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Michigan Democrats refuse to officially condemn Hamas and call for recognition of “mistreatment of the Palestinian people”

The legislators led by Abraham Aiyash rejected a resolution that targeted the "abominable violence" perpetrated by the jihadist group.


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Following terrorist attacks on Israel, Michigan Republicans introduced a resolution in the state's House of Representatives to openly condemn the actions of the jihadist group. The brief text was issued to "condemn the abhorrent violence perpetrated by Hamas in October 2023, call for the release of all hostages held by Hamas, and support Israel’s right to self-defense." Although Republicans believed it would pass quickly through Congress, some Democratic lawmakers prevented the resolution from going through.

Congressman Bill Schuette (R) introduced the resolution, hoping that it would simply pass through both chambers. He was joined by 53 other legislators from the local Lower House, who jointly sponsored the resolution.

At the time of the vote, only 6 of the 56 Democratic legislators voted in favor of the text reaching the plenary session. What was their reason? According to them, the resolution did not recognize the “mistreatment of the Palestinian people.”

"I think any conversation around what is happening in Israel and Palestine that makes no acknowledgment of the 70-plus year occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people is disrespectful. It is a disservice to the complexity and the humanity of the people that live in that region. If we want to talk about justice, [if] we want to talk about human rights, [if] we want to talk about protecting civilians, then we must include the conversation around the Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip, who for decades have endured mistreatment," said Abraham Aiyash, leader of the Democratic majority.

Schuette did not sit back and got into a heated debate with Aiyash. "What we’re dealing with here is a resolution calling out acts of terror. The photos and videos that you’ve seen of beheadings, of mass killings, the largest mass killing of Jewish people since the Holocaust, it is important that this body speaks," the Republican said.

His Democratic colleague reminded him that Republicans had voted in June against a bill that expanded the state's definition of hate crimes. According to him, at that time, the GOP did not "stand with Jewish and Arab communities."

In turn, Democratic legislator Noah Arbit criticized his own party for going against the resolution. "I’m quite sick of colleagues who are not Jewish trying to speak on behalf of the Jewish community and not giving deference to Jewish members who are actually experiencing the pain of this moment and actually responding to the pain and concerns of constituents in this moment. Having other colleagues speak on behalf of those communities. I find it personally offensive … I think it has no place in a body that is supposed to be filled with mutual respect," said Arbit, who happens to be the founder of the Jewish Democratic Group.

Democrats are the majority in the Michigan House of Representatives, where they outnumber Republicans with 56 congressmen against 54 from the GOP.