Jayapal's controversial remarks on Hamas rape hit by fellow Democrat: 'Indecent to downplay' atrocities

Democratic Rep. Torres said it was 'indecent' to 'both sides' rape and sexual violence

Democratic lawmaker responds to Rep. Jayapal's comments on Hamas rape: 'A moral obligation'

Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres responded to Rep. Pramila Jayapal's comments on Hamas' sexual violence on Monday and said public officials have the responsibility to "speak with clarity, rather than caveats."

Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., responded to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and other hard-left figures on Monday after she seemed unable to explain why there was a hesitation among some progressives to condemn Hamas' sexual violence against Israeli women. 

CNN's Dana Bash asked Torres why it was so difficult for progressives to "unequivocally call out the barbaric sexual violence against Israeli women."

"Look, there’s often been a double standard against Israel when it comes to condemning the sheer butchery and barbarism of Hamas," Torres said. "Public officials have a moral obligation to speak with clarity rather than caveats. And I found it deeply troubling, for example, that the UN Women, the so-called women’s rights arm of the United Nations, went 50 days without commenting on or condemning the sexual atrocities that Hamas perpetrated against Israeli women. For me, this is not about politics. This is about decency. It is indecent to deny or downplay or ‘both sides’ the rape and sexual violence against Israeli women on October 7."

Jayapal joined Bash on Sunday for an interview and was asked about the silence from progressive women's groups on Hamas' use of rape as a weapon of war. Jayapal, who chairs the left-wing Congressional Progressive Caucus, claimed she did condemn Hamas' treatment of women specifically and quickly turned the conversation back to Israel.

jayapals controversial remarks on hamas rape hit by fellow democrat indecent to downplay atrocities

Rep. Ritche Torres responded to Rep. Pramila Jayapal's comments on Hamas' treatment of Israeli women during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash. (Screenshot/CNN)


"With respect, I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I’m asking you about Hamas," Bash said. 

The lawmaker said she had already answered the question and added, "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." 

Other Democrats, including Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., also criticized Jayapal's comments. 

"Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women and girls. The only ‘balanced’ approach is to condemn sexual violence loudly, forcefully and without exceptions. Outrageous for anyone to ‘both sides’ sexual violence," Schultz wrote on social media.

jayapals controversial remarks on hamas rape hit by fellow democrat indecent to downplay atrocities

Progressive Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal clashed with CNN host Dana Bash on Sunday over a lack of condemnation of Hamas' use of sexual violence during their attacks on Israeli women.  (Screenshot/CNN/StateOfTheUnion)


Dingell told CNN's Kasie Hunt that she condemned Hamas' rape of Israeli women the week after the initial attacks.

"I’m going to talk to Pramila, I have a call in to her. I think… I’m going to just speak for myself on this subject, and I’m raw on this subject because of the hate that I have had directed at me for speaking the truth. I will speak the truth. And I don’t care who it is. Rape is an act of violence and it becomes too often a tool in any act of war," she said.

Torres also criticized the "fringe" members of the Democratic caucus who were using language such as "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide" to describe Israel's response to Hamas' terrorist attacks.

jayapals controversial remarks on hamas rape hit by fellow democrat indecent to downplay atrocities

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.  (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"There is a fringe that uses provocative language, dishonest language like ethnic cleansing or genocide. That is fundamentally unrepresentative of the mainstream, of not only the Democratic caucus, but also the progressive caucus," he said.

Hanna Panreck is an associate editor at Fox News.

Authored by Hanna Panreck via FoxNews December 4th 2023