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A look at where NC's congressional Democrats stand on violence in Gaza

Liam James Doyle
/
NPR

Days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that left about 1,200 people dead, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution standing with Israel and its right to defend itself with overwhelming bipartisan support.

A month later, Republicans are mostly still united in Israel's offensive on Gaza. But Democrats are now splitting on how long the violence should be allowed to go on uninterrupted — including those representing North Carolina.

Charlotte's Alma Adams is now explicitly supporting a ceasefire. Charlotte's other congressional representative Jeff Jackson supports the Biden Administration's call for a humanitarian pause, along with Triangle-area representatives Valerie Foushee and Deborah Ross. Cary's Wiley Nickel supports Israel’s daily airstrike breaks.

Other representatives’ public stances are unchanged.

In the month since Israeli air and ground strikes started in retaliation to the Oct. 7 attack, at least 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. Israeli airstrikes have killed Palestinians in densely populated areas, like hospitals and refugee camps.

International concern for these casualties has led the Israeli military to agree to daily four-hour airstrike breaks on parts of Gaza to allow civilian evacuations to the south. This decision is not the same as a longer-term ceasefire or the humanitarian pause that the Biden administration is pushing for.

Here’s where North Carolina’s congressional Democrats now stand on the issue.

Donald Davis, who represents North Carolina's 1st Congressional District.
U.S. House of Representatives
Donald Davis, who represents North Carolina's 1st Congressional District.

Donald Davis, 1st District:

Davis was one of 12 U.S. House Democrats — and the only Democrat from North Carolina — to vote in favor of a plan approved Nov. 7 to provide $14.4 billion in military aid to Israel.

The package was criticized by other Democrats because, in addition to sending aid to Israel, it would take funding from the IRS.

In a statement following the vote, Davis said, “While I condemn House leaders for unprecedentedly tying conditional funds to security assistance, we must continue to stand together with our ally, Israel, and simultaneously call for the humane conduct of war consistent with international law.”

Davis, along with Kathy Manning and Nickel, is one of the three North Carolina Democrats in Congress who voted in favor of censuring Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress. Overall, 22 U.S. House Democrats voted in favor of the censure.

The resolution, passed Nov. 7, said the reason behind Tlaib’s censure is for “promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”

WFAE reached out to Davis’ office for a statement.

His response, as of Nov. 13:

"We face pivotal international conflicts with grave national security implications, and we must provide Israel with the resources necessary to defend itself. Standing up to Hamas terrorists and upholding democracies around the world demands our unwavering commitment.”

Deborah Ross represents North Carolina's 2nd congressional district.
Franmarie Metzler/Franmarie Metzler
/
U.S. House of Representatives
Deborah Ross represents North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District.

Deborah Ross, 2nd District:

Protesters in Raleigh have called on their representative to support a ceasefire, but Ross has not publicly made a stance on the fighting. WFAE reached out to Ross’ office for a statement, to which she said she supports the Biden administration’s call for a humanitarian pause, “so that innocent civilians can get out of harm’s way and receive necessary aid.”

In a brief statement on Oct. 10, Ross said “Israel can count on the unwavering support of America.”

Ross’ full response to WFAE, as of Nov. 13:

“America’s bond with Israel is unbreakable, especially at a time when our ally is defending itself from Hamas in the wake of the despicable terrorist attacks on October 7. The United States must remain committed to supporting Israel and securing the release of American and Israeli hostages while also providing urgently-needed humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians.”

“I strongly support President Biden’s supplemental funding request, which would ensure we can provide essential security and humanitarian assistance to Israel as well as innocent people in Gaza who are being used as human shields by Hamas. While the Israeli government’s announcement of daily 4-hour humanitarian pauses is a positive development, I support President Biden’s call for extended pauses so that innocent civilians can get out of harm’s way and receive necessary aid. And while America continues to uphold Israel’s right to defend itself and rescue its citizens held hostage by Hamas, I also support President Biden’s statements recognizing Israel’s obligation to adhere to international law in the conduct of its military operations.”

“In Congress, I will continue working with my colleagues to pass a funding package that addresses our nation’s many national security needs, including providing security and humanitarian assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and other key allies.”

Valerie Foushee represents North Carolina's 4th congressional district.
Ike Hayman
/
U.S. House of Representatives
Valerie Foushee represents North Carolina's 4th Congressional District.

Valerie Foushee, 4th District:

Protesters in Durham have called on their congressional representative to support a ceasefire, but Foushee has been reluctant to go that far, instead calling for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver food, water, medicine and other essential aid to civilians in Gaza.

In her Nov. 3 statement, Foushee said: “The United States must unequivocally condemn Hamas and continue to support Israel as she defends herself and upholds our shared democratic values.”

She added that Israel “must do so without violating humanitarian law by targeting innocent civilians as a part of any military campaign.”

“The ultimate goal of a two-state solution cannot be achieved through forced displacements and bombing that have claimed the lives of so many innocent civilians in Gaza.”

Foushee, along with Adams, is one of the two North Carolina Congress members who signed a Nov. 8 letter to the Biden administration that calls for the protection of Palestinians in the U.S. without legal status by designating Palestinian territories for Temporary Protected Status and authorizing Deferred Enforced Departure.

“In light of ongoing armed conflict, Palestinians already in the United States should not be forced to return to the Palestinian territories, consistent with President Biden’s stated commitment to protecting Palestinian civilians,” the letter said.

More than 100 Democratic lawmakers have signed this letter.

Kathy Manning represents North Carolina's 6th Congressional District.
U.S. House of Representatives
Kathy Manning represents North Carolina's 6th Congressional District.

Kathy Manning, 6th District:

Manning has not publicly called for a ceasefire or pause in the fighting.

The Democrat, of Greensboro, previously cosponsored the bipartisan resolution of support for Israel, and said in an Oct. 25 statement following the resolution’s passage that “in this time of strife, Israel needs unequivocal support from the United States as it defends its nation and people from terrorists.”

Manning, along with Davis and Nickel, is one of the three North Carolina congressional Democrats who voted in favor of censuring Tlaib.

In a Nov. 7 statement following the censure vote, Manning said “spreading propaganda and misinformation will not bring about the peace we all seek. The only way to do that is to stop the spread of misinformation, support all efforts to bring the hostages home, and pass an aid package that gives Israel the resources it needs to defend itself from terrorism and includes life-sustaining humanitarian aid for civilians.”

When WFAE reached out to Manning for a statement, her office had nothing new to add as of Nov. 13, saying that the congresswoman has been outspoken on this issue.

Alma Adams represents North Carolina's 12th congressional district.
U.S. House of Representatives
Alma Adams represents North Carolina's 12th Congressional District.

Alma Adams, 12th District:

Adams, who represents much of Charlotte, is one of 17 cosponsors — and the only one from North Carolina — of a U.S. House resolution introduced on Oct. 16 that calls “for an immediate deescalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine.”

The resolution “urges the Biden administration to immediately call for and facilitate deescalation and a cease-fire to urgently end the current violence” and “calls upon the Biden administration to promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.”

Adams, along with Foushee, is one of the two North Carolina lawmakers who signed a Nov. 8 letter to the Biden administration that calls for the protection of Palestinians in the U.S. without legal status.

Wiley Nickel, 13th District:

Wiley Nickel represents North Carolina's 13th congressional district.
U.S. House of Representatives
Wiley Nickel represents North Carolina's 13th Congressional District.

Nickel is in favor of Israel's daily airstrike breaks, saying in a Nov. 8 statement that he supports the “temporary suspension of military operations in northern Gaza to allow humanitarian assistance and for civilians to evacuate.”

Nickel opposed the House bill passed on Nov. 2 to provide $14.4 billion of military aid to Israel.

“I’m a no on this version of the bill in its current form,” he said in a statement on Nov. 2. “Security assistance should never be tethered to a hyperpartisan, domestic financial concession. The “offset” in this bill — defunding the IRS — actually adds to the deficit and would allow billionaires to get away with cheating on their taxes.”

Nickel added that if a bill for aid for Israel was proposed without “poison pills,” then he would ”wholeheartedly support it.”

Nickel, along with Davis and Manning, is one of the three North Carolina Democratic representatives who voted in favor of censuring Tlaib.

Jeff Jackson, 14th District:

Jeff Jackson represents North Carolina's 14th congressional district.
Ike Hayman/Ike Hayman
/
U.S. House of Representatives
Jeff Jackson represents North Carolina's 14th Congressional District.

Jackson, who also represents Charlotte, said in a brief statement on Oct. 8 that “Israel has the absolute right to defend itself, as any nation would” and that he expects “Congress to support Israel in its defense and to do so with broad bipartisan support.”

Jackson's response to WFAE, as of Nov. 15:

“On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a large-scale terrorist attack on Israel killing thousands of civilians and taking hundreds of hostages, including American citizens. These unfathomable acts of extreme violence carried out by Hamas are devastating for both the Israeli and Palestinian people, threatening the security of the entire region, and destabilizing the path to peace.

I unequivocally condemn Hamas’s brutal attack. Israel has a right to defend itself. Israel also has an obligation to protect civilians and adhere to international humanitarian law. I fully support humanitarian pauses, expanding civilian safe zones, providing transit corridors, and delivering life-sustaining humanitarian aid.

Countless civilians continue to suffer in Gaza, including hundreds of hostages and thousands of Palestinian civilians kept in harm’s way as human shields for Hamas. Every civilian killed and family torn apart is a tragedy. Every human being deserves dignity and respect, and each of us must do all we can to always see the humanity of the innocent people caught in the middle of this war.”

Jackson is currently running for state attorney general.

Find your congressional representative here.

WFAE's Nick de la Canal contributed to this report.

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Updated: November 15, 2023 at 8:21 PM EST
Jeff Jackson's office sent WFAE a statement from the congressman after this story was published.
Layna Hong is a digital producer at WFAE. She is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, where she concentrated in graphic design and reporting.