Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., said it’s been “very difficult” to be a Jewish Democrat in Congress as the war between Israel and Hamas unfolds in the Middle East during his Friday appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
Phillips, who launched a primary challenge against President Biden, was asked by host Bill Maher whether the Democratic Party has become “too race-obsessed.”
“I’ve never walked in the shoes of my Black brothers and sisters, my Brown Brothers and sisters, my Asian American brothers and sisters, they never walked in my shoes. I love them all. I do think that it’s problematic. I think that’s why we may not be winning elections that we should be and need to be right now. I think that we have to be more inclusive in the way that we talk about and we’re actually not practicing,” Phillips said.
“And by the way, being a Jewish member of Congress in the Democratic caucus is very difficult right now, you can imagine,” Phillips told Maher. “And there’s a seemingly a lack of progressive love when it comes to our doorstep. And it’s problematic. I know I don’t look like someone whose community might need support or affection or protection… But let me tell you… it’s a big deal.”
Phillips was alluding to the open hostility towards Israel from the progressive wing of the Democratic caucus, particularly members of the “Squad.”
The lawmaker who has been the most outspoken is Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. Tlaib, who is a Palestinian American, drew intense backlash for touting the false Hamas narrative that an Israeli airstrike bombed a Gaza hospital killing hundreds of civilians. In reality, a rocket launched by the Hamas ally Islamic Jihad misfired and hit a parking lot, resulting in a small fraction of the deaths.
More recently, Tlaib defended the anti-Israel mantra “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which has long been understood as a call for genocide of Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. She insisted it’s an “aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate.”
Maher asked Phillips if he has a “place” as a “White, male, heterosexual and Jewish” politician in a Democratic Party obsessed with identity politics.
Phillips firmly responded “Yes.”
“I’m doing it for two reasons… President Biden, a good man, is going to lose the election. And if anybody cares about American democracy the way I do, a country that has given me and my family so much, we’ve got to do something and thank goodness we still live in a country where we can even if nobody knows your name,” Phillips told Maher. “By the way, Democrats are as divisive right now, I’m afraid as a lot on the other side. And it’s really troublesome and it’s very disappointing and it will be the ruin of this country if we do not start celebrating one another and stop fighting each other so we can fight for each other!”
Maher, who was previously a longtime defender of Biden’s, began expressing his doubt about the 80-year-old president’s chances in the 2024 election during his “Club Random” sit-down with Democratic strategist James Carville, who also is sounding the alarm based on recent polls.
“I think we’re on the same page with Biden,” Maher said. “Did a great service, but whereas in 2020, maybe he was the only one who could have beaten Trump, I think now he’s the only one who will lose to him.”
The HBO star quickly welcomed Phillips’ entry into the 2024 race, stressing how he’s only 54 years old.
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