When Israeli President Isaac Herzog addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, there will be some notable absences. At least five progressive U.S. lawmakers, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, and Cori Bush, confirmed that they will be skipping Herzog’s speech in protest of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the occupied territories, which some Democrats recently described as “racist” and akin to apartheid.
While these Democrats may be in the minority among their congressional peers, their positions are more mainstream than the D.C. establishment might suggest. Polls this year have shown that the gap between the American public and those elected to represent them is widening when it comes to U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly among Democrats. This year, for the first time, an annual Gallup survey found that Democrats’ sympathies lie more with Palestinians than Israelis by a margin of 49% to 38%.