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‘Sh-t thing to say’: Tempers flare among House Dems over the Israel war

Progressive and moderate House Democrats scuffled over the war in Israel during a closed-door caucus meeting on Wednesday, with one lawmaker accusing another of saying a “shit thing” about Muslims. The exchange started when Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) talked to her fellow members about a vigil she attended virtually in the wake of this weekend’s deadly attack by Hamas, according to six people familiar with the events that transpired.

As Wild told fellow House Democrats that she didn’t want any religious community to feel ostracized — noting that Muslim leaders weren’t present at the event she participated in — Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a moderate Jewish Democrat and Israel hawk, loudly interjected. Accounts differ, however, on whether Gottheimer then said, “because they should feel guilty” or “because they’re all guilty.”Gottheimer later told other Democrats at the meeting that his comments were taken out of context and made as part of a separate conversation with an attendee about condemnation of Hamas.

The congressman has been publicly critical in recent days of those he saw as insufficiently criticizing Hamas for its attacks on Israelis. But others in the room were taken aback by his remarks, which they saw as insensitive to Muslims. One Democratic lawmaker shouted out: “Joshua!”Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas), a first-term progressive lawmaker, and others walked up to confront Gottheimer.

The two argued back and forth, according to witnesses, with Gottheimer saying that more people should talk about how Hamas is responsible and Casar countering that Gottheimer didn’t know whether Muslim leaders in Pennsylvania had failed to do that. Eventually Casar told Gottheimer that his remarks were a “shit thing to say.” He called the centrist “shameful.

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Gottheimer insisted to Casar that the comments weren’t directly aimed at him.Amid the spat, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressive lawmakers were spotted leaving the party meeting together. The dustup shined a bright light on the longtime fracture within the Democratic Party over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s a divide that the party had largely skirted following the bloody surprise terrorist attack this weekend — but one that threatens to roil Democrats further as the war in the Middle East progresses in the weeks ahead.A Casar spokesperson declined to provide a comment for the story. In a statement, a Gottheimer spokesperson did not directly deny the account shared by other people familiar with the meeting.

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Israel war: Israeli health minister instructs public hospitals not to treat Hamas members

Israel’s health minister instructed the country’s public hospitals not to treat wounded members of Hamas. Israeli Health Minister Moshe Arbel urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to instruct all public hospitals to abide by the directive “immediately,” according to the Jewish News Syndicate. The reasoning behind the order was that hospitals should focus on treating Israeli civilians and Israeli Defense Forces soldiers.

“Since the beginning of the fighting, the issue of treating the damned and despicable Hamas terrorists within the public hospitals has piled up a tremendous difficulty on the health system,” Arbel wrote. “In these difficult times, the health system should focus fully on the treatment of the victims of the criminal massacre, IDF soldiers and readiness for the next [attack].”

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“The task of securing and treating the cursed and despicable terrorists within the public health system significantly harms these efforts and therefore, under my guidance, the public health system will not treat them,” he added. Instead, he asked that all wounded Hamas members be treated in the facilities of Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency. “The director-general of the Ministry of Health spoke with the director-general of the Ministry of Defense to prepare to treat terrorists in the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] facilities instead of hospitals,” Israel’s Channel 12 News quoted Arbel as saying. The issue of Hamas members being treated in public hospitals was made evident on Wednesday when an Israeli nationalist group clashed with police outside a Tel Aviv hospital after rumors that three Hamas members were being treated there. The hospital denied that it was treating any members of the group.

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