israel’s actions.
Bash said, “I want to talk to you about sexual violence, which is something that hasn’t gotten enough attention globally. Hamas used rape, brutal rape, sexual violence against Israeli women as a weapon of war. I’ve seen a lot of progressive women, who usually defend women’s rights and speak out against rape as a weapon of war, but they’re silent on what happened on October 7. And what might be happening to the hostages in Gaza right now. Why is that?”
‘We have to remember Israel is a democracy’
Jayapal replied, “I don’t think that’s true. I think we always talk about the impact of war on women in particular,’ and said that she had specifically spoken out against Hamas’ crimes.”
“But I think we have to remember Israel is a democracy. That’s why they’re a strong ally of ours,” Jayapal continued.
“And if they don’t comply with international humanitarian law, they’re putting themselves in a position that makes it harder for them to build allies, to keep public opinion with them, and frankly, morally, we can’t say that one war crime justifies another. That’s not what international humanitarian law says.”
Jayapal voted “present” on a House Resolution supporting Israel after the Hamas attacks in October.
She also had to apologize after calling the Israeli government “racist” and facing backlash.
Bash challenged Jayapal on her response and said, “With respect, I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I’m asking you about Hamas.”
‘Rape is horrific….it happens in war situations.’
Jayapal said, “I answered your question, Dana. I said it’s horrific, and I think that rape is horrific. Sexual assault is horrific. I think that it happens in war situations.”
“Terrorist organizations like Hamas are obviously using these as tools. But I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians. Fifteen thousand Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes, three-quarters of whom are women and children.”
Bash replied, “And it’s horrible. But you don’t see Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women.”
“I don’t want this to be the hierarchies of oppressions. This is not how we’re going to defeat terrorism,” Jayapal said.
Many progressive women’s rights groups around the world, including the leaders of the #MeToo movement and the UN Women group, have been criticized for not condemning Hamas’ mass rape loudly enough.
Last week, almost two months after the October 7 attack, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced that the UN would investigate Hamas’ sexual violence against Israeli women.