Davids dodges vote condemning anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kansas 3rd District Congresswoman Sharice Davids once again cited politics last week as reasoning for withholding her support to Jewish/Israeli interests in the wake of anti-Semitic protests erupting after the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7.

Davids voted “present” on a U.S. House resolution H.R. 894 last week condemning the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States and worldwide after the October 7 attack, in which Hamas terrorists executed a surprise assault against Israelis along the nation’s border with Gaza. 

Davids drew fire from Republicans in 2019 after she sported a t-shirt critics said encouraged race violence.

Some 1,200 people, mostly Jewish civilians, were murdered in the melee, whose depraved carnage was such that initial estimates of deaths were revised after workers began an inventory of severed limbs and body parts to ascertain an actual number of victims. Hamas gang raped Jewish women and murdered children as well as entire Jewish families in the attack. Others were taken captive and have been held in Gaza.

Pressure has since mounted by anti-Jewish groups in the U.S. and abroad to prevent Israel from its pledged destruction of Hamas in Gaza to defend itself against future attacks. Those groups blame Israel for poor conditions under which Muslims living in Hamas-controlled Gaza live, and for other issues having to do with Israel’s defense of its territory.

The resolution notes various recent acts of violence against Jews in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Israel and issues a strong condemnation of associated hate and violence. It also specifically condemns anti-Zionism – the belief Israel has no right to exist as a sovereign nation on the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people – as anti-Semitism.

Davids’ denial of support for the anti-Semitism resolution was joined by 91 other representatives – all Democrats. Thirteen Democrats and one Republican – Tom Massie of Kentucky – voted “no” on the measure. Kansas’ remaining congressional contingent – Jake LaTurner, Tracey Mann and Ron Estes – voted in favor of the resolution which passed 311-14. Thirteen Democrats and four Republicans skipped the vote on the measure. 

Davids’ spokesman Zac Donley said Davids had a long history of Jewish support, but that “some of the language” in HR 894 she believed had political intentions from its Republican sponsors that negated its message. Donley didn’t respond to a followup question as to those political concerns outweighing Davids’ conviction to oppose anti-Semitism.

Davids has however supported vehement anti-Semite members of Congress, namely Palestinian backers Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who’ve attacked both Israel and U.S. policy supporting it. In February Davids voted against the ouster of Omar from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs after Republicans sought to punish her for her attacks on Jews and the State of Israel, and last month voted against the House censure of Tlaib after Tlaib advocated the destruction of Israel in protests citing the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Photo: The Times of Israel

Last week, Davids’ Overland Park office became a venue for the anti-Israel protest group Jewish Voice for Peace, which sought to convince Davids to press Congress for a ceasefire resolution to halt Israel’s counterattack against Gaza. A Davids staffer ejected media trying to cover the protest, saying building landlord policy was that no media be allowed on the premises without advance permission. The incident did not escape the atttention of David’s chief political opponent in the 2024 election, Dr. Prasanth Reddy.

Dr. Prasanth Reddy, a Johnson County oncologist, seeks the 3rd District Republican nomination to run against Davids in the 2024 general election.

“Sharice Davids is happy to let anti-Israel protesters set up shop in her public office, but good luck if you’re someone in the media trying to expose it,” Reddy said in a statement. “I wish I could say I’m surprised, but given her ‘present’ vote on standing with Israel, this is par for the course.”

Ken Price of KCTV5 Investigations and other media were ejected from Davids’ Overland Park Office while trying to cover anti-Israel protesters in the office on Friday./Ken Price X page

Though support for Israel is strong in the Republican-dominated rural counties of Davids’ 3rd District, it’s unclear to what degree her loyalty to radical progressive anti-Israel members of congress and skirting the condemnation of anti-Semitism will be an affront to voters in the Jewish communities of Johnson County, where her district’s population is most dense. Margie Robinow, president of the Heartland Republican Jewish Coalition based in Overland Park, said the tradition of Jewish people as political liberals and Democrat supporters was well established, but that recent events may have meant closer inspection of Davids’ actions.

“About 70 percent of Jews consider themselves Democrats,” Robinow said, “though we’re seeing growth in Independents and Republicans since 2016.” She said Davids receives substantial financial support from the JOCO Jewish community, and though Robinow’s seen a number of social media posts showing “surprise” about David’s votes, she doubts those concerns will make a lasting impact.

“I don’t have high expectation for much change, since many Jews are liberal religiously and politically. They vote liberal/left despite their own interests.”

On Friday, Davids used her vote to defend another anti-Israel Democrat in Congress, New York’s Jamaal Bowman, in a censure vote that passed 214-191. Bowman pulled a fire alarm in the Canon House Office Building on September 30 during a key funding vote to avert a government shutdown in what Republicans said was a delay tactic to interfere with the vote. The move forced an evacuation of the building and a delay on the House action.

With the incident captured on surveillance video, Bowman was later charged in D.C. court and fined $1,000. He’s been a vocal supporter of a ceasefire in the Israel/Hamas war, one Israelis say would give Hamas an advantage to regroup and mass more terror resources for attacks in the region.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.