EXCLUSIVE: Michigan state Republicans are putting pressure on Democrat leadership in the state House of Representatives for refusing to hold a vote on a bipartisan resolution to condemn Hamas terrorists’ “horrific” attack against Israel.
House Resolution 146 has more than 50 co-sponsors, including six Democrats, but House leadership will not hold a vote on the resolution to support Israel in the wake of the deadly terror attack from Hamas, as Democrats in the Chamber appear divided when it comes to the stance they are taking on the war in the Middle East.
GOP Rep. Bill G. Schuette, who sponsored the resolution, spoke to Fox News Digital about the uphill battle House lawmakers are facing to even vote on the proposal, which, if adopted, would condemn the violence perpetrated by Hamas, call for the release of hostages held by the terror group and support Israel’s right to self-defense.
“I witnessed those absolutely horrific events that occurred in Israel earlier this month. You watch videos, or you see photos from the events. The killing of children, the slaughter of the elderly, American civilians died. It turns your stomach, and it’s hard to watch,” Schuette said. “So in response, I worked with some of my colleagues to draft a resolution that pretty simply, one, condemns the horrific acts of violence committed by the terrorist group Hamas, two, calls for the release of those hostages in captivity, and three, reaffirms our state’s support for Israel.”
“I thought it would be non-controversial,” he said of the resolution. “It’s condemning the horrible acts of violence that we saw. We got more than 50 co-sponsors. We had six Democrats sign on as co-sponsors. We’ve approved over 120 resolutions in our chamber this year alone, including things like recognizing National Tennis Month. I thought this would just glide through. Sadly, that was not the case.”
More than 6,400 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel since Hamas launched its largest attack against Israel in decades on Oct. 7, leading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare war on the terrorist group. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
Hamas has more than 220 hostages amid the conflict with Israeli forces. The terrorist organization has released four hostages in the last week, including two Americans, as Israel prepares for a potential ground invasion in Gaza. The Israeli forces have said additional hostage releases could delay the ground invasion.
Schuette emphasized that his resolution is important because he believes words and leadership matter and he stressed the need for Michigan’s state government to “speak authoritatively to condemn evil and condemn violence when we see it.”
“This was the largest mass killing of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust,” he said. “And if our Chamber cannot condemn such violence, if our Chamber cannot call out that evil when we see it, we really have no moral right to stand on it at all.”
The Michigan Senate adopted a similar bipartisan resolution to condemn Hamas’ acts of terrorism.
The proposed House resolution comes after Michigan House Democrats appeared to take different positions on the violence in Israel, with some releasing statements after the initial attack strongly condemning Hamas’ attack and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself while others mourned the loss of life on both sides and criticized what they described as the Israeli government’s decades of oppression against the Palestinian people.
House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash told reporters after the attack that “any conversation around what is happening in Israel and Palestine that makes no acknowledgment of the 70-plus-year occupation and the mistreatment of the Palestinian people is disrespectful to the issue.” He said doing otherwise is a “disservice to the complexity and the humanity of the people that live in that region.”
Aiyash said Republicans who say they stand against hate and violence cannot take the moral high ground since many lawmakers in their caucus voted against bills earlier this year to expand the state’s definition of hate crimes and impose penalties against people who cause acts of destruction against religious buildings and cemeteries.
Schuette told Fox News Digital that Aiyash’s comments were “disrespectful” to Americans who either lost loved ones or were held in captivity, and called it an “embarrassment for our state to not condemn the horrific killing of children, elderly and civilians in Israel.”
Democratic leadership assigned the resolution to the House Government Operations Committee, where legislation often never moves forward. Schuette said lawmakers supporting the resolution are working on discharging it from the Committee and bringing it to the House Floor for a vote. Several motions to discharge the resolution from the Committee have already been brought, but each have been denied.
“I was proud to get a number of Democrats to sign on and co-sponsor, some of whom thanked me for working on this resolution,” Schuette said. “Unfortunately, the leadership of our Chamber, the Democrat leadership, doesn’t want to bring forward this resolution because they say the situation over there is complicated. It’s not complicated to condemn acts of terror. It is not complicated to call for the release of Americans who are held hostage. It is not complicated, and it’s not controversial, and it’s a moral failing of our Chamber.”
The Republican lawmaker said he believes some members of House Democrat leadership subscribe to the “same far-left progressive agenda” as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who said shortly after Hamas’ attack that if the U.S. continues to provide billions in funding to support Israel’s “apartheid” government, this “heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”
Tlaib also continues to doubt the Israeli and U.S. governments findings that an airstrike last week at a hospital in Gaza was the result of a misfired rocket launched from Gaza by the Hamas ally Islamic Jihad that was targeting Israel. The congresswoman further attempted to discredit the findings, which also determined the explosion was mostly in the parking lot of the hospital and that the death toll is estimated to be much lower than the several hundred Hamas first alleged, because she says the Israeli and U.S. governments have a well documented history of misleading the public about war crimes.
“I would like it if Congresswoman Tlaib would not spread misinformation, and would actually acknowledge some of the horrific violence that we’ve seen committed by Hamas against American citizens and against civilians,” Schuette said.
Some members of House Democrat leadership are “not willing to stand with Israel and stand against terrorism,” he said.
Last week, House Republicans held a press conference again calling for a vote on the bipartisan resolution. But House Democrat leadership continues to dismiss the resolution.
The Republican caucus, Schuette tells Fox News Digital, will continue to speak up authoritatively and stand with Israel amid its ongoing war against Hamas. He said the plan was to send the resolution to the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Since the attack on Oct. 7, the Biden administration has defended Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism and has asked Congress for $106 billion in emergency funding that combines aid to Israel and Ukraine for its against Russia while also allocating money for U.S. border security.
“It’s important in moments like this that we stand with our allies, and we stand with our friends. After 9/11 after we were brutally attacked, Israel stood with the United States,” Schuette said. “So after Israel suffers a horrific terrorist attack, we should stand with our ally Israel.”
The Biden administration has also been working with international partners to supply civilians of Gaza with humanitarian aid and help U.S. citizens evacuate the region to escape the violence. Egypt, Israel and the United Nations facilitated a 20-truck convoy carrying humanitarian assistance that was delivered to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing last week.
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