February 24, 2024

Florida Rep. Lois Frankel, a Jewish Democrat, quit the party’s largest, progressive caucus due to disagreements over Israel as the Israel-Hamas war reignited long-standing differences among progressives. Frankel’s departure was reported by The Intercept and confirmed by Axios, both citing anonymous sources stating that she left due to the treatment of Israel by progressives since the war began. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has traditionally avoided Israel issues to maintain unity, but in the weeks since the war, Frankel and other Jewish Democrats have opposed efforts by progressives to condemn Israel’s wartime actions and call for a ceasefire. Additionally, she was among the six progressives who joined Republicans in censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib for using pro-Palestinian language that some Jewish groups view as antisemitic. Israel has long been a divisive issue among progressives, with the “Squad” calling to defund Israel and others defending it. The tensions occasionally come to a head, such as in July when caucus chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal faced protests at a Netroots Nation conference for not being critical enough of Israel.