State lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly acted Tuesday to condemn Saturday’s surprise attack on Israel by Hamas militants and to urge the U.S. Congress to provide support to the country.
The North Carolina House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 897, while members of the North Carolina Senate signed a statement. A few members in each chamber did not vote for the resolution or sign the statement, including those that represent Duke and Durham.
HR 897 was filed by House Speaker Tim Moore, and urged Congress “to offer full and unequivocal support of Israel financially for as long as it takes for Israel to bring justice in light of the unprovoked attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.”
“That is senseless violence. That is terrorism,” Moore said on the House floor. “Just in the way that we as a nation were attacked on 9/11, so too Israel has been attacked, and we owe it to a freedom-loving democracy to stand with them in their time of need.”
The resolution was adopted unanimously 104-0, with broad bipartisan support. Four representatives had excused absences. Twelve representatives, all Democrats, did not vote for the resolution and walked out of the chamber when the vote was being held.
Among the 12 non-voting representatives was state Rep. Marcia Morey, whose district includes Duke and parts of Durham. In a Wednesday post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Morey wrote that she didn’t vote for the resolution “because it did not go far enough to condemn the violence and resulting suffering to civilians and children in Israel and Gaza.”
At around the same time that the resolution was being voted on, lawmakers in the state Senate signed a statement that condemned “the heinous acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas” and declared that they “stand with the people of Israel.”
The statement also urged North Carolina’s congressional delegation to “reaffirm that America stands with Israel against all who seek its destruction.”
The names of all Republican state senators and all but four Democratic state senators were included on the statement. State Sen. Mike Woodard, a Democrat, who represents Duke and parts of Durham and whose name was included on the statement, did not sign it due to an excused absence while running for Durham mayor in Tuesday’s primary election, which he won.
One of the four names that were not included was state Sen. Natalie Murdock, who represents parts of Durham.
The Republican chairmen of the North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee released a statement Wednesday, calling on the state’s top Democratic Party leaders, including Gov. Roy Cooper, to denounce the four state senators who did not sign the statement.
“You would think that every member of the Senate would support a Senatorial Statement standing against the beheading of babies, the murder and rape of women and the slaughtering of innocent teenagers attending a music festival, but that is not the case,” the statement read. “Why have these Democrats chosen to hide behind silence as the terrorist group Hamas commits crimes against humanity, including the execution of civilian hostages?”
Democratic state Sen. Lisa Grafstein blasted the statement in a post on X, asking that the statement be taken down.
“This is a bad faith use of the statement Sen. Alexander and I put forth yesterday — an unconscionable use of this tragic situation to take a cheap political shot,” she wrote.
The four state senators released a joint statement on Thursday, following what they described as "Senate Republicans' false and politically motivated assertion that the four of us support terrorist attacks."
"We condemn last weekend’s attacks on Israel by Hamas," the statement read. "The toll of hatred and war on innocent people is horrible, and we should all seek to replace such suffering, destruction, and devastation with real and lasting peace."
The statement also called for a "swift end to the violence and a renewed commitment to peace and prosperity," but did not explain why the four senators did not sign the original statement.
Cooper indicated his support for Israel in a Sunday post on X. He wrote that he had directed the Department of Public Safety to bolster security at houses of worship to “remain vigilant against any potential threats” in the state.
“I stand with Israel and strongly condemn the horrific attacks being perpetrated by Hamas and others. This violence is unthinkable and must be stopped,” he wrote. “My heart is with the people of Israel and all North Carolinians with family and friends there.”
On Thursday, Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is acting governor due to Cooper being out of the country, issued a proclamation "calling for a day of prayer and declaring North Carolina Solidarity with Israel Week throughout the state."
Robinson has been criticized previously for his history of antisemitic posts on his Facebook page. At a Thursday news conference, Robinson insisted that he has "never been antisemitic."
“There have been some Facebook posts that were poorly worded on my part, did not convey my real sentiments, and I have addressed those issues and moved on from those issues," he said.
U.S. Rep. Valerie Foushee, who represents Duke and Durham in Congress, wrote in a Saturday post on X, that her “heart is with Israel and the Israeli people” and condemned the “horrific attacks by Hamas on innocent civilians and communities.
“I stand with Israel and will always support their right to defend themselves during these extreme, orchestrated acts of terrorism,” she wrote.
On Wednesday, Foushee signed onto a proposed bipartisan resolution supporting Israel and condemning the Hamas attacks.
Editor's Note: This story was updated Thursday afternoon to include the joint statement of the four state senators who did not sign the original Senate statement condemning Hamas and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson's proclamation.
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Jazper Lu is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.